The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jealousy behind French actress’ death

London, Aug. 3: Jealousy was behind the demise of the passionate French actress Marie Trintignant, who died on Friday following a row with her rock star boyfriend, it was claimed last night.

The 41-year-old daughter of the film star Jean-Louis Trintignant is believed to have been planning to go on holiday with her ex-husband Samuel Benchetrit, a film director, and their sons, Leon, seven, and five-year-old Jules, after filming her latest role in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Vytautas Sviderskis, a lawyer acting for the Trintignant family, confirmed that the actress’ boyfriend, Bertrand Cantat, was unhappy that she had been speaking to Benchetrit on the telephone.

“Jealousy was the motive for this,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

The actress, who had four sons by three men, had recently starred in Benchetrit’s film Janis and John, in which she played the singer Janis Joplin.

“They were discussing publicity events for the film,” said Sviderskis.

“They were maintaining a friendly professional relationship for public relations purposes and because they have children together, but Cantat was known to be very jealous about this tie.”

The incident in the couple’s hotel suite last Saturday night apparently flared when Trintignant told Cantat, 39, lead singer with the band Noir Desir, of her holiday plans.

Investigators say that she scratched and shoved him and he allegedly responded by punching her twice.

She was taken to hospital in a coma and died on Friday of severe head injuries.

Cantat, whose six-month relationship with the actress was described by friends as “passionate and volatile”, told police there had been “an accident after a fight. A madness . . . but not a crime”. He said the actress had hit her head on the floor.

Her family, however, have filed a complaint in a Paris court accusing him of grievous bodily harm.

Another lawyer for the family, Georges Kiejman, said of Trintignant: “Her appearance when she was found is not compatible with a simple fall.”

According to local media reports, four hours passed before the actress was taken to hospital.

Surgeons carried out two operations on her brain but were always pessimistic about her chances of survival.

Her family chartered a private plane and brought her home to France last Thursday.

Trintignant died the following day in a clinic in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris.

Cantat, who was ordered to be detained in custody until August 14, is being held in a Vilnius prison hospital.

The French police judiciaire may seek his extradition to France to stand trial.

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