Lost to sight, Witness number 1, The Strange Odyssey, The Hour of Crime… Jacques Pradel is a true specialist in news items, having officiated both on radio and television. The 75-year-old journalist has spent a large part of his career telling, analyzing and understanding the criminal cases that have affected the French.
On May 2, 2022, the journalist published his new book entitled My criminal archives with Editions du Rocher, which looks back on the crimes that particularly marked him. Issei Sagawa, Violette Nozière, The “headless woman of Miomo”… These are some macabre stories that made the headlines. Jacques Pradel confides in Planet in a question/answer session.
When I meet people, there is always the same question that comes up: “You have told hundreds or even thousands of cases, which one has marked you the most deeply?” I made this book to answer that question. In reality, there is not just one answer, because for a criminal case to particularly mark someone it goes either through the scenario of the crime, or the personality of the victim, or the time in which it happened. is past or the state of society. As I am always asked this question, I played the game and I made the list of cases that marked me.
We must remember that these are not fictions, that there are real murders and that for the relatives it did not happen 20 years ago, it is as if it were yesterday for them. These are wounds that do not heal. I take advantage of coming back to these stories to say a little more than what appeared in the press, which could not say more at the time. When time passes, we learn things, there are tongues that loosen. For the Japanese cannibal of Paris, I wanted to say a lot more. I looked into the story of this man trying to understand how he had been invaded by this delirium to eat someone and for that, I use a source of which I have knowledge.
These stories tell us things about the state of society at the time, eligible or not eligible. Like Violette Nozière who poisoned her father and missed her mother very little. When asked why she did this she immediately replied ‘Because my father raped me since I was 12 and my mother didn’t tell me anything’ but at the time incest n was not a national scandal. We learned from the character of Violette Nozière, in the 1930s, that she was a thief, that she prostituted herself, that she was a girl of bad life and that she had killed to steal when we know very well now in hindsight that this was not the case. I think justice took this into account – much later since she was rehabilitated – so somewhere there was regret or remorse.
For the functioning of justice, it is rendered by Men and by popular jurors who judge not according to the files of which they are not aware, but according to the orality of the debates. They judge in their soul and conscience and sometimes they are wrong or simply the pressure of society, of the opinion of the time makes that.
Sure. For the story of Miomo, I tell it as it really happened, like the journalist Antoine Albertini who took over the case on the basis of documents from the time. There are people who have never been implicated and who certainly could have spoken, it leaves a taste of unfinished business because it is terrible what happened to this young woman. You never know, maybe it can trigger something even if I don’t really believe in it (laughs).
It was offered to me very often and I always refused, saying that these programs seemed to me to be precisely adapted to the state of society at the time.
There was no notion of “disturbing disappearance” at the time of these two shows. At the same time, I note that more than 20 years later, M6 has relaunched a very similar, very comparable programme.
I was very happy to see that the justice system and the police collaborated on this program. They took a long time (laughs). The key, I believe, to not becoming a board game is that these shows have to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. I believe that a show like Witness number 1, you don’t need me to relaunch it, it was relaunched by Julien Courbet. This show may be missing a few viewers.
For those who would like to listen to Jacques Pradel again, the journalist specializing in news items, has recorded a sound program on the Podcast Story site in which he returns to the famous “Hold up in full flight”.