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Patrick HENRY





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Kidnapping
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: January 30, 1976
Date of arrest: February 17, 1976
Date of birth: March 31, 1953
Victim profile: Philippe Bertrand, 7
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: Troyes, Aube department, France
Status: Sentenced to life in prison, 1977. Paroled in 2001

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Patrick Henry is a French criminal, born on March 31, 1953 in Troyes (France).

The kidnapping of young Philippe Bertrand

On January 30, 1976, in Troyes, at about 12:30, Patrick Henry kidnapped 7 year old Philippe Bertrand when he was leaving school. Very soon, he requested a ransom of 1 million French Francs from the child's parents, Gérald and Marie-Françoise Bertrand. He then soon strangled the little boy, but did not advertise this fact and continued to expect the payment.

The kidnapping had provoked considerable emotion in France, where television allowed the public to follow the parents' anguish and their repeated calls to the kidnappers during the 18-day police enquiry. Patrick Henry was detained by the police for 47 hours (the legal limit was 48 hours before formally putting Henry under criminal investigation).

After being released, he made multiple media appearances, in which he claimed he had nothing to do with the kidnapping and he wished the kidnappers would be given the death penalty. He was arrested again on 17 February 1976 and the child's dead body was discovered hidden under the bed of a room that he rented.

The Trial

Patrick Henry seemed to have sealed his own fate with his declarations. Given that there was incontrovertible evidence against him, that the crime was heinous, and that he himself had suggested the death penalty, there was no doubt that he would be sentenced to death. Media editorialists and politicians were heard asking for an exemplary punishment.

Patrick Henry was the "indefensible". No attorney in Troyes wanted to be his defense counsel, and the head of the Bar of Troyes, Robert Bocquillon, found his duty to volunteer for the task. He contacted Robert Badinter, an attorney famous for his struggle against death penalty, for assistance.

The trial took place in January 1977. Robert Badinter managed to avoid Patrick Henry being sentenced to death by eloquently pleading to the jury that another death would not cancel the victim's death. Patrick Henry was sentenced to life in prison.

Release from prison, and the Fall

Patrick Henry trained in prison to be a computer engineer and was by many considered a good example of a prisoner that could redeem himself from his heinous crimes and look for an honest place in society. He was paroled in 2001 after many parole applications had been turned down.

He however soon fell back again into crime. In August 2002, he was sentenced for some petty theft from a supermarket. On October 2002, he was arrested in Spain with ten kilograms of hashish.

His parole has since been revoked.



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