French woman granted pardon for murder of her husband

Jacqueline Sauvage's trial heard how her husband had raped and beaten her and her three daughters for years and was also violent towards their son

French woman granted pardon for murder of her husband

French President Francois Hollande arrives for an EU Summit in Brussels, 16-Dec-2016. Image: Olivier Matthys AP/Press Association Images

A woman jailed for murdering the husband who abused her for 47 years, has been given a rare pardon by the French president.

Jacqueline Sauvage was allowed to walk free from prison after Francois Hollande used a special power to release her, saying her "place was no longer in prison but with her family."

Ms Sauvage was given a 10-year sentence for killing her alcoholic and abusive husband in 2012, shooting him three times in the back with his own hunting rifle the day after their son hanged himself.

Her trial heard how Norbert Marot had raped and beaten her and her three daughters for years and was also violent towards their son.

Ms Sauvage became a cause célébre when her daughters launched a petition for her release, which attracted nearly 400,000 signatures.

In January Mr Hollande gave a partial pardon, reducing her sentence, but on Wednesday he granted Ms Sauvage a full pardon.

One of her lawyers, Nathalie Tomasini, said she was "overcome by joy and emotion."

The French president was granted the power to decree pardons in 1958. 

Ms Sauvage is one of only two people to have been granted a pardon by Mr Hollande.

He allowed Philippe El Shennawy, France's longest-serving prisoner, to be freed on parole after 38 years in prison.