On the ninth day of the trial of Laurent Lugrezi and Nahed Daada, co-managers of the La Terrazza restaurant in Mougins, the morning is dedicated to a light gray Renault Scenic.
As a witness to the voluntary fire of August 2, 2014, during which the charred personal belongings of Frédéric Castellano were found, Jérôme had mentioned the presence of a gray Renault Scenic in the basement of the château’s residence, 5 avenue Pierre-Semard in Grasse, the building of the Daada parents.
Vehicles never found
The public prosecutor’s office dismisses the restaurateur “Kidnapping, Seizure with Subsequent Death” by Frédéric Castellano before the Assizes based on a bundle of clues. This vehicle, then owned by Oliver, the German chef from La Terrazza, is one of them. This car, like the Clio of the disappeared, was never found.
Laurent Lugrezi borrowed the Scenic on July 29, 2014, the date of the last sign of life from the disappeared. In return, Oliver had his boss’s Peugeot 308. A hailstorm in the Grasse region led investigators to confirm that this was the case on the day of the disappearance.
Via video conference from Strasbourg, Oliver states that he stayed in the kitchen from 2011 to the end of 2016. President Bonnici is surprised at the sale of shares in her favour. “The restaurant was in trouble. The accountant wanted to buy time to avoid liquidation. I never paid anything, received nothing”, says the witness.
“Did you notice anything unusual when you picked up your vehicle?”asks the President.
“The car was very clean, full tank, with magic trees to deodorize.” The witness confirms that he sold it shortly after, against his wife’s advice.
Some details are intriguing: the sale has been backdated to May 2014 and the buyer’s name, presented to Oliver by Laurent Lugrezi and Nahed Daada, is fanciful.
On October 3rd, when the Scenic was due for sale, Oliver still owned it. “I was then asked to park it in a supermarket car park in Grasse.”
The buyer, “a little gypsy”, should take possession of it. “Mr. Lugrezi came to pick me up from the parking lot, says Oliver. I did everything to help.”
And when the former chef admits to lying about the vehicle’s sale date, “It should also help”.
Ultimately, there is a lack of irrefutable evidence
The defense suggests that the landscape image seen in the building’s burned basements may not be that of the cook. The witness must have noticed several “5”s in the registration, but he states department 06.
Another inconsistency: The witness mentioned a petrol engine rather than a diesel. Eventually, the gendarmes spotted the Scenic. They didn’t grab it by strategy.
The story of this gray Renault Scenic used by the two arsonists symbolizes these investigations: an accumulation of oddities, clues, evasive answers or even lies, investigator failures… And finally, a lack of irrefutable evidence.