Monday, October 16, 2006

A Strange Sad Case

In the news in France, and presumably more so in South Korea, is the tale of two infant corpses that were found in the deep freeze of an expat French family's house by the father of the family, who was unaware that they had been placed there by his wife, who gave birth clandestinely twice, and has apparently since confessed to a third infanticide, though this has been reported only in Korea, and the family are currently been held back at their French home in Tours.

What is especially bizarre is the fact that the two babies were born seperately in 2002 and 2003, in other words, before the family moved to Korea last year. It seems that the mother Véronique Courjault, 38 transported them from France to Korea without them ever being detected. A further strange twist is provided by the news, again from the Korean media, that DNA tests have shown that her husband Jean-Louis, was the father. He denies this and denies knowing of the two births, and one might be inclined to believe him as it was he that averted the police to the discovery.

The Koreans are claiming that the French authorities and the defence team are being arrogant and racist in not taking the affair seriously. Expat French whose children attend the Seoul lycée where Madame Courjault taught are having uncomfortable frissons at the news. While all information on the affair, whether it is surfacing in France or Korea is hazy and it will be some time before the truth becomes clear, it seems obviously that there is a person with a severe mental illness at the centre of it. It is a terrible thing to say when the case occurs the death of two, and possibly three, children but the storyteller in me keeps thinking of what an intriguing novel or film the affair would make. Im Song-Soo, director of last year's The President's Last Bang, an excellent account of the assassination of Korean president Park Chung-Hee in 1979 is probably one of the many Korean filmmakers keeping a close eye on the affair.