Helene Pastor murder: Wojciech Janowski retracts confession
Helene Pastor son-in-law Wojciech Janowski has retracted his “confession” to ordering the Monaco heiress murder, citing misunderstandings with police.
Prosecutors said last week that Wojciech Janowski had “recognized his involvement” in Helene Pastor’s death.
However, Wojciech Janowski, Poland’s ex-honorary consul in Monaco, told a bail judge he denied having ordered the killing.
Helene Pastor, from one of Monaco’s richest families, was shot along with her driver in Nice.
They were ambushed by a man with a sawn-off shotgun on May 6 as Helene Pastor, 77, was leaving hospital after visiting her son.
Her chauffeur Mohammed Darwich, 64, also died from injuries sustained in the attack.
Wojciech Janowski was arrested early last week along with his wife Sylvia Pastor, but she was released shortly afterwards.
The two have been in a relationship for 28 years and have a teenage daughter.
The prosecution alleges that Wojciech Janowski paid two hitmen 250,000 euros ($340,000) to carry out the killing in order to “lay his hands on the inheritance” of his common-law wife.
The two men, a 31-year-old and a 24-year-old originally from the Comoros islands, were also apprehended last week and charged.
Wojciech Janowski’s personal trainer was also charged with allegedly organizing the murder and acting as a go-between with the men.
At a news conference last week, prosecutors told journalists that Wojciech Janowski had confessed his involvement after being detained.
His lawyer, Erick Campana, said he had withdrawn statements made while in custody because he “misunderstood the meanings of the terms used by police”.
He added that police had been speaking in French and Wojciech Janowski “does not understand all the nuances of our language”.
Erick Campana also said he would be demanding that an appeal court nullify his client’s detention because he did not have access to a lawyer or interpreter during his 96 hours in custody.
Helene Pastor’s father, Gildo, became one of Monaco’s wealthiest men when Prince Rainier gave him permission in 1966 to build high-rise buildings along the seafront.
Her income was derived from owning several prestige properties and she rarely left her luxury home in Monaco. Prince Albert II attended her funeral.
A graduate of the University of Cambridge, Wojciech Janowski is the boss of a Monaco technology firm and an oil business, and is involved in numerous charities in the principality.