Christophe Champenois, a 33-year-old man from Meaux, near Paris, has been charged with murder after allegedly killing his 3-year-old son, Bastien, by locking him in a washing machine and turning it on.
Christophe Champenois allegedly stripped Bastien naked and shut him in the washing machine to punish him for a prank at nursery school – throwing a classmate’s drawing down a toilet.
The man is then said to have run the cold cycle wash for a few minutes at their house, in the village of Germigny-l’Eveque.
Bastien, whom neighbours described as blond and angelic, died of head injuries on Friday night, French police said.
Bastien’s mother, Charlene Champenois, 25, recovered him from the machine, according to Le Parisien newspaper.
Charlene Champenois then ran to her neighbour, known only as Alice, and told her that Bastien had “fallen down the stairs”.
Alice told Le Parisien: “I picked him up and his limbs were as loose as those of a rag doll.
“I felt his heart beat for the last time and then he died.”
Bastien’s five-year-old sister, Maud, told Alice’s husband that it was not the first time the boy’s father had put him in the washing machine as punishment.
Neighbours told Le Parisienne that Bastien had been repeatedly abused – by being locked up for hours in a cupboard and also by being left on a window sill for hours wrapped in a blanket.
“Bastien was an unwanted child,” claimed Evelyne, his grandmother.
“On the day he was born, his father was out drinking and when I told him he had a son, he said that he didn’t want him.”
A judge in Meaux placed unemployed Christophe Champenois under investigation for murdering his child and charged his wife, a mother of seven, with failing to prevent a crime and failing to assist a person in danger.
Both parents were placed in custody and their surviving children taken into care.