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France

‘Forbidden Love’ prison boss jailed for affair with notorious inmate

Text by Tony Todd

Latest update : 2012-02-16

The governor of a women’s prison has detailed his relationship with a prisoner who played a crucial role in a brutal 2006 kidnapping and murder, which judges ruled was racially motivated, in a book that hit the shelves on Thursday.

A disgraced prison governor “has no regrets” after admitting having sex with a female inmate who made headlines in 2006 as the honey trap in a notorious kidnapping and murder case.

Florent Goncalves, 42 (pictured), was sentenced Wednesday to two years in jail and handed a 10,000 euro fine for having an inappropriate relationship with an inmate and for providing her with mobile phone SIM cards.

He described the relationship in a book titled “Forbidden Love”, which hit the shelves on Thursday.

“I told myself repeatedly that what I was doing was an act of idiocy,” wrote Goncalves of his growing affection for the woman, known only as “Emma S” because she was 17 years old when convicted.

“And yet today I have no regrets about that idiocy, despite all the suffering and damage it has caused.”

The affair was exposed in early 2011 and Goncalves was immediately suspended from his job. His partner, who is the mother of their daughter, left him soon after.

But when his illicit lover was released on bail in September 2011, Goncalves had to come to terms with the fact that their relationship was nothing but an empty fantasy.

“In the space of a few hours I realised that my whole life had been turned upside down for a dream,” he wrote. “I’d waited for seven months to come to the conclusion that we had no future together.”

Three weeks of torture

Emma, now 23, was sentenced to nine years in 2006 for luring 23-year-old Parisian Ilan Halimi to meet her for a supposed “date”.

Instead, Halimi was abducted by a gang called who called themselves “The Barbarians” , who subjected him to three weeks of torture in a Paris suburb while they tried to extort money from his family.

Gang leader Youssouf Fofana was convicted of killing the 23-year-old Jewish man, and was sentenced to life in prison after judges ruled that the murder was racially motivated.

Emma, who arrived in France in 1998 as an 11-year-old refugee from Iran and was living with her mother, found herself incarcerated at a prison in Versailles, south-west of Paris, where Goncalves was governor.

According to Goncalves’s book, the relationship started in 2009, when he began a clandestine correspondence and gave her mobile phone SIM cards, which are illegal in prison.

He went on to describe how the pair fell headlong into a relationship “marked by passion and jealousy” and that they had sexual relations twice while she was incarcerated.

‘Profound personal humiliation’

Despite the relationship’s abrupt end, Goncalves insists that he had acted out of love and was not manipulated by Emma.

“It was an improbable and sentimental affair,” he said in a television interview on TF1. “But it was totally sincere.”

Also on trial is a prison warden who is accused of providing SIM cards to inmates, while Emma herself faces the charge of receiving and concealing illicit goods.

Goncalves’ lawyer Pascal Garbarini told reporters before the judgement Wednesday: “He knows how serious these offences are, but what he went through was a profound personal humiliation.

“Facing judgement from the court means he will be punished twice for these mistakes.”
 

Date created : 2012-02-15

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