At the trial of the Nice attack, a chilling dive into the intimacy of a family torn apart by the death of a child

Marie-Claude B., the mother of Laura B., who died in the Nice attack on July 14, 2016, testifies before the special assize court in Paris on September 21, 2022.

There are hearing days from which you emerge imbued with an infinite sadness, which clouds your senses and seems never to want to dissipate. In mass murder trials, it's not so much the count of the dead, the violence of the gunfire, or even the images of horror that have the power to take you so far into the darkness. These are the words of those who remain. Perhaps because they give access to the intimacy of the victims and awaken echoes in those who listen to them. We weren't sure we wanted to hear this story, not sure we wanted to write it either.

This story is that of the B family. A family torn apart by the death of a child, maddening hope and insurmountable pain. They are four, Wednesday, September 21, to have come to submit their part of this heavy story at the trial of the attack perpetrated on July 14, 2016 in Nice. The parents, first: Marie-Claude, 50, and Jacques, 61, were on the Promenade des Anglais that evening to watch the fireworks with their twin daughters, Laura and Audrey, then aged 13 years old. Their two other children, who will testify after them – Lucie, the eldest, who was 19, and Nicolas, who was 16 – had stayed at home.

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In the early morning, after a night of wandering among the corpses looking for their daughter, the parents came home without Laura. For three days, the family clung to the mad hope that Audrey's twin was still alive. It was not until July 17 that they learned that she had been killed under the wheels of the truck. Everyone will retrace at the bar a facet of the waking nightmare that the family went through during these three days, which we understand has deeply fractured it. Laura's twin, Audrey, did not appear on the stand on Wednesday. It will be heard, separately, another day. "Why isn't she here?" It's his choice... said the mother. For five years, our family has been torn apart, it has been difficult to communicate, it has been very difficult… ”

"I feel like I'm dreaming"

On July 14, 2016, Laura and Audrey had spent the afternoon shopping with their mother. Coming home, they exchanged their new clothes, as they sometimes did: Twins tend to switch identities for fun”, explains the mother to the court, sketching a smile. When the father came home from work, he heard from the threshold “that there was joy inside”. When he opens the door, "the first to arrive is Laura, she hugs me and tells me she loves me"he recalls, clinging to the desk in the assize court, which he shakes with his whole body: “I keep shaking when I talk about her…”

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