Early release for Bertrand Cantat

Bertrand Cantat, France's biggest rock star, is expected to be freed tomorrow after serving just half of an eight-year jail sentence for murdering his film star girlfriend.

Fans are jubilant, arguing that he has served his debt to society. But for others, especially the family of the murdered woman, it is an indictment of the French tolerance of the crime passionel and of endemic domestic violence.

Cantat's late girlfriend, Marie Trintignant, died aged 41 in 2003, a few days after Cantat, sometimes described as a French version of the hell-raising 1960s Doors singer Jim Morrison, punched her repeatedly during a row in a hotel room.

At his 2004 trial, prosecutors said he had hit the mother-of-four 19 times, causing irreversible brain damage. He was said to have flown into a jealous rage after she received an affectionate text message from her former husband.

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