His courage and his words had moved all the participants in the trial of Nordahl Lelandais: Colleen, the older sister of Maëlys de Araujo, murdered in 2017 by the ex-soldier, had wanted to express all her disgust and anger before the court. A few weeks after the end of the trial, she agreed to give an interview with her mother to Paris Match, in which she recounts for the first time her life without Maëlys and the ordeals she went through.
For several weeks, they faced the horror of the trial, the revelations, the lies of Nordahl Lelandais, the assassin of the youngest of their clan, Maëlys. Then the relief, when the former soldier was sentenced to life imprisonment. But tod ay, the members of Araujo’s family are lost, without the little girl they finally brought justice to.
His mother, Jennifer, and older sister Colleen, now 17, agreed to talk to Paris Match of little Maëlys, of their disgust for the assassin and his apologies, but also of their situation, now that everything is over. For the young girl, it’s the end of a very difficult stage.
” I have the backlash of everything now. More than four years of investigation, the trial… I’m getting help in my turn, at the moment. Before the trial, I was very stressed, without a goal. I had dark thoughts, I wanted to join my sister. Maëlys’ emptiness was destroying me from the inside. I have to mourn“, she explains.
However, she remains strong and wants to believe in the future, supported by her parents, to whom she remains very close. ” I lived through a tragedy that shattered my life forever, but I don’t want to take revenge. Hate is not the solution. I wanted the verdict to allow me to project myself into a serene and secure future“. An impressive maturity for such a young teenager.
No wonder, however, from Colleen, who has long been a mainstay for her parents, Jennifer and Joachim, who divorced in 2019 after two miscarriages. The couple, in full mourning, sometimes had trouble getting their heads out of the water. ” I was going to console them, boost them. I was a bit like their mother, they were like my children. It was normal for me to be forgotten, they had just lost their daughter“, she recalls, while her mom apologizes for not having thought about her enough.
” They were disturbing, both! I was afraid they would commit suicide. When they went to see their lawyer in Lyon, I was afraid that something would happen to them on the road. At home, dad did not react like mom. They only talked about Maëlys or the investigation. I suffered on my side“. After the trial and her courageous testimony, in which she called Nordahl Lelandais ” waste“, she ended up going to talk to her little sister.
” After the trial, mum and I went to his grave in La Tour du Pin. I told my sister that she was my hero, that he was in prison and would never hurt anyone again. I taught him to defend himself. One day I said to him ‘If someone attacks you, you scratch with all your might’. I think in that car she defended herself whether she scratched or kicked him“, she concludes, in a moving testimony.