French Singer Cantat Released

French rock singer Bertrand Cantat has been released from prison after serving his term for the manslaughter of his girlfriend in July 2003.

The lead singer of the popular French band Noir Desir beat up actress Marie Trintignant during a drunken rage in their room at the Vilnius Domina Plaza Hotel in Lithuania, where the couple was staying with her mother.

Trintignant never emerged from a coma and died four days after the attack. Lithuanian surgeons made two unsuccessful efforts to relieve pressure on her brain and she was airlifted to a Paris hospital July 31. She died a day later.

Cantat told a local court that the death was an accident. His French attorney reportedly told Le Monde newspaper that the singer slapped the actress after drinking heavily and that she lost consciousness and fell.

He said Cantat believed she was asleep and didn’t realize the seriousness of her injuries for several hours. An autopsy found she died from multiple blows to her face and head.

In spring 2004 Cantat got eight years for manslaughter. On September 28 of that year he was flown to France to complete his sentence. He eventually served five years and two months of his eight-year stretch.

While some rallied to the singer-poet’s defense when the manslaughter verdict was announced, complaining the sentence was too harsh, Cantat was reviled by others.

His house in France was destroyed by fire in mysterious circumstances, with many believing it was a revenge attack for Trintignant’s death.