Toulouse: The husband of a 33-year-old nurse who went missing in France in December was charged on Friday with her murder, his lawyer said, after evading suspicion over her disappearance for half a year.
Cedric Jubillar, a painter-decorator living near Albi in southwestern France, was not at first a suspect when he reported that his wife Delphine had gone missing.
But after two days in custody, Jubillar appeared before an investigating magistrate who charged him with murder, his lawyer Jean-Baptiste Alary told AFP, denouncing what he described as an "incoherent" move.
The couple, who were in the middle of divorcing, have two children aged two and six.
Jubillar told police that his wife went out around 11 pm on December 15 to walk the family's two dogs, who later returned home without her.
He said he realised she was missing when he was woken up at 4 am by his daughter, and that he first called his wife's friends and eventually the police.
For six months, police seemed to accept Jubillar's version of events, but then on Wednesday arrested him after detecting several inconsistencies in his story.
According to local media reports, a close examination of the couple's mobile phones shed new light on the events, revealing notably a selfie Delphine Jubillar sent of herself in a nightgown to her lover the evening of her disappearance.
Police also found a screen capture of the lover on Cedric Jubillar's phone.
During several hours of police interrogation, which ended in the small hours of Friday, Jubillar persisted in maintaining his innocence, a source close to the case said.
At the end of April Jubillar had already been questioned by judges who were treating the case as a possible kidnapping, but at the time they still considered him to be an injured party, not a suspect.
Prosecutor of the regional capital Toulouse, Dominique Alzeari on Wednesday praised the work of the police, saying they had accomplished "six months of intense, multiple and complex investigations".
Recently, Jubillar has been posting pictures on his Facebook account of himself with his new girlfriend.
The case comes as concern grows in France over the number of women killed every year by partners or ex-partners.
A man who murdered the mother of his two children on the island of Corsica in March 2019, a few days after learning that prosecutors had closed a case she took against him for threatening behaviour, was this week sentenced to life in prison.
The widespread outrage over Julie Douib's killing became a rallying call for the fight against femicide in France, sparking street protests and government pledges of action.