An ex-Tory councillor is being tried in France for allegedly killing his wife, running her over with his Mercedes. He has since denied this allegation and told a French court that he loves her. 

David Turtle, 67, appeared in court in Cahors, southwest France, on Wednesday charged with aggravated manslaughter over the death of wife Stephanie in 2017.

Prosecutors said that Stephanie, 50, was found lying in front Turtle’s car after an argument. Turtle ran over her. Or that Stephanie had been knocked to the ground during the row and put in front.

Turtle claimed that he did not intend to drive home after the fight and didn’t know his wife was sitting in the front seat.

He told the court that he loved his wife. “Whatever happened, it has broken my heart.”

David Turtle, 67 (right), has appeared in court in southwestern France accused of aggravated manslaughter of wife Stephanie, 50 (left), who was run over and killed at their home

David Turtle, aged 67, has appeared before a court in southwest France to be charged with aggravated manslaughter in the death of Stephanie, 50, who was killed when she was running over her at home. 

Turtle explained to the court that he joined the RAF as a teenager, had worked 20 years in a shoe store, then went on to work in the car dealerships of Peugeot and Mercedes.

Stephanie met him in 1996 while on holiday to Turkey with singles. He said that they were ‘drawn together’.

They were married in 2000. The couple had previously lived in Bournemouth where Turtle was councillor in Kinson North. Stephanie worked in Dorset’s Human Resources department. 

In 2016 they moved to France because it was Stephanie’s dream to open a B&B and had found the ‘perfect’ property though it needed ‘a lot of work’, Turtle said.

“We did that because we wanted to be together. He told The Times that they loved one another a lot.

Major Alain Chauvin (a retired police officer) was the investigator and said that none of his witnesses believed the death to be accidental.

He told the court that there was no way that Stephanie could have got in front of the £37,000, two-and-a-half ton Mercedes E-class without Turtle seeing.

However, defence lawyers retorted that there wasn’t any hard evidence to support the claim that death resulted from an accident or willful act.

Turtle was deemed normal intelligence by a court psychologist. He also had an obsessive psychiatric profile but is otherwise an educated and responsible person. 

If convicted, Turtle could spend up to 30 years behind bars. Continue the trial.

Prosecutors accuse Turtle (right) of deliberately running over Stephanie (left) after an argument, but he says it was an accident and he didn't know his wife was in the driveway

Turtle, left) is accused of intentionally running over Stephanie (left), but he claims it was an accident. He didn’t even know that his wife was there. 

Turtle claimed that in previous reports to the police, he had stated: The saga started on March 29, 2017 when the couple had an argument over dinner. 

He claimed that the argument was settled when his wife went into bed. But, the dispute resumed when Stephanie returned to her bedroom around midnight for the toilet.

He said that while he was tempted to drive late at night to get some sleep, he felt the need to pull out. 

Stephanie, who was still trapped beneath one of Mercedes’ wheels and with two tonnes worth of metal pressing into her rib cage, was found by him. 

Prosecutors claim that Stephanie died from an accidental cause.  

Cybele Ordoqui was the investigator and stated during questioning that it was not likely that a woman would dress up in a bra or get completely dressed to head downstairs for the toilet.  

Stephanie was wearing a jacket, bra and two tee-shirts when she was stopped by the police. 

Forensic experts also alleged that Mr Turtle would have had to ‘significantly engage the accelerator pedal’ in order to run down and crush his wife, and tyre marks in the gravel driveway of the B&B suggested the car set off very quickly.  

‘[Mr Turtle]”He cannot answer the question of why he did’t see and hear his wife.” His indictment claimed.

Police discovered Stephanie’s online blog about her travels abroad and new life in France, days after Stephanie died.

The home of Stephanie and David Turtle in the Prayssac region of France is pictured with the Mercedes E-class, which ultimately crushed Stephanie to death, on the gravel driveway

Pictured is the home of Stephanie Turtle and David Turtle, in the Prayssac Region of France. It’s pictured alongside the Mercedes E-class which eventually crushed Stephanie on the gravel driveway

Mrs Turtle, who was aged 50 at the time of her death, wrote on her blog: ‘I have come to question if I might have slipped from the number one spot of Mr T’s affections … [Our]New Mercedes Benz Estate E-class is clearly Mr T’s pride and joy. 

The detectives found that Mrs Turtle had written that her husband spent as much time buying the Mercedes as she did on the purchase of the new house. 

Referring to the car as ‘she’, Mrs Turtle listed ‘a few examples of why I might be feeling a little put out’, including: ‘She has had more attention lavished on her than most anything else since we arrived in France, with weekly cleans and touches up in between…

“She’s mollycoddled.” She can’t park within 20 feet from any painting activities. When leaving home, a physical check for traffic in our quiet country lane is required – I have to actually get out of the car.

“We both approach intersections cautiously, straining our necks and checking for traffic ahead of us before chanting “all clear my path”. We must not eat or drink in her car to avoid leaving greasy marks or sticky spots on the leather interior. The list goes on… ‘

The blog was posted in September 2016, two months after the couple moved to Prayssac, with the intention of turning La Maison Cedre – The Cedar House – into a bed and breakfast.