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Vigo mum Eve Diakhate's anguish after son Charles-Joseph's mysterious death in the River Seine near Paris


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A mother has spoken of her anguish after her son was found dead days before he was due to start college in what she fears could remain a mystery.

Eve Diakhate, of Churchside, Vigo, admits she may never know how her son Charles-Joseph Coupe died after his body was discovered in the Seine, near Paris.

Her family has since been struck by another tragedy with the death of the son of Ms Diakhate’s partner.

The 19-year-old returned to France to start a business course at college.
The 19-year-old returned to France to start a business course at college.

Joe Fitton, 18, from Vigo, was killed instantly with his friend Charlie Carver, also 18, in a crash near their home village in February.

Charles-Joseph, a former St John’s Catholic Comprehensive School pupil, was found in the river about an hour’s walk from his home several days after he was reported missing in September.

His mum says French police are treating the death as either suicide or an accident but she fears he may have been murdered.

Eve Diakhate and partner Bob Fitton fear Charles-Joseph have pressed authorities to investigate the death
Eve Diakhate and partner Bob Fitton fear Charles-Joseph have pressed authorities to investigate the death

A post-mortem report, ordered by coroner Roger Hatch when the 19-year-old was repatriated to the UK for burial, reveals several vital organs were missing.

His kidneys, liver and thyroid were all not identified in the examination and Ms Diakhate says French authorities have offered her no explanation why.

As a result, Mr Hatch said he was unable to record a cause of death adding fuel to the family’s fears.

"He was a lovely boy full of life... He had so much to live for..." - Eve Diakhate

She rejected claims her son killed himself, describing him as “full of life” and dreaming of moving to Los Angeles to run his own company.

Charles-Joseph had recently passed his driving test, was interviewed for a new job and was days away from starting a business course at a French college to help him achieve his ambition.

Ms Diakhate said: “I cannot believe he would take his own life. He was near me, he was about to start college.

“Even when the police told me they found a body I thought he was still alive, right up until they confirmed his DNA.

“He was a lovely boy full of life, the last picture I have of him he is climbing a tree. He had so much to live for, he wanted to be a businessman.

Charles-Joseph Coupe was found dead in the River Seine in September
Charles-Joseph Coupe was found dead in the River Seine in September

"He worked as a carer in Sevenoaks and everyone loved him, he had a joke with all the patients.

“I believe he was murdered, because I cannot believe in a suicide and an accident makes no sense to me. We have been living in a nightmare.”

“I just want to know what happened to my son but I fear it will never happen. The French police are giving us no information.”

Joe Fitton died as a result of a crash in February with friend Charlie Carver
Joe Fitton died as a result of a crash in February with friend Charlie Carver

Ms Diakhate has set up a website with a petition calling on people to sign it in the hope it will force authorities to investigate her concerns.

Kent Police confirmed they had been in touch with the French authorities.

A police spokesman said they had been contacted by the family, adding: “The force is providing assistance to the family and inquiries are ongoing with the French police via Interpol.”

The plaque on Charles-Joseph's grave, which reads Charles-Joseph, little angel, we will love you forever
The plaque on Charles-Joseph's grave, which reads Charles-Joseph, little angel, we will love you forever

French politicians, including president Francois Hollande, Kent Police and Gravesham’s then MP Adam Holloway were also contacted in the hope of applying further pressure.

Mr Holloway said: “No mother should know the pain of losing a child and to do so in such tragic circumstances is dreadful for Ms Diakhate.

"I have made written to the British Embassy in Paris and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to see if they can assist her to get the answers she is looking for. As soon as I receive a response I will let her know.”

To view the website or sign the petition visit charles-joseph.org.


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