'We Have to Get Rid of the Old Woman. Can You Help?'

Wojciech Janowski is sentenced to life in prison for ordering Hélène Pastor's 2014 murder
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2018 2:34 PM CDT
Man Admits to Ordering Hit on Partner's Billionaire Mother
Sylvia Janowski, daughter of Helene Pastor, leaves the court room in Aix-en-Provence, southern France, Monday, Sept.17, 2018.   (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

The man on trial for ordering Hélène Pastor's 2014 murder had for four weeks insisted he had nothing to do with her death. The BBC reports that changed in a startling way on Tuesday with the shock 11th-hour confession of Wojciech Janowski, 69. The former Polish diplomat to Monaco was on Wednesday found guilty of ordering the hit that killed his partner's billionaire mother at age 77, as well as her driver. The two were exiting a hospital in Nice where Pastor had been visiting her son when a gunman fired on them. The chauffeur died four days later; Pastor, who was heir to a real-estate empire within Monaco, died roughly two weeks after the attack. The Local reports her family owned some 4,000 apartments, and prosecutors argued the crime was a financial one.

They said Janowski's businesses were failing, and that the €500,000 he and his common-law partner of 28 years, Sylvia Ratkowski, received from her mother each month was at risk, as the payments would cease upon Ratkowski's own death; she had been diagnosed with cancer in 2012. Janowski's personal trainer was handed a 30-year sentence for helping arrange the hit. He quoted Janowski as saying to him, "This cannot go on, Sylvia's illness has deteriorated, we have to get rid of the old woman. Can you help me?" Janowski has been sentenced to life in prison, as were the gunman and the man who acted as lookout. The confession was actually read aloud by Janowski's lawyer as Janowski cried next to him. The Times reports the lawyer had asked that his client be acquitted of the driver's murder; he was not. (This billionaire was kidnapped in Tanzania last week.)

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