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Weeping widower publicly mourned his wife - but he'd actually murdered her

Jonathann appeared in public with Alexia's parents after her death(Image: Getty)

No one suspected that Jonathann Daval was hiding a deadly secret behind his crocodile tears after his wife had been brutally killed

It was a terrible scenario for any husband to find himself in. A wife had gone out for an early morning jog on her own and had not returned.

Solo runners were potentially an easy target for opportunist attackers, and there had been a number of high-profile cases in the US.

At first it looked as if Alexia Daval had suffered the same fate when she went missing from her home in a small town in eastern France.

So there was every reason for her husband, Jonathann, to be concerned after reporting her disappearance to the police, prompting a frantic search.

Alexia, 29, was a bank worker. She was married to Daval, who worked in IT, and the couple lived together in rural Gray-la-Ville.

They’d been together since Alexia was a teenager and while she was independent and outgoing, Daval was shy and quieter, but they both had common interests, like running.

They also had another shared goal – they were trying for a baby. Unfortunately, by 2017, they’d been unsuccessful after years of attempts and the couple had sought medical help.

Jonathann appeared in public with Alexia's parents after her death(Image: Getty)

Alexia’s loved ones treated Daval like family, and considered him to be the perfect son-in-law, so quickly rushed to his side when tragedy struck.

On 28 October 2017, he contacted police to say that Alexia had gone out jogging that Saturday morning, around 9am, and hadn’t returned.

When he hadn’t heard from her for a few hours, Daval is reported to have said he’d driven along her usual route but there was no sign of her.

He’d alerted the authorities around noon. The French community of Gray was tightknit, with only around 5,000 residents, so it was a huge shock that one of their own was missing.

A massive search began, with dogs on the ground and helicopters circling the air, but two days later, all hope was lost.

Underneath branches and foliage, Alexia’s partially burned body was found in local woodland. It was far from her usual jogging route and it was no accident.

A postmortem revealed that she’d been beaten and strangled to death. Alexia’s murder instantly became a very high-profile case in France.

Her death shocked the country at a time when the #MeToo movement – raising awareness of abuse against women – was at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

Jonathann's court case gripped people in France(Image: Getty)

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