Rose's mother: She used to bang head against wall
Marie-Charlotte Renault, accused of murdering her four-year-old daughter together with her partner, who is also girl's grandfather, tells court 'he would punish Rose, out her in the corner for hours,' says Ron returned home without Rose saying 'it's over. She won't come back'
The trial of Marie-Charlotte Renault and Ronny Ron, who are accused of murdering Renault's four-year-old daughter Rose Pizem, continues to provide sad testimonies on the life of the shaken family: In a continuation of her testimony, which began last week, Renault told the court on Tuesday about the harsh treatment Rose was subject to by Ron, her partner and the child's grandfather.
Rose Pizem went missing in May of 2008, but her disappearance was reported by welfare services only three months later. The police searched for her for weeks, and her body was eventually found in a suitcase in Tel Aviv's Yarkon River in September.
In a dramatic testimony before the court, Marie described how she first learned of her daughter's death. According to her, she begged Ron to tell her where Rose was after he returned home without her.
"He told me, 'It's over. Rose won't come back.' It wasn't clear, but I understood. He didn't say that she was dead," said Mari. She said that she screamed and cried in response and demanded that Ron change the situation.
Renault told the court that when Rose returned from France to Israel, "things were very tense in the house", and the family was divided into two – with Ron together with the couple's two other girls against Rose and Marie.
"The family was in a bad state. Ronny would humiliate her," Renault told the court. Referring to the child's connection with her grandfather, she said, "Rose didn't understand who Ronny was. He didn't give her a place in the family. He would prefer the youngest daughter. He wouldn't treat Rose nicely.
"Ronny would punish Rose, put her in the corner for hours," she said. "He would tell me to say that Rose is disgusting. He wouldn't let her jump and would tell her not to move from the bed. Rose used to lie on the bed on her back and talk to herself. It bothered him, so he would make her lie on her stomach so that she would sleep. I told Ronny to stop harassing Rose and to harass me instead."
Asked how Rose would respond to Ron's behavior, Renault replied, "She closed up, there was a retreat in her behavior. She started wetting her bed again and would go into a room and bang her head against the wall.
"There were symptoms of autism. It was very difficult for me to see the way Ronny treated her and the way she responded, see the suffering in Rose's eyes. I told Ronny to stop. I told Rose not to listen to Ronny and to listen to me."
'I would talk, she wouldn't answer'
Answering questions presented by the defense counsels, Attorneys Revital Swid and Merav Greenberg, Renault said that Rose was not used to living with a family.
"She had many questions, but there were no answers to give her." She added that the girl had "many difficulties" and that she started "entering a world of her own, imagining stories".
"She would talk to herself and go into a bubble. Sometimes I would talk to her and she wouldn't answer," the mother said. "At first, I wasn't worried. I saw a girl who was protecting herself, but it would last for hours. I spoke to the doctor, told her that Rose needed help and needed answers and that I need help to explain things to her. I explained to the doctor about Rose's difficulties to find her place between Ronny and me, and in the relations between the sisters, with her being the oldest one."
According to Renault, Rose spoke French and began learning some words in Hebrew. She said the child had many toys, dolls, teddy bears and even children books in French. She added that Rose shared a room with one of her sisters and would sleep in a sleeping bag bought by her maternal grandmother in France.
"Rose became attached to the sleeping bag, she would constantly hold it," she said. "The sleeping bag had a picture of a princess, and she would say that she was Princess Rose," she added in tears.
'He was always violent against her'
During the testimony, Renault was asked about letters she wrote to Ron, including one written in January 2008, in which she talked about Ron's behavior towards Rose. "I couldn't see Rose's suffering and what Ronny was capable of doing," she told the court.
She told the court about a certain incident which took place when Rose and one of her sisters were playing together with toys. The other girl fell down, and Marie had asked Rose to go to her room, but she refused. Ron then "put her in the room forcibly and threw her on the bed".
"I asked Ronny to switch roles with me, to have him take care of the girl while I take care of Rose. There was force in everything, the actions, the violence, what he would do with Rose. He was capable of beating her up.
"I asked him to stop controlling me," she added. "I asked him to go out of the room and to calm down. He went out, but I was beaten up. He relaxed through me." She said Ron would accuse her of only taking care of Rose and not of her sisters.
Renault also said that she understood Rose would continue to suffer. "It was difficult for us to be together. I realized Rose would need a different place to flourish," she noted. "Rose and I were like one person. When she was in France I felt like my other half was missing, and when she returned to Israel it was difficult to restore the mother-child relationship between us. It was difficult to find moments in which I could caress her."
Vered Luvitch contributed to this report