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`Arron's spirit is always with me, wherever I go now...' EXCLUSIVE: Echo joins grieving widow Maria Powell on tearful prilgrimage to French city where husband Arron was murdered.

Byline: Exclusive Laura Nicklin laura.nicklin@wme.co.uk

THE widow of murdered Cardiff mechanic Arron Powell has made the emotional journey to the spot where her husband was stabbed to death.

Maria Powell, 46, from Grangetown travelled to the French city of Orleans to meet with the legal team co-ordinating the prosecution case against the 19-year-old accused of her husband's murder.

Elais Laguedani admitted stabbing the 56-year-old father-of-five with a 12-inch blade in April this year, but is now claiming he acted in self-defence.

Claire Alderman, the family friend who was travelling with Mr Powell at the time of the killing, has also made the journey. The two women visited the station where Aaron was killed to lay a wreath and a plaque featuring a Welsh Dragon.

The previous night Claire, 29, had taken part in a detailed reconstruction of the murder. The re-enactment, conducted for the benefit of the trial judge, saw Laguedani go through what he claimed happened on the night of the murder.

Maria and Claire were accompanied by Arron's sister Rosslyn Brewer and her husband Mervyn, close family friends Eric and Linda Harmer and Caroline Bryan, as well as Maria's son John.

The touching tribute to Aaron will remain on display at the Gare D'Orleans close to the spot where he was fatally wounded. Despite the emotional intensity of the visit, Maria felt it was one she had to make.

Visibly shaken, she said: ``I didn't think I would be able to face going into the station, but it was something I had to do. ``The solicitor had been through what happened to Aaron in detail. That was awful. Nothing could be as bad as that so I decided to go - I knew if I didn't I would regret it.

``In a way it has helped me. I know Aaron isn't there - his spirit is with me everywhere I go. But it is better now I have seen the place. The trip has answered a lot of questions I had been too afraid to ask.''

Earlier in the day, Maria and Claire had met with the judge who will be trying the case in the new year.

During the session, the pair spoke in detail about Arron.

Maria said: ``The judge interviewed us to find out what Aaron was like. We talked about how he was a family man and how he was not aggressive in any way.''

The judge told the family the trial was likely to take place within a year. Laguedani remains in custody in Orleans.

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TRIBUTES Claire Alderman leaves flowers at the site where Aaron was killed at Orleans train station. PICTURES: Mark Fraser
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 15, 2002
Words:445
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