• A Frenchwoman was sentenced to four years in prison Friday for the fatal shooting of her husband in 2016
  • Three of those years were suspended, and she had already spent a year in prison
  • She said she endured years of abuse from her husband, who started raping her when she was only 12

A woman in France who killed her stepfather-turned-husband after decades of abuse received a sentence Friday that, with time served, set her free.

Valerie Bacot, now 40 years old, was sentenced to four years in prison for the fatal shooting of Daniel Polette. Three of those years were suspended. The mother of four had already served one year in prison, and thus, was free from imprisonment as of Friday evening, CNN reported.

Upon hearing the verdict, Bacot, who was potentially facing a life sentence for the murder of her husband, fainted. Emergency services attended to her in the courtroom in Chalon-sur-Saone, France.

"I would like to thank the court and all the support that I've had from everyone. Now is the time for a new fight for all the other women and all the mistreatments," Bacot told journalists outside the courtroom, adding that she was "not relieved, but rather emptied mentally and physically."

Bacot admitted to killing Polette, who was 25 years her senior, in 2016. She said he started raping her when she was 12 or 13 while he was dating her mother, according to court documents. Bacot referred to him as her stepfather before he became her husband and the father of their four children.

The court ruling took into consideration the domestic abuse the woman had endured. That included 18 years of repeated beatings, sexual assaults and forced prostitution.

“At first it was slaps, then kicks, punches and he would strangle me,” Bacot told the French court earlier this week, The New York Times reported.

Polette spent time in prison for raping Bacot when she was a minor. But after that, the abuses continued, and her mother hardly intervened, according to Bacot in her book “Tout le monde savait” (“Everyone Knew”).

At age 17, Bacot became pregnant and was thrown out of the house by her mother. She began living with Polette in an apartment, where three more offsprings followed. They eventually got married when Bacot turned 27 and Polette was 53.

“I wanted to keep my child. I had nobody. Where could I go?” she told the court.

Polette then forced Bacot into prostitution after a few years. Bacot said he forced her to have sex with clients at the back of his car with instructions being sent through an earpiece. Their children found out about it when they found a business card that had the words “escort girl” on them.

On March 13, 2016, after she was raped by an unnamed client, Bacot took out a piston that her husband had hidden in his car and shot Polette in the back of the neck while he was in the driver's seat.

Bacot said she wanted to make sure her daughter wouldn't suffer the same fate that she had. “I wanted to save her,” she said.

A court-appointed psychiatrist said Bacot exhibited signs of major post-traumatic stress disorder and other characteristics of women in abusive relationships, according to court documents.

"She was always under Daniel Polette's tutelage, so she could not say anything," Bacot's lawyer, Nathalie Tomasini, told CNN earlier this week.

Valerie Bacot
Valerie Bacot (C) leaves Chalon-sur-Saone Courthouse, flanked by relatives and lawyers in Chalon-sur-Saone, central-eastern France, on June 25, 2021 at the end of her trial on charges of murdering her stepfather turned husband, who she claimed abused her since she was 12. Getty Images | JEFF PACHOUD / AFP