'I'm devastated': Watch heartbreaking interview with widow of bus driver beaten to death after face mask dispute

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·2-min read

Watch the full interview with Veronique Monguillot above. Her husband Philippe passed away two days after this interview.

The widow of a French bus driver has said her family has been “destroyed” after he was brutally beaten and left brain-dead by passengers.

Philippe Monguillot, 59, suffered his injuries in an attack in the south-west town of Bayonne earlier in July when he asked four people to wear face masks on his bus.

He was given life support but his family decided to switch it off as the extent of his injuries became clear.

In an emotional interview with Yahoo News France, Philippe’s widow Veronique described the moment she saw her husband after being called to the hospital he was taken to.

“One whole side of his face had doubled in size... it was black and blue,” she said.

“Mouth open, tubes everywhere. I said, no it’s not him, it can’t be, it can’t be him. But it was, yes, it was actually him. And my girls were the same.”

Veronique Monguillot (C), the widow of French bus driver Philippe Monguillot who died after being beaten by passengers, waves to bus drivers flanked by her daughters Marie (L) and Manon (R), after her husband's funeral in Bayonne, southwestern France, on July 20, 2020. - French bus driver Philippe Monguillot, 59, was beaten by passengers on July 5 in Bayonne after asking them to wear face masks in line with coronavirus rules. He was left brain dead by the attack and died in hospital on July 11 after his family decided to switch off his life-support system. Two men have been charged with "first-degree murder of a public transport official" and two others with "non-assistance to a person in danger". (Photo by Iroz Gaizka / AFP) (Photo by IROZ GAIZKA/AFP via Getty Images)
Veronique Monguillot (centre), the widow of French bus driver Philippe Monguillot, who died after being beaten by passengers, waves to bus drivers, flanked by her daughters Marie (left) and Manon. (Iroz Gaizka/AFP via Getty Images)

“I took his hand and I told him, ‘hold mine, squeeze my hand’, but he didn’t squeeze it.

“He can’t hold it for me, he can’t hold it for me any more. I spoke in his ear, I was trying to go on as if he were alive. But to me he wasn’t alive, even though his heart was beating.”

Bayonne’s prosecutor has said Philippe was pushed off the bus and violently hit and kicked in the head after he asked four passengers to wear face masks, which are required on French public transport.

Veronique is hopeful that authorities will be able to secure justice for her husband, whose case has cause an outpouring of grief in France and led to public tributes.

“To the disgusting people who were so cruel to him, who massacred him, who struck him down, and made him suffer in such a phenomenal way... my revenge is that justice is truly on my side,” she said.

She described in detail her and her family’s anguish at the loss of Philippe, who she described as a diamond.

“We – my daughters and I are closest – and we’d say we’re completely destroyed.

“We don’t understand, we’re mad at the world.”