Two other defendants, including the architect of the building Frédéric Rolland, 66, were released by the court, causing sighs and tears in the benches of the civil parties.

It was against Mr. Rolland that the heaviest sentence, four years in prison, two of which were firm, had been requested, at the beginning of March, by the public prosecutor of Angers Eric Bouillard.

“The breaches of the architect’s professional obligations, although partially established by elements of the procedure, are without a certain causal link with the collapse of the balcony”, explained the president of the court, during the reading of the judgment.

Three years in prison, including 18 months suspended, had also been required against the works manager, Éric Morand, 53, who was also released.

He had explained to the bar that the method of construction of the balconies had been modified to meet the deadlines of the site.

The manager of the structural work company, Patrick Bonnel, 73, was given a three-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of nearly 25,000 euros. At the helm, he recognized a “serious” and “inexcusable” fault, saying he was “ashamed” of the work of his teams.

The prosecution had requested three years’ imprisonment, including one year suspended, against him.

The site manager Jean-Marcel Moreau, 63, and the representative of the Apave verification office, André de Douvan, 84, were both sentenced to 18 months suspended prison sentence and 1,000 euros fine, sentences in line with to requisitions.

On the evening of the tragedy, there were 18 students, in their twenties, talking on this balcony of the “Le Surcouf” residence, in the center of Angers, when it suddenly fell into a void.

In the rubble, the firefighters had discovered the bodies of Lou, 18, Antoine, 21, Benjamin, 23, and Baptiste, 25. Fourteen other victims were hospitalized.