• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Riviera jeweller held under house arrest

AFP · 14 Sep 2013, 13:19

Published: 14 Sep 2013 13:19 GMT+02:00

Stephan Turk, 67, shot his 18-year-old victim in the back as he and another robber were fleeing on a scooter with gems stolen from Turk's shop in the centre of Nice on the French Riviera.

The thieves had punched and kicked the jeweller before forcing him to open his safe at gunpoint, behaviour that Turk's supporters believe should be taken into account when judging his heat-of-the-moment decision to run after them and fire three shots as they sped away from his shop.

The two examining magistrates in charge of the investigation did not agree.

After a court hearing, Turk was charged with murder on Friday evening but released from custody on condition that he stays at an agreed residence and wears an electronic tag.

"Armed, aggressive thugs attacked me," Turk said in a brief statement to French television. "I regret what happened, I regret that he is dead. But it is him who decided to do what he did. It is normal that I would defend myself."

If convicted of voluntary homicide, the jeweller could spend the rest of his life in prison, and his fate has triggered a national debate over what constitutes reasonable self-defence.

By Saturday morning, a Facebook page set up in Turk's support had attracted nearly a million "Likes".

French law allows for killers to escape conviction for murder if they can show they acted in "legitimate defence".

But the prosecutor who recommended Turk be charged does not believe that can be applied in this case as the jeweller's life did not appear to be in immediate danger when he fired an unlicensed semi-automatic pistol.

The jeweller reportedly told the magistrates that he had fired his first two shots with the intention of demobilising the scooter and a third one in response to his victim threatening to shoot at him with a rifle.

The dead teenager had a string of previous convictions for assault, theft and driving offences.

Story continues below…

The strong reaction to the case reflects widespread exasperation in France with current levels of gun crime and a perception that the perpetrators of violent robberies get off too lightly.

Mainstream politicians have generally avoided comment on the case, saying it is a matter for the courts. But it has been seized upon by the far-right Front National.

"When people feel obliged to defend themselves with such dramatic consequences, it is a sign that they no longer have any confidence in the state or the forces of order," FN leader Marine Le Pen said Saturday.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France set for scorcher as heatwave continues
Photo: AFP

It's going to be a warm Wednesday, with temperatures forecast to soar across the whole country.

Frenchman 'kills Brit in stabbing rampage' in Australia
Photo: AFP

A Frenchman allegedly killed a British woman and stabbed three others in an Australian backpacker's hostel.

Top court set to probe France's burqini ban
Photo: AFP

Is the burqini ban legal? France will soon find out.

Heatwave warnings extended as France keeps sizzling
Photo: AFP

UPDATED: Summer is back, and Paris is among the areas hit the hardest.

200 street signs in France mysteriously 'blacked out'
Photo: thecrazyfilmgirl/Flickr

Town officials have come to a dead end.

Woman fined for wearing headscarf on Cannes beach
File photo: Loic Venance/AFP

Headscarves should not be included under the recent burqini ban, but one woman says she was fined and insulted for wearing the hijab.

Paris tourism has lost €750 million since terror attacks
Tourists outside the Louvre. Photo: Alain Jocard/AFP

A Paris tourist chief has called it "an industrial catastrophe".

Sudanese migrant killed in Calais clashes
Photo: AFP

A Sudanese man has died in Calais after a fight with other refugees.

Three held in France for plotting terror attacks
Police officers during an anti-terrorism operation last month. Photo: AFP

Authorities have arrested seven people this month with links to terrorist networks, three of whom were planning attacks.

Majority in France against immigration
Migrants at an aid centre outside the Calais 'Jungle' camp. Photo: AFP

A new survey shows the French have some of the most negative views towards immigration worldwide.

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
National
French vineyards revive horse-drawn ploughs
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
French mayor bans Pokemon Go app from his village
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
'To boycott France is to surrender to terrorists'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
21 photos to make you want to come to France right now
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
This is how much the French are obsessed with cheese
National
French MP's call for Facebook ID cards blasted 'as idiotic'
Travel
Summer checklist: Fourteen great travel ideas for France
Travel
Here's why France is still world's top tourist destination
'Wealthy American tourists' snub France over terror fears
National
Where to go swimming in France (and where to avoid)
Society
23 subtle signs you'll never quite master French
2,734
jobs available