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French farm inspector was strangled before pond death

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The woman's body and a police van by the pond. Photo: AFP
11:33 CET+01:00
A murder enquiry has been launched into the death of a farm inspector who was pushed into a pond. The autopsy revealed evidence of strangulation.

What exactly happened to the 26-year-old woman who died at a farm in southern France on Thursday?

Initial reports suggested that she died after she was pushed into an icy pond, but an autopsy on Friday showed that her death had been caused by “a combination of strangulation and drowning”.

The Montpellier prosecutor announced on Friday that a murder enquiry had been opened.

Prosecutor Christophe Barret said that the suspect, one of the two directors of the farm, was in a state of “paranoid delirium”, but was still in a “compatible” state with being brought to court.

The woman who was visiting the farm was allegedly pushed into an icy pond at 7:30am. The incident occurred at a dairy farm near the village of Farguettes, north of Toulouse.

Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll took to Twitter to explain that the woman's visit was a consultancy (une démarche de conseil), and not an inspection (controle). The prosecutor explained on Friday: "The visit had begun completely normally. She had finished her work at the time of the attack."

The president of the Aveyron Chamber of Agriculture said that the visit was to "help the farmer".

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