The mother of the 14-year old boy accused of murdering a 13-year old girl said he wanted to “protect his sister”.

"/> The mother of the 14-year old boy accused of murdering a 13-year old girl said he wanted to “protect his sister”.

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CRIME

Teen arrested for schoolgirl murder

The mother of the 14-year old boy accused of murdering a 13-year old girl said he wanted to “protect his sister”.

The boy, who has not been named for legal reasons, handed himself into police on Monday after the incident outside the Collège Voltaire in Florensac in the south of the country.

The girl, who had been in dispute with a classmate over a relationship with a boy, died after a punch to her chin caused a haemorrhage and cardiac arrest. The accused boy had been training as a boxer for two years.

Local newspaper Midi Libre reported his mother saying “I know my son, and seeing his sister traumatised by what was happening at school made him want to protect her. He’s not a murderer. He’s never even hurt a fly. It’s a terrible accident and perhaps he wasn’t aware of his strength.”

She was careful not to excuse his actions. “I don’t think what he did was right and I’m not trying to excuse him. I’m his mother and as soon as he told me what had happened I took him immediately to the police in Agde.”

The father of the dead girl also spoke to the media. He said “this person has ruined our lives. When my wife caught up with him in front of the school he was saying “who wants some? Who can I hit?”. He had a look of pride and contempt. He even said to my daughter’s friend “next time, it’s you”. She was so frightened that she hid for the rest of the day.”

The prosecutor of the case, Patrick Mathé, told Midi Libre that the boy was distraught. “He broke down in tears several times when he realised the impact of what he’d done”.

The funeral of the young girl will be held this afternoon in Florensac. A silent march will be held in her honour on Saturday.

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CRIME

French court convicts 8 for stealing Banksy from Paris terror attack site

A French court on Thursday convicted eight men for the theft and handling of a Banksy painting paying homage to the victims of the 2015 attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris.

French court convicts 8 for stealing Banksy from Paris terror attack site

Three men in their 30s who admitted to the 2019 theft were given prison sentences, one of four years and two of three, although they will be able to serve them wearing electronic tracking bracelets rather than behind bars.

Another man, a 41-year-old millionaire lottery winner and street art fan accused of being the mastermind of the heist, was given three years in jail for handling stolen goods after judges found the main allegation unproven. His sentence will also be served with a bracelet.

Elsewhere in the capital, the defence was making its final arguments in the trial of the surviving suspects in the 2015 Paris attacks themselves, with a verdict expected on June 29.

‘Acted like vultures’ 

British street artist Banksy painted his “sad girl” stencil on the metal door of the Bataclan in memory of the 90 people killed there on November 13th, 2015.

A white van with concealed number-plates was seen stopping on January 26, 2019 in an alleyway running alongside the central Paris music venue.

Many concertgoers fled via the same alley when the Bataclan became the focal point of France’s worst ever attacks since World War II, as Islamic State group jihadists killed 130 people at a string of sites across the capital.

On the morning of the theft, three masked men climbed out of the van, cut the hinges with angle grinders powered by a generator and left within 10 minutes, in what an investigating judge called a “meticulously prepared” heist.

Prosecutor Valerie Cadignan told the court earlier this month that the perpetrators had not sought to debase the memory of the attack victims, but “being aware of the priceless value of the door were looking to make a profit”.

She said the thieves “acted like vultures, like people who steal objects without any respect for what they might represent”.

During the trial, Bataclan staff said the theft sparked “deep indignation”, adding that the painted door was a “symbol of remembrance that belongs to everyone, locals, Parisians, citizens of the world”.

Investigators pieced together the door’s route across France and into Italy, where it was found in June 2020 on a farm in Sant’Omero, near the Adriatic coast.

Three men involved in transporting the door were each jailed for 10 months, while a 58-year-old Italian man who owns a hotel where it was temporarily stored received a six-month suspended sentence.

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