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CRIME

Police: ‘Canadian psycho’ is hiding in Paris

French police are reported to be certain that Luka Rocco Magnotta, the man dubbed the 'Canadian psycho' due to suspicions of him having dismembered his male lover and mailed his body parts across Canada, is hiding in Paris.

 

Police: 'Canadian psycho' is hiding in Paris
Luka-magnotta.com

Luka Rocco Magnotta is subject to an Interpol arrest warrant, a so-called red notice, after Montreal police identified him on May 30th as a suspect in the murder of Lin Jun, a 33-year-old Chinese man who had been reported as missing by his family a week before.

Magnotta is suspected of having filmed himself as he dismembered his lover Lin Jun whose body parts were then mailed to a series of addresses in Canada.

The 29-year-old Canadian who is known to have lived under a number of aliases, was born Eric Clinton NewmanImportantly for police, he is accustomed to changing his appearance.

In addition to having had plastic surgery on his face — apparently to look more like James Dean — he often wears lipstick and make-up, has dyed his hair and worn wigs, and sometimes dresses up as a woman.

Described as handsome but narcissistic, the 29-year-old, who naturally has black hair and blue eyes, has also changed his name and used several aliases.

He was convicted under his birth name for defrauding several retailers and with stealing $16,900 from a woman in Toronto, culminating in a suspended sentence and probation in 2005.

A series of judge imposed conditions reportedly banned him from owning or using a camera or a computer, and from accessing the internet.

Born in Toronto, family members told reporters they lost contact with him some time ago.

For years Magnotta built a profile through blogs, escort adverts in which he searched online for sex partners, and posted photographs showing himself as a fit, pouty-lipped model and traveler in cities, including Paris.

He used the name “Angel” when working as a prostitute and stripper at Remington’s, a well-known gay bar in Toronto, according to transsexual performer Nina Arsenault, who claims to have had a relationship with him.

The one-time supporter of white supremacists posted a video online of two kittens being suffocated in a plastic bag, according to the Ottawa Citizen newspaper, ending an online hunt for the so-called “Vacuum Kitten Killer.”

At the same time, profiles he reputedly posted on online dating services conveyed an altogether different persona — on one website he listed beach volleyball as a hobby and stated that finding a long-term relationship was his priority.

He was granted a license to work as a stripper in Toronto in 2005 and also worked as a male escort.

Pierre Bonhomme, a Canadian filmmaker who recalled a meeting with Magnotta in Toronto in 2007 or 2008, told the Ottawa Citizen it was a “creepy” experience that he quickly decided to escape from.

“I left within about five minutes. It was a really uncomfortable, awkward situation. He was in the shady, druggy, gay-sex prostitution world. He was on a lot of the gay hookup sites,” Bonhomme said.

Magnotta used Russian names, including the alias Vladimir Romanov, on such sites, according to Bonhomme, who also attested to the suspect’s willingness to use fraud and deception.

“He was a hustler,” Bonhomme said. “He was definitely not a gay village kind of guy. He was more of a suburban guy on the Internet, scamming married guys, that kind of thing.”

With Magnotta now a fugitive, probably in France, a 2009 posting he made on the Internet offered advice on how to vanish and never be found.

“A minimum of four months is really necessary to carry out the heroic actions necessary to leave your old life behind,” he reportedly wrote.

He said a person must withdraw from all social circles, possess two sets of false identification papers, convert all assets to cash and then take a bus to a chosen destination, after selling a car somewhere else to mislead police.

Magnotta has apparently not done such a good job of staging his own disappearance: investigators believe he boarded a France-bound plane on May 26th in Montreal and police traced his cell phone signal to the suburb of Bagnolet on Saturday.

But he remains on the run. Psychologist Gilles Chamberland told Radio Canada that Magnotta exudes “narcissistic, anti-social,” behavior, having described himself as being “incredibly beautiful.”

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WILDFIRES

French police track forest fire-starters by air and land

On the ground, two officers from a special mobile brigade of France's paramilitary gendarmerie speed along a forest track.

French police track forest fire-starters by air and land

Above them, a helicopter scans the landscape to warn them of any fires or anyone who might be looking to start one.

These are the members of a newly created police team who have just started patrolling in southwest France to seek out and arrest the fire-starters devastating the region’s forests.

In the last week, no less than 20 fires have broken out in the forest bordering the seaside resort of Soulac-sur-Mer in the La Gironde department of southwest France, says the local gendarmerie.

While some have burned for just a 100 square metres (322 square feet), the largest devoured 30 hectares (74 acres) of forest.

Scorched trees and charred trunks line the paths and cycle paths that criss-cross the woods.

To stop the devastation, local officials have sent in the new unit, the Forest Vigilance Platoon (PVF) made up of 15 reservist gendarmes, a senior police officer and two motorcyclists from the mobile brigade, backed up by the
helicopter.

Spread across three zones, the PVF patrol the forest on motorbikes, all-terrain bicycles or in cars, where possible, on the hunt for fire-starters.

Set up just last week they started patrolling on Thursday.

The idea is that the PVF will free up firefighters who have been stretched thin battling blazes that since Tuesday have burned up 7,400 hectares of pine forests at the southern end of Gironde.

“After the major fires in July, we observed a rise in the number of arson cases,” said Martin Guespereau, deputy prefect for defence and security in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, which covers the Gironde.

“There are around twenty fires of unknown origin a day in Gironde.”

¬†According to France’s National Forests Office (ONF) nine out of 10 fires were started by people — and three out of 10 were started deliberately.

Forest off-limits

“The Forest Vigilance Platoon is a support division, whose aim is to prevent, detect and possible to arrest,” said Captain Christophe Roque, who was given the job of putting the team together.

Red-and-white signs at the edge of the Soulac-sur-Mer forest inform walkers that due to the “very severe” risk of fire, the forest is off-limits to the public until further notice — and has been since August 11.

A few cyclists were nevertheless out on the trails on Saturday, and were quickly intercepted by the gendarmes of the PVF.

“As soon as we come across someone, we get their identity,” said one member of the team, Bruno Kechtoff. “Because if we come across the same person several times, then that becomes suspicious.”

A message comes over the radio: two outbreaks of fire barely 500 metres (yards) apart, near Bazas, south of Bordeaux, the regional capital. A local has reported seeing someone on a moped wearing “yellow-trimmed” trousers”.

The LVF’s helicopter veers off towards Bazas, 130 kilometres away (80 miles) away.

Where they are sent next depends on where the next fires break out, says Constable Jeremy Hernandez. “We have been called here urgently but we can move if other areas are concerned.”

Then they are in their car and driving off, siren wailing, on the look-out for a quad reported in the woods.

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