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CRIME

Murder accused strips in front of court

A Frenchman accused of the 2008 murder of a Swedish student on Friday delayed the resumption of his trial by taking off all his clothes.

"The accused is naked," the gendarme responsible for bringing Bernard Cholet, 55, into court was obliged to tell judge Xavière Simeoni following a 90-minute delay in the start of proceedings.

"Can't you put him in a straitjacket," the exasperated judge snapped before warning: "He can appear naked if he wants and he will be charged with exposing himself."

The judge's firm tone had the desired effect. Cholet, who was in a holding cell, duly got dressed and took his place in the dock.

The accused was taken sick on the opening day of the trial and has since been staying in hospital, where he claims not to have been fed properly. Friday's protest followed a request for him to be returned to prison.

Cholet, who has previous convictions for rape and armed robbery, is accused of kidnapping and killing Susanna Zetterberg, a 19-year-old student from Stockholm, after picking her up in his unlicensed taxi outside a Paris nightclub in April 2008.

He denies the charge and claims police fabricated evidence used to indict him.

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PARIS

Paris police warn tourists about ‘petition’ scam

Paris police have issued a warning to tourists to beware of scams targeting visitors that involve false petitions and donation drives.

Paris police warn tourists about 'petition' scam

The police préfecture in Paris has released an announcement warning tourists about a scam that might be used to target them especially. 

The scam involves young boys and girls asking people to sign their petitions and requesting that they give a donation. In reality, many people – especially tourists or those unfamiliar with the local area – find themselves giving their money away to a false organisation.

In other cases, the petition acts as a distraction while pickpockets target the visitors.

Frequently, these scams involve the young people feigning deafness or the inability to speak, and pretending to collect funds on behalf of NGO for the hard of hearing. 

The scam is just one of a number that criminals use to prey on tourists, and visitors return to Paris after a two-year break, police are warning people to be vigilant – especially in tourist hotspots such as Montmartre and the Eiffel Tower area or in transport interchanges such as Gare du Nord.

READ MORE: Warning: 6 of the most common scams in France to watch out for

For more advice on how to stay safe in Paris as a tourist, you can read the police “Guide for Staying Safe in Paris

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