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DEAD

Lille man found dead in bed after 15 years

Authorities in the town of Lille have found the body of a man who had been dead for 15 years in his home.

Police say the body was in a skeletal state and dressed in pyjamas in bed, when it was found on Friday morning, reported newspaper La Voix du Nord.

The man, born in 1921, was the owner of the house situated in the chic area of Lille, Vieux-Lille, and thought to be originally from Spain.

A member of the local council’s health service discovered the body after attempting to inform the owner of the house of construction work.

The construction had been ordered by the local council because the house was in an “insalubrious” state.

Didier Perroudon, director of the regional security department, said: “We have launched an inquest. Given this man could disappear without anyone worrying for 15 years, we will need some time to find out where he came from, what he did, and where his relatives could be.”

At the door of the house, post dating as far back as 1996 was found, giving the authorities some indication of how long the body had gone undiscovered.

For now, Lille police are not treating the death as suspicious.

“On the face of it, the state of the house leads us to believe this was a peaceful death of someone who just died in their bed," Perroudon added.

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FOOTBALL

Row over French stadium accident that left 29 hurt

The owner of French top-flight club Lille hit back at his rival at Amiens SC on Sunday, suggesting safety lapses were to blame for the collapse of a stadium barrier which left 29 fans injured during a game between the teams.

Row over French stadium accident that left 29 hurt
Photo: Francois Lo Presti/AFP

The chairman of Amiens, Bernard Joannin, initially blamed hundreds of “hardcore fans” among Lille supporters for the shocking scenes during Saturday's Ligue 1 encounter in Amiens in northeast France.

“They surged forward, chaotically, more than 500 people, against this barrier, which was in perfect condition,” Joannin said after the accident which led the game to be abandoned.

Most of the victims were discharged from hospital on Sunday morning except six people who sustained serious injuries when the pitch-side barrier gave way, sending dozens of people tumbling on top of each other.

The Lille supporters – no more than a few hundred – pressed against the barrier early in the first-half as fans moved forward to celebrate their team's opening goal against newly promoted Amiens.

Gerard Lopez, the chairman and owner of Lille, told AFP he was “shocked” by Joannin appearing to blame hooligans for the accident.

“What's serious is that supporters are celebrating a goal and at the end there are injured people. It's very serious to talk about aggressiveness,” he said in a an interview on Sunday.

He also raised worries allegedly mentioned by supporters from Strasbourg, Marseille and Nice who had claimed the stadium was “not very solid”.

“I've seen photos of the stadium, the supports for the barriers,” he added.

Joannin said on Sunday he regretted his initial reaction.

Stop the arguments

Referee Thomas Leonard suspended the match in the 16th minute as Red Cross and emergency workers rushed to help the injured, while prosecutors have since opened an investigation.

“It happened all of a sudden. I don't even know who scored. It just suddenly fell on me. I couldn't hear anything, I couldn't see anything and then the emergency workers took me away,” said Georges Penel, a 21-year-old Lille fan who suffered injuries to his leg and back.

Built in 1999, the Stade de la Licorne (“Stadium of the Unicorn”) is the smallest of the 20 French Ligue 1 clubs, with a capacity of only 12,000.

Renovation work is taking place throughout the 2017-18 season, but chairman Joannin ruled out any link between improvements to the stadium and Saturday's accident.

“We shouldn't mix up work being done on the roof and the rest of the stadium, which has been checked and approved by all of the security commissions,” he told a press conference on Sunday morning.

In May, local politician Alain Gest had suggested that upkeep of the stadium had been neglected by previous local administrations but was now “perfectly in line with regulations” and “up to standards for playing in Ligue 1”.

The mayor of Lille, leading Socialist party figure Martine Aubry called for calm on Twitter, saying: “Let's stop the arguments. Think about the victims first and let's wait for the enquiry results.”