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CRIME

Lawyer’s slit throat rocks crime-infested Marseille

A murder investigation is under way after a lawyer was found with her throat slit in the heart of the crime-ridden city of Marseille.

Lawyer's slit throat rocks crime-infested Marseille
City of Marseille: a troubling wave of killings (Photo: phgaillard)

A colleague found Raymonde Talbot's body in her office on the Maport city's main business street on Friday, police said.

The third-floor office was locked and no murder weapon was found, they said.

"It's blood-chilling," a fellow lawyer said.

"We don't know the exact circumstances but the whole profession is concerned."

Marseille deputy mayor Caroline Pozmentier said the authorities were "revolted by this odious act which has rocked not only the legal profession but the entire city."

While little is known about the circumstances surrounding this murder, there has been growing concern in government circles at a wave of killings in Marseille.

So far this year, 18 people have been killed there in crimes linked to inter-gang rivalry, many of them gunned down in killings linked to the drugs trade.

On September 6th, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced beefed-up security with 250 extra police to tackle deadly gang violence in Marseille.

But a number of police officers have been also suspended as part of a corruption investigation in the city.

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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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