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CRIME

British man held over murder of French jogger

French police have detained a 32-year-old British man after finding traces of his DNA at the scene of the murder of a mother of three who was stabbed to death while out jogging.

British man held over murder of French jogger
A camerman films at the scene where the body of the mother of three was found. Photo Pascal Guyot/AFP

The man, who lived 300 metres (yards) from where the woman's partly clothed body was found on Thursday, was still under interrogation on Tuesday.

Police had not charged him with the murder and have until Wednesday evening to make a decision on whether to do so"He is not denying everything but he is not admitting everything either," local police chief Gilles Soulier told a press conference.

Soulier confirmed that the man's DNA had been identified on items found at the murder scene, in scrubland on the outskirts of the popular tourist town of Nimes in southern France.

He said the man, originally from Chatham in the southern English county of Kent, had been placed in custody after proving "evasive" when asked to account for his movements around the time of the murder.

Deputy prosecutor Stephane Bertrand earlier told reporters that officers had noticed marks on his hands that may have been caused by thorn scratches. The victim's body was discovered in a copse covered in bramble bushes.

The handcuffed suspect was taken to his home on Tuesday morning as police carried out a search of the property which Soulier said had led to the discovery of "quite a few objects that could be linked to the scene of the crime."

A female neighbour who regularly saw the suspect out walking his dog told AFP she could not believe he could have carried out such a brutal crime. "He was a kind person, a very polite young man."

The victim's body was found on Thursday evening after her children's school alerted her partner that she had failed to pick them up.

A box cutter-style knife and two blood-stained stones were found near the body and are thought to have been the weapons used in a murder that police sources described as a "slaughter."

There was evidence to suggest the victim had been sexually assaulted but not raped, police said.

The victim, Joudia Zimmat, was 33 and had three children, aged 3, 6 and 9. A housewife of Tunisian heritage, she regularly went running in the afternoon on tracks in Courbessac, a peaceful residential part of Nimes, which is famous for its amphitheatre and other Roman remains.

She was the third female jogger to have been killed in France since June 2011 but police have not yet established any link with the other murders.

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CRIME

French police seize 2.4 tonnes of cannabis near Bordeaux

France’s Economy Minister has praised the work of Bordeaux law officers, after they seized more than 2.4 tonnes of cannabis resin with an estimated street value in excess of €19 million.

French police seize 2.4 tonnes of cannabis near Bordeaux

Bruno Le Maire and Minister Delegate in charge of Public Accounts Gabriel Attal in a joint statement: “Once again, Customs distinguished itself with an exceptional seizure of cannabis, recalling its key role in the fight against drug trafficking. We congratulate the customs officers for their daily commitment to the protection of our fellow citizens.”

Two people were taken into custody after officers stopped a lorry from Spain on the A63, near the Saugnac-et-Muret toll area, just south of Bordeaux, on Monday.

According to Le Figaro, the drugs were hidden in side compartments of the lorry, and concealed by its stated load of wheat, and were discovered by a sniffer dog during the stop.

In total, 2,414.8kg of cannabis resin and 9.75kg of cannabis herb were intercepted by the Bordeaux brigade, with an estimated value of more than €19 million on the illicit market.

Since the end of July, 2022, Customs officials have seized nearly 73 tonnes of drugs, including 41.2 tonnes of cannabis.

The French drugs squad is now investigating to determine the point of origin of the drugs, as well as their destination and the crime network behind the smuggling attempt.

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