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British man charged with French jogger's murder

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British man charged with French jogger's murder
A camerman films at the scene where the body of the mother of three was found. Photo Pascal Guyot/AFP
17:38 CET+01:00
A British man was charged on Wednesday with the aggravated murder of a mother of three who was stabbed to death while out jogging.

Robert Plant, 32, was formally charged at a court hearing in the southern French city of Nimes, two days after being arrested. He was retained in custody.

Ruling out any grant of bail, the magistrate said the prosecution's case would be that the murder had been the result of an attempted sexual assault
that went wrong.

Plant lived with his mother Esther 300 metres (yards) from where the woman's partly clothed body was found on January 24.

The suspect's family were originally from Chatham in Kent.

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.

Her 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.

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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