France said on Thursday the suspect arrested over this week’s shootings in Paris was previously jailed for his role in a “Bonnie-and-Clyde” style multiple murder and left rambling letters denouncing conspiracies and media manipulation.
Abdelhakim Dekhar, 48, was arrested on Wednesday after a major manhunt following a shooting at the left-wing newspaper Liberation that left a photographer’s assistant seriously hurt, and a separate incident where shots were fired at the headquarters of the Societe Generale bank.
He was found in a vehicle in an underground parking lot in the northwestern Paris suburb of Bois-Colombes, after apparently trying to commit suicide, and was in a semi-conscious state.
Dekhar was transferred to a Paris police station, where the authorities were granted an extra 24 hours to keep him in custody pending further investigations for attempted murder and kidnapping.
His DNA matched samples from the scenes of the attacks, officials said.
‘Right to silence invoked’
Dekhar’s lawyer told AFP his client would not be answering any questions for the moment.
“Not having access to his case file, my client has chosen for now to invoke his right to remain silent,” Remi Lorrain said.
A 32-year-old man who housed Dekhar led investigators to the fugitive, and the suspect told the same man he made “a stupid mistake” on the day of the Liberation shooting, a source close to the enquiry told AFP.
The pair first met 13 years ago in London, where Dekhar lived for several years and worked in a restaurant, Paris prosecutor Frederic Molins told a news conference.
British newspapers said Friday he lived in Britain for a total of 13 years and got married there after serving the jail sentence for his role in the multiple murder in France in the 1990s.
He initially moved to Ilford in east London, the Times newspaper said without citing sources.
He then married a Turkish student in Redbridge, northeast London, in February 2000, the Times and London’s Evening Standard newspapers both reported.
Dekhar’s sister, Farida Dekhar-Powell, lives in the commuter town of Shenfield, in Essex, southeast England, and is a French teacher, the Evening Standard said.
“I stopped talking to him 20 years ago. He is not part of my life and that’s how it stays,” she told the Evening Standard.
Dekhar came to France in July with the intention of staying here a month but never returned to London.
“All the evidence today points to his involvement” in the attacks, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said.