Man killed ‘in row over Christmas decorations’

Christmas got off to a tragic start in a picturesque village in the south of France on Sunday, as an elderly man allegedly shot and killed his friend and neighbour, reportedly after an alcohol-fuelled argument over, of all things, Christmas decorations.

Man killed 'in row over Christmas decorations'
A 69-year-old man in southern France is alleged to have shot and killed a neighbour, reportedly after an alcohol-fuelled row over Christmas decorations. Photo: Lauren Hewings

The festive season, as well as bringing joy and good cheer, is well known to be a time of heightened stress and tension in homes across the world.

Such was the case in one French household on Sunday, as an elderly man allegedly shot and killed his friend and neighbour, reportedly after an argument over Christmas decorations, according to local newspaper Nice Matin.

Daniel P., a 69-year-old resident of Aspremont, a small village in the Alpes-Maritimes department, near the city of Nice, invited his friend and neighbour Jean-Louis S. to his home on Sunday evening.

Though the exact details of Sunday evening’s events hadn’t yet been confirmed, local police indicated that after a day of heavy drinking, the two pals became embroiled in a dispute over that most trivial of Christmas traditions – putting up decorations.

After the argument quickly spiralled out of control, Daniel P. allegedly left to retrieve a 7.65 calibre pistol, returned to the scene, and shot his friend once, at around 6.30 pm.

Emergency services were rapidly called to the house, but Jean-Louis S. died from his gunshot some 30 minutes later, his death being confirmed on the scene by a medical examiner.

Local police, meanwhile, transported the suspect to Saint-Roch hospital in Nice, where his alcohol levels were tested and, according to Nice Matin, his condition was such that investigators were unable even to formally take him in for questioning on Sunday night.

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French minister apologises for Champions League chaos

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on Tuesday made a partial apology for chaos at last month's Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool in Paris, while insisting fake tickets and "delinquency" were mostly to blame.

French minister apologises for Champions League chaos

“Should things have been managed better at the Stade de France (stadium)? The answer is yes. Am I partly responsible? The answer is yes,” Darmanin told RTL radio.

“Of course, I readily apologise towards everyone who suffered from this bad management of the event,” he added.

After scenes of fans crowded into tight spaces and being tear-gassed by police caused outrage around Europe, Darmanin poured fuel on the fire by blaming supporters with fake tickets for the disruption.

UEFA events director Martin Kallen last week told French senators investigating the fiasco that the football body’s count of fake tickets was far short of the tens of thousands claimed by French authorities.

“We don’t believe it’s the number mentioned in France,” he said, adding that 2,600 fake tickets were identified at turnstiles — compared with the number of 30,000 to 40,000 people with fake tickets and without tickets suggested by Darmanin.

“It was a question of fake tickets… that created the difficulties we all know about” of large crowds of fans packed into underpasses or outside locked gates, Darmanin insisted Tuesday.

He added that “if there was something that went wrong at the Stade de France, it was the fight against delinquency”, saying he had already ordered a reorganisation of policing around the venue and that three major matches since had passed without incident.

While some supporters did report being victims of crime by gangs of youths before and after the match, there were also many complaints about police treatment of fans.

Disabled Liverpool fans last week told the Senate how officers sprayed tear gas at people in wheelchairs.

The English supporters have reacted with particular fury to Darmanin’s defence of the French police’s actions.

“People’s memories will forever be tarred by the lack of organisation and heavy-handed policing, and then of course the way authorities tried to deflect blame and scapegoat Liverpool fans for their incompetence,” Liverpool mayor Steve Rotheram told AFP earlier this month.

CCTV footage from around the stadium has also been deleted despite the Senate probe.

A government report published earlier this month said a “chain of failures” by French authorities has inflicted “severe damage” on the image of the country as it prepares to host the Olympic Games in 2024.