‘Balcony rapist’ resumes attacks in France

An attacker dubbed the “Balcony rapist” appears to have struck again in France after nearly eight months of silence. The man climbs up buildings and surprises his victims as they sleep.

'Balcony rapist' resumes attacks in France
The so-called 'Balcony rapist' has apparently resumed attacks in France. Photo: Dano/Flickr

Police in Avignon in southern France believe the so-called “Balcony rapist”, who has struck at least six times, has begun attacking victims once again.

Until two weeks ago, his last assault was in October 2013 leading police to wonder if he’d moved on to another area. But when a hooded man scaled the facade of a building the night of June 5th and attacked a 17-year-old girl in her bed, investigators couldn’t ignore the similarities, French daily Le Parisien reported.

“He put his hand over her mouth and threatened her, before calmly asking her get undressed,” Avignon prosecutor Bernard Marchal told AFP. “She negotiated with him, he threatened her several times.”

Like in the previous cases the attacker went up to the first floor, entered a bedroom and then surprised the victim in the middle of the night as she slept. Following the sexual assault he would order the victims to shower in order to destroy evidence of the crime.

However, in this case the quick-thinking high school girl talked the attacker into leaving. She was left unharmed and ordered into a bathroom while he made his escape.

The attacker first became known to police around August 10, 2013 when a woman was raped in her bedroom. Four other assaults followed in quick succession, with the last one reported in October 2013. In each instance the women were 22-34 years old and lived in the village of Montfavet, which is close to Avignon.

In only one case did the victim manage to fight him off and send him running during the attack.

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French police shoot dead knife-wielding man at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

French Border police at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris shot - and killed - man who was wielding a knife in the public area of the airport on Wednesday.

French police shoot dead knife-wielding man at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

Border police reportedly shot a man with aggressive behaviour who brandished a knife in the public area of the Charles de Gaulle airport outside of Paris, on Wednesday morning, police and airport sources told AFP.

“This morning officers neutralised a threatening individual in possession of a knife at the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport,” the Paris police department said on its Twitter account.

A source close to the investigation told BFMTV that the man – who was likely homeless – went towards the officers, despite being asked several times to put the knife down. In response, police shot the man in the abdomen, and the individual later died.

The incident took place in the busy, public area of terminal 2F around 8:20 am, when “a homeless man started bothering security agents and border police were called in to remove him”.

Initially the man left while yelling curses but he soon returned and brought out a knife, when one of the officers fired his weapon.

An AFP photographer who witnessed the scene said “a large person of colour brandished something that looked like a knife at the police”.

“He was ordered to stop but kept advancing toward them, and an officer fired a single shot.”

The man was quickly put on a stretcher and evacuated, the photographer said. 

Security forces have been on high alert for terrorist attacks since a wave of jihadist killings that have killed more than 250 people since 2015, often by so-called “lone wolves” who often target police.