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CRIME

Escaped British killer surrenders in France

After some four days on the run, an escaped mentally ill British man has returned to the French psychiatric hospital where he was forcibly committed for beating a man to death with a four-kilo weight.

Escaped British killer surrenders in France
French police had launched a manhunt for an escaped British killer. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

A police manhunt for an escaped 52-year-old British killer ended Sunday after he voluntarily returned to a psychiatric hospital not far from the Swiss border.

John Herbert, who is originally from Fulham in London, was discovered missing from the hospital in Novillars, which is 10 kilometres north of Bescançon, early on Thursday, prompting an alert from police, French daily Le Parisien reported.

John Herbert (Screengrab/arpd.idf.org)

After he came back to the hospital on Sunday afternoon Herbert was first checked by doctors and then interviewed by French police. It wasn't clear why he ran off and investigators were still piecing together what he did will on the run.

Herbert's disappearance was first discovered during a head count by staff, when a worker noticed Herbert had tucked a guitar under his bed sheets to give the impression he was asleep in his bed.

He’d been declared mentally unfit for trial and forcibly committed to the hospital after beating his cellmate to death with a four-kilo weight while serving a six-month sentence in September 2011.

The man was behind bars because he’d failed to comply with the terms he’d been sentenced to after being convicted of raping his female partner in June 2010.

 

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CRIME

Frenchman extradited to US on hacking charges pleads not guilty

Frenchman Sebastien Raoult pleaded not guilty to cybercrimes Friday in Seattle federal court, two days after he was extradited from Morocco.

Frenchman extradited to US on hacking charges pleads not guilty

Federal Judge Michelle Peterson told the 21-year-old Raoult that he was charged with nine counts, including conspiracy, computer intrusion, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Raoult listened through an interpreter.

After Raoult’s plea of not guilty, the judge ordered him to be detained as a flight risk until a hearing April 3.

Moroccan authorities arrested Raoult at Rabat airport May 31 at the request of the US Department of Justice. Along with Raoult, two other French nationals were also arrested, Gabriel Bildstein, 23, and Abdel-Hakim El-Ahmadi, 22.

According to Raoult’s indictment, he and the other two men are alleged to have formed a hacking team, dubbed “ShinyHunters,” to steal confidential data from 60 companies to sell on the dark web where criminals routinely operate.

Some of the companies are located in the Seattle area.

According to experts, beginning in 2020, the hackers stole customer data from the Indonesian e-commerce site Tokopedia, the US clothing brand Bonobos, the US telecom AT&T and many other companies, putting the personal data for sale on the dark web.

The criminal charges carry a possible jail term of up to 27 years in prison.

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