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CRIME

French farm inspector was strangled before pond death

A murder enquiry has been launched into the death of a farm inspector who was pushed into a pond. The autopsy revealed evidence of strangulation.

French farm inspector was strangled before pond death
The woman's body and a police van by the pond. Photo: AFP

What exactly happened to the 26-year-old woman who died at a farm in southern France on Thursday?

Initial reports suggested that she died after she was pushed into an icy pond, but an autopsy on Friday showed that her death had been caused by “a combination of strangulation and drowning”.

The Montpellier prosecutor announced on Friday that a murder enquiry had been opened.

Prosecutor Christophe Barret said that the suspect, one of the two directors of the farm, was in a state of “paranoid delirium”, but was still in a “compatible” state with being brought to court.

The woman who was visiting the farm was allegedly pushed into an icy pond at 7:30am. The incident occurred at a dairy farm near the village of Farguettes, north of Toulouse.

Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll took to Twitter to explain that the woman's visit was a consultancy (une démarche de conseil), and not an inspection (controle). The prosecutor explained on Friday: “The visit had begun completely normally. She had finished her work at the time of the attack.”

The president of the Aveyron Chamber of Agriculture said that the visit was to “help the farmer”.

 

 

CRIME

French police bust cross-Channel people-smuggling ring

French police have busted a major people-smuggling ring that has been sending migrants to Britain in dinghies, with more than a dozen boats and 700 life jackets seized in a raid, French authorities said Thursday.

French police bust cross-Channel people-smuggling ring

The ring was run by Iraqi Kurdish migrants and had a logistics hub in Lille, a northern French city about 100 kilmetres (60 miles) from the northern Channel beaches around Calais that are used for crossings.

Three Iraqi men have been charged, along with three French suspects after their arrest on Monday.

Police discovered “a real factory supplying nautical equipment” in Lille, the head of French anti-migration agency Ocriest, Xavier Delrieu, told AFP.

In what was their biggest ever seizure of equipment, they found 13 inflatable boats, 14 outboard engines, 700 life jackets, 100 pumps and 700 litres of fuel, Delrieu said.

The group is suspected of having organised 80 Channel crossings over the summer, of which 50 succeeded, with the smugglers netting around €80,000 for each one.

The arrests came due to intelligence-sharing between authorities in Belgium, Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, who are all trying to crack down on migrants crossing the Channel by boat.

The original tip-off came after a border guard control discovered a group of French youths carrying inflatables from Germany into the Netherlands.

More migrants have crossed the Channel to the UK from northern France so far this year than in the whole of 2021.

So far this year, more than 30,000 people have been detected crossing the Channel to the UK, fresh government figures showed Thursday. On Wednesday alone, the authorities detected another 667 people.

Britain’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, has faced some criticism from other Conservatives and in right-wing media outlets for not pressing for more French action against the crossings when she met President Emmanuel Macron in New York on Tuesday.

Downing Street said the issue did not come up at their talks on the margins of the UN General Assembly, which instead focused on common ground including Ukraine and energy security.

The crossings are among a host of issues that have badly strained Franco-British relations in recent years.

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