Irish university lecturer stabbed to death by former student in Paris

An Irish lecturer who taught English at a university near Paris was stabbed to death by a former student outside the institute on Wednesday afternoon leaving the teaching profession and the country's Higher Education minister shocked and angry.

Irish university lecturer stabbed to death by former student in Paris
Photo: Google streetview

The shocking incident took place in front of the private Leonard De Vinci university in the town of Courbevoie near Neuilly-sur-Seine the La Defense business district in the western suburbs of Paris. 

The victim named John Dowling was stabbed repeatedly in the neck by his aggressor as he left the university to have lunch. 

“It's a tragedy that affects the entire community. He was a language teacher who had been here for 20 years and was appreciated by everyone,” said the head of the university Pascal Brouaye, adding that Dowling was about to retire.

He was a 66-year-old lecturer from Ireland who had been teaching at Leonard De Vinci for 20 years, according to reports, with the management of the university releasing a statement saying that he was “appreciated by all”.

The tweet below shows the scene after the incident occurred. 

The attacker, a 37-year-old former student of Pakistani nationality, was arrested at the scene.

According to French press reports the aggressor had been denied accreditation for the 2017 academic year and was excluded from the institution. 

Sebastien Tran, director of the school of management of the university said “He had a normal schooling in the first semester, but in the second semester, he did not validate his year and he was therefore excluded in August 2017.”
Asked about the motive of revenge Tran told the media that this student was “unhappy to have been excluded”, but insisted they were not aware of any “particular threat”.
“We are extremely stunned and shocked,” he added

The French Minister for Higher Education Frédérique Vidal ‏said: “Emotion and indignation as a professor has just been murdered at the Léonard-de-Vinci university center. We need to find out the circumstances surrounding his death during the investigation being conducted by the judicial police.”

The police in the Hauts-de-Seine department are leading the investigation.
Students passed and present took to Facebook to express their shock and offer a tribute to the murdered lecturer.
“This teacher was known and loved by all, motivated, serious and positive. He was very helpful, and never hurt anyone. Mr. JOHN was one of the best teachers I had during my school days,” said one student.

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French tycoon fined €150k for harming tortoises

Corsican construction tycoon Patrick Rocca was fined €150,000 on Tuesday for harming protected tortoises on a building site even after officials told him to stop.

French tycoon fined €150k for harming tortoises

Six dead specimens of a species known as Hermann’s tortoise and another “fatally wounded” animal were found when officers from France’s biodiversity agency inspected the worksite in December 2019.

Around 3.5 hectares of the habitat just outside the Mediterranean island’s capital Ajaccio were disturbed and 2.8 hectares destroyed, the inspectors found, calling for the work to be halted.

But Rocca’s Fortimmo company – one of the largest employers on the French Mediterranean island, with around 1,000 local workers – continued construction, with more dead tortoises found a few days later.

His conviction for mutilation and unauthorised destruction of a protected animal species and their habitat follows a court ruling against Fortimmo, which had to pay a €500,000 fine, and a total of €530,000 in damages.

Rocca’s lawyer Philippe Gatti called the punishments “excessive”.

Corsica is one of the last places where Hermann’s tortoises – the only species native to France – still live in the wild.

They are protected by France and the European Union as well as internationally.