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CRIME

Frenchwoman found in shallow grave in London garden

British detectives were conducting a murder probe on Friday after finding the body of a Frenchwoman buried in a shallow grave in the garden of her London home.

Frenchwoman found in shallow grave in London garden
File photo: Leon Neal/AFP
The corpse of Laureline Garcia-Bertaux, 34, who reportedly worked as a film producer, was discovered in her back garden in southwest London on Wednesday.
 
She was reported missing after she failed to turn up for work on Monday, police said. She worked for the public relations firm Golin.
 
Police said that while a formal identification was yet to take place, Garcia-Bertaux's family had been informed.
 
Originally from Aix-en-Provence in the south of France, she graduated from the Central Saint Martins art school in London.
 
Her friend Daniel Hughes told Britain's domestic Press Association news agency that she had been due to meet a man for coffee on Sunday evening and was meant to move out of the house on Monday.
 
Hughes, who worked with Garcia-Bertaux at the Discovery Channel, said she lived alone with two dogs.
 
“She's tall, got a lot of presence. Always very friendly, very talkative, would never have hurt anyone,” he said. “Got a lot of confidence and passion, a lovely lady. She had a lot of friends as well.”
 
Actress Joan Collins, 85, who worked with her on the short film “Gerry” last year, told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “I'm shocked by the horrifying news. Laureline was passionate about film. I enjoyed our collaboration and thought she had a great future.”
 
Police said: “A forensic crime scene is in place. There have been no arrests.”

POLICE

French police fire on fleeing suspects, killing one

French police opened fire on a vehicle whose driver attempted to flee when they approached, killing a passenger, prosecutors said on Friday.

French police fire on fleeing suspects, killing one

The incident follows a series of fatal shootings by officers that has revived debate over their use of force.

A patrol of four officers spotted the car, which had been reported stolen, in a parking lot in Venissieux, a suburb of the southeastern city of Lyon, just after midnight.

As they were about to check the occupants’ identity, the driver suddenly tried to flee, hitting an officer who was thrown onto the vehicle’s bonnet

He and another officer then fired several shots, prosecutors said, and when the car stopped moving, the patrol found two occupants with serious injuries.

The passenger died at the scene and the driver was hospitalised, and a police source said doctors declared him brain-dead.

The officers who opened fire were being questioned by the police’s internal investigations agency, a routine practice when officers use their weapons in the course of duty.

Police violence has been in the spotlight after several fatal shootings by officers, which critics see as a systemic use of excessive force and heavy-handed tactics by French security forces.

This month, police officers shot and killed a knife-wielding man, later identified as homeless, at the Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris.

In June, police shot a woman dead in a car in northern Paris after the vehicle failed to stop when summoned by officers and then allegedly drove towards them at speed.

In April, prosecutors charged a 24-year-old officer with involuntary manslaughter after he used his assault rifle to shoot at a car that sought to escape a patrol in Paris, killing the driver and injuring a passenger.

And last March, angry residents clashed with police during several tense nights in the suburbs north of Paris to protest a fatal shooting by an officer against a van that had been reported stolen.

Under French law, the only justification for an officer using a weapon is when his or her life is in danger.

Particularly contested are patrols carrying assault rifles, which authorities began issuing after mass killings by jihadists in Paris on November 13th, 2015, and a subsequent wave of deadly Islamist attacks.

The government has vowed to take action to restore confidence in security forces, and the divisive issues of police violence and crime were brought to the fore in France’s presidential election this year.

Police unions say officers often face hostility and attacks, and are faced with the difficult task of trying to maintain order in impoverished high-rise housing estates that in some cases are centres of drug dealing and other criminality.

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