Who is the French serial killer due for release from jail?

One of France's most notorious killers is applying for release from prison, after having served his 22-year sentence for multiple rapes and murders.

Who is the French serial killer due for release from jail?
Patrice Alègre, centre, at his court case in 2002. Photo: AFP

Convicted of five murders, one attempted murder and six rapes, Patrice Alègre is considered one of France's worst serial killers. But now his lawyer says he is applying for release as his jail term is coming to an end.

The families of some of Patrice Alègre's victims. Photo: AFP

Who is Patrice Alègre?

At the time of his arrest in 1997, Alègre was a 29-year-old resident of the southern French city of Toulouse, where he had worked as a handyman and waiter and barman at the train station, where he first met several of his victims.

He later told police that he had a difficult childhood as the son of a teenage mother and a member of the CRS riot police squad, who he says was often violent towards his wife and child.

What did he do?

He was arrested in 1997 after the rape and murder of a 35-year-old woman who he had worked for as a handyman. Despite being identified as a suspect, he was able to flee the police and spent several months on the run in Spain, Germany and Belgium. He eventually returned to Paris where he stayed with a woman he had met in Spain. After staying with her for some days he raped and killed her before setting her body alight.

Police finally caught up with him on September 5th 1997.

Despite the horrific nature of his crimes, the case received relatively little international attention as the world's media was preoccupied with Princess Diana, who had died six days earlier in Paris.

Police exhumed the bodies of several woman and eventually linked a further three deaths to Alègre. Photo: AFP

What happened next?

Once in custody he confessed to two other murders. Police reported that when being questioned he was co-operative and was described as a 'friendly' man who could talk about rugby for hours.

A 21-year-old woman then came forward to report being raped by Alègre. Although he attempted to strangle her, she managed to get free. The only known survivor of the brutal killer, she later committed suicide.

Realising the horrific nature of his crimes, Toulouse police then opened a cold case investigation which included exhuming the bodies of several woman. Alègre was eventually linked to the deaths of three other women. 

He was convicted of all charges following a court case in 2002, and sentenced to 22 years in prison.

While is prison he began writing to a Canadian woman who is now his partner.

What is happening now?

Alègre, now 51, is reaching the end of his sentence is and has asked his lawyer to petition for his release.

Lawyer Pierre Alford, who represented Alègre at his trial back in 2002, said he was recently contacted by the prisoner's partner and asked to prepare a request for release. He told French newspaper 20 Minutes: “After 24 hours of reflection, I accepted and visited him at the prison last Wednesday.

“We are coming to the end of his security sentence, he is entitled to file this request, it is not open to discussion.

“The question is whether it is well founded, whether he has evolved, and it is not up to me to give the answer, it will be assessed by psychiatrists and the court for the enforcement of sentences will decide.”



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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.