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Latest: French man held in Glasgow is not murder suspect

A French man arrested at Glasgow airport is not suspected murderer Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes according to the results of DNA tests, a source close to the investigation said Saturday.

Latest: French man held in Glasgow is not murder suspect
A 2011 file photo showing the registration of Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes as a suspect in the case. Photo: AFP

French judicial sources had said Friday that police at Glasgow airport had arrested Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes, who was subject to an international arrest warrant for the 2011 killings which transfixed France.

But DNA tests have now ruled out the arrested man by confirming he is not Dupont de Ligonnes, BFMTV reports.

A source close to the inquiry has also told AFP that the man held in Glasgow is not the murder suspect.

“The test turned out negative,” the source said, in the latest twist in the case since Dupont de Ligonnes disappeared eight years ago following the murder of his wife and four children in western France.

The French state prosecutor in Nantes, site of the murders, earlier said identity checks were being carried out to establish if the arrested man was really Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes.

“Investigators are going to Scotland to carry out the checks and the investigating magistrate is waiting for the results,” prosecutor Pierre Sennes told AFP.

The suspect was stopped at Glasgow airport on Friday after arriving on a flight from Paris, according to two French sources close to the investigation.

Sources said that a fingerprint match had been made but one said a DNA analysis was being conducted so as to be “totally sure” it was Dupont de Ligonnes.

Another source said the arrested man was travelling on a stolen French passport and had likely spent part of his time on the run in Britain.

58-year-old Dupont de Ligonnes is suspected of shooting his family dead and burying them under the terrace of their elegant townhouse in the western city of Nantes.

Their bodies were found three weeks after the killings, during which time Dupont de Ligonnes reportedly told his teenage children's school he had been transferred to a job in Australia.

He is said to have told friends he was a US secret agent who was being taken into a witness protection programme.

French prosecutors have said he killed all five of his victims in a “methodical execution”, shooting them each twice in the head at close range with a weapon fitted with a silencer.

He is believed to have covered them in quicklime and wrapped them in sheets before burying them under concrete.

Earlier on Friday, officers had picked out the suspect at the French capital's Charles de Gaulle airport, but there was not enough time to seize him, so they alerted British police, who confirmed an arrest had been made.

The man “remains in police custody in connection with a European Arrest Warrant issued by the French Authorities”, a Police Scotland spokeswoman said.

French newspaper Liberation reported that Dupont de Ligonnes had undergone plastic surgery to change his appearance, citing police sources.

For years France has been gripped by the question of how Dupont de Ligonnes had disappeared without trace, with some suggesting he may have killed himself. Hundreds of reported sightings only added to the mystery.

In 2015, a letter and photo of two of his sons, signed with his name and the message “I am still alive”, was delivered to an AFP journalist but experts could not verify its authenticity.

The alleged killer evaded a police dragnet in the Var region of southern France in January last year after witnesses reported seeing a man resembling him near a monastery.

READ ALSO: France stumped by mystery of missing family

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CRIME

How France plans to prevents youngsters accessing online pornography

France is set to announce new measures this week to prevent youngsters from accessing porn websites, in the latest round of a years-long struggle to protect children from explicit material.

How France plans to prevents youngsters accessing online pornography

“I plan to put an end to this scandal,” Digital Affairs Minister Jean-Noel Barrot told the Parisien newspaper on Monday.

France’s data protection and media regulators Cnil and Arcom are set to announce their latest proposals to rein in porn websites which are in theory subject to a 2020 law requiring age verification.

Previous attempts have been held up by privacy and technical concerns, as well as court action by the websites.

To its frustration last September, a Paris court ordered Arcom to enter into mediation with several porn websites including market leader Pornhub, holding up efforts to block them.

READ MORE: France hits Google and Facebook with huge fines over ‘cookies’

Under the new proposal, people wanting to access explicit material will need to download a phone application that provides them with a digital certificate and code, the Parisien reported.

The code will be needed to access a porn website under a system “which will work a bit like the checks from your bank when you buy something online,” Barrot told the newspaper.

“2023 will mark the end of our children accessing pornographic sites,” he added.

President Emmanuel Macron, who is married to former school teacher Brigitte Macron, promised to make protecting children from porn a priority during his bid for re-election last year.

In November, he launched the Children Online Protection Laboratory, an initiative that aims to bring together industry giants and researchers to look for ways to shield minors online.

In September last year, a report entitled “Hell Behind the Scenes” by French senators concluded that there was “massive, ordinary and toxic” viewing of porn by children.

The report found that two thirds of children aged 15 or less had seen pornographic content.

The French production industry has been roiled by a series of sexual assault cases in recent years in which women have come forward to allege rape, mistreatment and manipulation by directors and fellow actors.

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