France charges skier after death of British girl, 5

A French skier who killed a five-year-old British girl after ramming into her at a resort in the Alps over the weekend has been charged with manslaughter, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

French Alps
The French Alps. Illustration photo: Philippe Desmazes/AFP

The badly wounded girl died onboard a helicopter that was rushing her to hospital after the 40-year-old man slammed into her at full speed as she was taking part in a lesson organised by the French Ski School (EFS) in Flaine, northwest of Chamonix, on Saturday morning with four other children.

The girl had been on a skiing holiday with her parents who live in Geneva and own a holiday home in nearby Carroz, the local paper Le Dauphine reported.

The man, a volunteer firefighter, tried to give first aid to the girl immediately after the accident, the paper said. He was taken into custody on Monday.

The ski instructor who led the group of children in perfect weather conditions, and who was questioned as a witness, was not found to be at fault in any way, Le Dauphine said.

Prosecutors in the nearby town of Bonneville said excessive speed was the cause of the accident.

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French pensioner pushed out of 17th-floor window ‘may have been victim of anti-Semitic attack’

An 89-year-old man who was pushed out of his 17th-storey window by a neighbour may have been killed because he was Jewish, a prosecutor said on Friday, after several shocking anti-Semitic murders in France in recent years.

French pensioner pushed out of 17th-floor window 'may have been victim of anti-Semitic attack'

The victim’s body was found at the foot of his building in Lyon, southeast France, on May 17th and the 51-year-old neighbour was arrested. But investigators did not initially charge him with a racist crime.

Last Sunday, the BNVCA anti-Semitism watchdog group said it would seek to be a plaintiff in the case, citing its similarity with the 2017 murder of Sarah Halimi, a 65-year-old thrown from her window in a case that sparked national outcry.

“After social media postings were provided to us, the prosector’s office has asked judges to consider the aggravating circumstance of an act committed because of the victim’s ethnicity, nationality, race or religion,” Lyon prosecutor Nicolas Jacquet told AFP.

He did not provide examples of the posts, but Gilles-William Goldnadel, a lawyer and commentator for CNews television, said on Wednesday on Twitter that the suspect had called out Goldnabel in messages, including one that told him to “remember your origins.”

“It’s no longer a question of telling us it’s the act of a mentally disturbed person. The truth of anti-Semitism must no longer be hidden,” Goldnadel wrote.

France has grappled with a sharp rise in violence targeting its roughly 500,000 Jews, the largest community in Europe, in addition to jihadist attacks in recent years.

The murder of Halimi drew particular outrage after the killer, who had shouted “Allahu akbar” (“God is greatest” in Arabic), avoided trial because a judge determined he was under the influence of drugs and not criminally responsible.

That prompted President Emmanuel Macron to seek a law change to ensure people face responsibility for violent crimes while under the influence of drugs, which was adopted in December 2021.

In 2018, 85-year-old Mireille Knoll was brutally stabbed in an attack by two men said to have been looking for “hidden treasures” in her Paris apartment.