News Irish News

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Former student held as Irish lecturer (66) is killed in Paris

  • Irishman working as English teacher in Paris 'stabbed to death by a former student'
  • French police detain the suspected killer of the academic
  • Tributes paid to John Dowling: 'This is a language teacher who gave 20 years' service here and who was well-liked by everyone'
Crime scene: Forensic investigations at the scene of the killing of teacher John Dowling in Paris. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Crime scene: Forensic investigations at the scene of the killing of teacher John Dowling in Paris. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Conor McCrave

Conor McCrave

An Irishman working as an English teacher at a college in Paris has been stabbed to death, allegedly by a former student.

The man, who was last night named as 66-year-old John Dowling, was stabbed a number of times outside the Pôle Universitaire Léonard-de-Vinci, in the Hauts-de-Seine area yesterday.

It is understood that Mr Dowling was close to retirement after 20 years' teaching service.

The French news service 'Le Monde' said French police had detained the suspected killer of the academic.

"The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is aware of the case and is providing consular assistance," a spokesman confirmed to the Irish Independent.

The suspect who was detained has been described as a 37-year-old former student at the Léonard de Vinci university, which is situated in the business district of La Defence in the French capital. The former student is understood to have been born in Pakistan.

Sébastien Tran, a director at the university, said he believed the student was "dissatisfied" at his exclusion from the university in 2017, but added that he had not been seen as a particular threat.

"We are very surprised and upset," Mr Tran added.

The university director general, Pascal Brouaye, spoke to reporters after the incident.

"It's an incident which has stricken our entire community," Mr Brouaye said.

"This is a language teacher who gave 20 years' service here and who was well-liked by everyone."

Mr Dowling had previously taught at the Emerald Cultural Institute in Rathgar, Dublin, where colleagues last night paid tribute to him.

"It is with deep sadness that we have learned of the death of our beloved friend and colleague John Dowling. We will all miss him more than words can say," a Facebook post read.

Another user commented saying they were sad to hear the news and that Mr Dowling was a "gentleman".

France has seen a spate of violent protests recently from angry students over the cost of attending university.

The mayor of Frejus, a small town in the south of France, yesterday said the incident was an example of tensions "worsening".

"Support to his loved ones and colleagues," he said.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News