Tuesday 20 March 2018

Paris gunman linked to 'Bonnie and Clyde' killings

Surveillance footage showing the suspected Paris gunman.
Surveillance footage showing the suspected Paris gunman.

Henry Samuel Paris

The Paris gunman has been living on and off in Greater London for the last 13 years after serving time in prison for helping a leftist couple that went on 'Bonnie and Clyde'-style killing spree in 1994, it has emerged.

Abdelhakim Dekhar (48) has extensive British links having lived in Ilford, worked in a canteen in London and married a student in Redbridge in 2000. His sister Farida Dekhar-Powell is a French teacher who lives in the commuter town of Shenfield, Essex.

Speaking for the first time, she said she was aware of his arrest but had not spoken to her brother for years. "I stopped talking to him 20 years ago. He is not part of my life and that's how it stays," she said.

Dekhar was arrested on Wednesday night after police found him in a "semi-comatose" state in an underground car park in Bois-Colombes, six miles north of the capital, with an open packet of sleeping pills by his side.

A manhunt had been under way since Monday, when the gunman critically wounded a photographer at the offices of 'Liberation' newspaper, before opening fire on the offices of Societe Generale bank in the La Defense district and briefly taking a motorist hostage. He will be formally accused of "attempted murder" and "kidnapping".

Officials said he had left two letters: one appeared to be a suicide note, the other apparently was an apparently "confused" attempt at explaining his actions.

It evoked a "fascist plot" in which the suspect accuses the media of "participating in the manipulation of the masses, journalists are paid to make the citizens swallow lies with a little spoon".

He criticises capitalism and government neglect of suburban housing projects, which he calls "an enterprise of dehumanisation of a population that the capital doesn't want". There was also a vague reference to Syria.

Police found Dekhar in a parking garage after a witness came forward to say the suspect had been staying with him.

Dekhar's DNA matched genetic prints found on the shotgun cartridges the gunman used and a car he commandeered during Monday's drama.

In 1998, he was sentenced to four years in jail for buying a gun used in the 1994 attacks by Florence Rey, a 19-year-old student, and her lover Audry Maupin, who murdered three policemen and a taxi driver in a case that gripped France.

Their story was compared to the controversial American film 'Natural Born Killers', whose poster adorned their squat bedroom. Maupin died in the chase, while Rey, a student from a middle-class family, was a figure of fascination, as she showed no emotion during her trial in which she maintained a stony silence.

She claimed Dekhar (46) was the "third man" in their killing spree, but he insisted he was nowhere near the scene and was with a sister in London at the time – an alibi his family later denied.

He escaped charges of being a full-scale accomplice but was convicted of association with criminals in 1998, walking free the following year after, as he had served time awaiting trial.

The 23-year-old photography assistant shot during the gunman's attack has come out of a coma and is able to speak. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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