Chinese student kills woman in French stabbing spree

14th January 2010, Comments 0 comments

A 26-year-old student who appeared to suffer from an attack of dementia attacked four people with a butcher's knife of 20 to 30 centimetres at his university.

Perpignan – A Chinese student stabbed to death a 49-year-old secretary and wounded three other people in an attack Wednesday at a university in southern France, officials said.

The 26-year-old sociology student killed the woman with a butcher's knife and wounded three other people, one of them seriously, at the university in the southern town of Perpignan.

Police arrested the student from the northeast Chinese city of Shenyang, who "appeared to be suffering from an attack of dementia" and was undergoing psychological testing, said public prosecutor Jean-Pierre Dreno.

"He attacked them at 9:30 (0830 GMT) in the university's sociology department with a butcher's knife of 20 to 30 centimetres (up to 12 inches)", Dreno said.

The secretary was making photocopies at the university library when she was attacked. Her screams for help prompted a sociology professor to rush to her aid.

The professor suffered serious wounds from knife blows to his face, arms and legs, the prosecutor said.

A supply teacher who also arrived to help managed to disarm the attacker and a group of students then subdued him. The secretary later died in hospital from knife wounds to her chest and throat, Dreno said.

The prosecutor said the Chinese student, who had been attending university in Perpignan since 2005, apparently knew the secretary's daughter and also had threatened other students.

President Nicolas Sarkozy offered condolences to the secretary's family and praised the courage of bystanders who came to her aid and managed to subdue the attacker.

In a statement issued by his office, he expressed "support for the whole university community and hopes that investigations will shed light on these events as soon as possible."

Higher Education Minister Valerie Pecresse travelled to Perpignan to show support for university employees following the attack.

"This is a horrible tragedy. It is a tragedy involving mental health," said Pecresse. "I want to understand why this young man, who had been hospitalised in a psychiatric ward, was at the university."

The Chinese student had spent a week at the Perpignan hospital in November to undergo treatment and had not shown up for his exams earlier this week.

The head of the conference of university rectors, Lionel Collet, described the incident as "one of the worst on a campus in recent years".

The sociology faculty was closed on Wednesday but the rest of the university remained open. Students, professors and staff were in a state of shock.

AFP / Expatica

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