Details of high-seas murder plot emerge

25th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

OLHAO, Portugal, Aug 24, 2006 (AFP) - A retired French civil servant found dead on board his trimaran off the southern coast of Portugal was killed by a woman passenger, and a man she introduced as her brother, after she established "some intimacy" with the victim, police said Thursday.

OLHAO, Portugal, Aug 24, 2006 (AFP) - A retired French civil servant found dead on board his trimaran off the southern coast of Portugal was killed by a woman passenger, and a man she introduced as her brother, after she established "some intimacy" with the victim, police said Thursday.

Police found the body of Andre le Floc'h, an experienced 67-year-old sailor, bound and weighted with lead on August 18, a day after the duo were found by a Spanish cargo ship in a lifeboat in stormy waters.

The pair, who are also French and who were on holiday in Portugal, were charged with murder after being questioned by a magistrate at a hearing in the southern city of Lagos and are being held in preventative detention.

Thierry Beille, 51, and Corinne Caspar, 48, told police they tied up Floc'h, who sometimes took paying customers on short cruises on his Belgian-registered Intermezzo to supplement his income, because he had tried to rape Caspar.

But police said items such as a mobile telephone belonging to one of the accused which were found onboard the boat indicate the pair had carefully planned the murder which took place a few nautical miles from the coast.

Caspar first made contact with Floc'h on the island of Armona near the southern city of Olhao and boarded the Intermezzo "several times", including to dine with Floc'h, in order to gain his trust, a police source said.

It was only after Caspar established a "certain intimacy" with Floc'h did she falsely introduce Beille as her brother and suggested that the three go on a cruise together, the source added.

The pair boarded the boat on August 15 and the vessel capsized two days later during a rare summer storm 28 nautical miles south of Cape St Vincent, Europe's south-westernmost point.

The accused "knew what they were doing" and "had everything planned" except for the shipwreck, an investigator said.

An autopsy revealed Floc'h died from blows to the head and neck before the boat capsized, sources close to the investigation said Monday.

Police believe the pair planned to extort money from the victim or steal the trimaran, which Floc'h bought in 2002 for EUR 100,000.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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