EU warrant issued for helicopter escapee

17th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

DRAGUIGNAN, France, July 16, 2007 (AFP) - French authorities said Monday they had issued a European arrest warrant for a killer who escaped from jail this weekend using a helicopter -- for the second time.

DRAGUIGNAN, France, July 16, 2007 (AFP) - French authorities said Monday they had issued a European arrest warrant for a killer who escaped from jail this weekend using a helicopter -- for the second time.

"I have launched a European arrest warrant regarding the 30-year sentence (Pascal) Payet must serve following his conviction in May 2006" for killing a security guard, prosecutor Christian Girard told AFP.

Meanwhile, the search continued for Payet and the accomplices who helped in his escape from Grasse prison in southeast France on Saturday night.

A source close to the investigation said burned rope and tools were found a few kilometres (miles) near where the helicopter landed at the town of Brignoles, and were being examined by experts along with the aircraft itself.

"Pascal Payet remains the priority of the gendarmes," said police chief Jacques Lartigue.

He added that a high-speed car chase in the region earlier Monday in which police officers fired gun shots "had nothing to do with the Payet case".

Payet is a career criminal with a long record of violent crimes.

In 2001, while awaiting trial for killing a guard during a robbery in 1997, he broke out of Luynes prison in southeast France using a helicopter.

The prisoner who escaped with him was soon recaptured but Payet remained on the run and in 2003 helped three other inmates break out of the same jail -- again using a helicopter.

Payet was eventually caught and sentenced to 30 years for the security guard killing, seven years for the 2003 break-out and six years for the 2001 escape.

The source close to the investigation said Payet had been transferred to Grasse prison ahead of a court hearing on further charges of murder and attempted armed robbery.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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