France mass murder suspect's ex-lover tells police of debt

25th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

A former mistress of a Frenchman missing after his family was found murdered in their garden has said she had taken steps to recover a massive debt he owed her, a police source said Monday.

The former mistress, a businesswoman in the Val d'Oise north of Paris, went to police on Thursday night after hearing reports that Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes's wife and four children aged 13 to 20 had been murdered.

The 50-year-old businessman's family had on the same day been found executed and buried in the garden of their family home in the western city of Nantes in Brittany.

She told police "she had an intimate relationship with this man two years ago and that she had lent him 50,000 euros (73,000 dollars) in 2009 in exchange for an IOU," a police source said.

She had begun legal proceedings to recover the money from the suspect after their relationship ended.

Autopsies carried out on the bodies showed the victims had been "methodically" shot with a .22 calibre firearm similar to one that Dupont de Ligonnes had used in shooting practice at a Nantes rifle club.

Wife Agnes 49, daughter Anne, 16, and three sons were apparently shot several times in the head while asleep, around April 3 or 4, and tests are under way to see if they were drugged first.

Dupont de Ligonnes sent his ex-mistress a letter she received on April 9 saying: "We had a good time together, but now you will know misfortune," France's Le Figaro daily reported.

The pair were childhood friends who met up again on the Internet a few years ago and had a brief affair, before separating "in a stormy climate," the paper said.

The woman was afraid for her life after hearing of the murders and went to police, who told her to leave her home. She is now staying with friends in the Paris region.

The missing man was last seen on April 15, when he left a budget hotel at Roquebrune-sur-Argens in the Var region on France's Mediterranean coast, abandoning one of the family cars in the car park.

French authorities have issued an international search alert for the suspect.

© 2011 AFP

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