Suspected French serial killer hangs himself in jail

26th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

MULHOUSE, France, Sept 26, 2006 (AFP) - A 46-year-old Frenchman who hanged himself in custody had confessed to murdering some 30 elderly women in France, Germany and Switzerland, police said on Tuesday.

MULHOUSE, France, Sept 26, 2006 (AFP) - A 46-year-old Frenchman who hanged himself in custody had confessed to murdering some 30 elderly women in France, Germany and Switzerland, police said on Tuesday.

Arrested in the eastern city of Mulhouse on Wednesday in connection with a robbery, Yvan Keller hanged himself with his shoe laces on Friday in a basement cell in the city courtroom, according to local prosecutor Regis Delorme.

A local basket maker who had served time in jail for armed robbery, Keller had admitted to killing dozens of elderly women who lived alone, the prosecutor said.

All the alleged murders occurred within 60 kilometres (40 miles) of Mulhouse, in the border region straddling France, Switzerland and Germany, starting in 1989, the year Keller was released from jail.

According to police, he claimed to have slipped into the women's homes and smothered them in their beds with a pillow before making off with their money and jewellery, carefully closing doors or windows behind him.

Police, seeing no sign of forced entry, had assumed the women died of natural causes.

Of the dozens of incidents Keller described, five closely match the known deaths of elderly women in the area, three in 1994, on a single street of a village in the Haut-Rhin department, and two in the nearby Bas-Rhin, in 2000 and 2001, the prosecutor said.

According to Keller's lawyer Pierre Peter, quoted by Liberation newspaper, he claimed to have struck a deal with investigators for a new home and job to be provided to his partner in exchange for his confession.

He reportedly felt "betrayed" after realising the agreement would not be honoured, and refused to sign his confession statement.

The prosecutor said his suicide was caused by a surveillance failure, and that he had shown no signs of suicidal tendencies during questioning immediately beforehand.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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