Wife confesses Lord Shaftesbury Riviera murder

27th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

NICE, France, Feb 28 (AFP) - French police trying to crack the case of a British lord who mysteriously disappeared on the Riviera four months ago hope an interrogation of the aristocrat’s brother-in-law will yield clues in what is now being treated as a murder investigation.

NICE, France, Feb 28 (AFP) - French police trying to crack the case of a British lord who mysteriously disappeared on the Riviera four months ago hope an interrogation of the aristocrat’s brother-in-law will yield clues in what is now being treated as a murder investigation.

They are awaiting the extradition of Mohammed M'Barek from Germany, where he was arrested Saturday, one day after his sister - the estranged third wife of the missing lord - was herself arrested in her apartment in Cannes.

Both are suspected of murdering Anthony Ashley-Cooper, the 10th Earl of Shaftesbury, who disappeared in Cannes on November 6, the day before he had seen his spouse, Djamila M'Barek, whom he was in the process of divorcing.

Djamila M'Barek - a 37-year-old Dutch-Tunisian former nightclub hostess whom 66-year-old Lord Shaftesbury married in 2002 after meeting her in Versailles, outside Paris - is being kept locked up in the French Riviera city of Nice after having allegedly confessed to the murder plot.

She has not, however, given any information that could enable police to find Lord Shaftesbury's body, officials said.

For that, investigators said Monday they hoped her 40-year-old brother, a Tunisian living in Munich who was arrested under a European warrant, would be more helpful.

"We are very much looking forward to the questioning of the brother," one source close to the case told AFP.

"We have yet to see whether he will consent to be transferred to France. If he does accept, that will take place in around 10 days' time. If he refuses, with the appeals process, that could drag out over several weeks."

Detectives believe Djamila M'Barek and her brother hatched the presumed plot to kill Lord Shaftesbury after the earl recently took up with another nightclub hostess - this one aged 33.

"They were in the process of divorcing and large sums of money were at stake," a source close to the investigation told AFP on Sunday.

The earl divided his time between Britain and the French Riviera where he was known to frequent night spots. He had been expected to return to Britain on November 10.

Educated at Eton and Oxford and a fluent French speaker, he inherited his title from his grandfather when he was 22 years old, along with the family seat at Wimborne, southwest England, and its 9,000-acre (3,600-hectare) estate.

Philippe Soussi, lawyer for the earl's family, said Sunday: "There is no longer any doubt that this is a criminal case, and that it is a sordid crime."

"The earl was a likeable, generous man - but he was also weak and fragile. His weakness was taken advantage of, to the point of murder," he told AFP.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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