Briton held over jogger murder in southern France
French police have detained a 32-year-old British man in connection with the murder of a mother of three who was stabbed to death while out jogging, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
The suspect, originally from Chatham in Kent, lived with his mother 300 metres from where the victim's partly unclothed body was discovered on Thursday in scrub land on the outskirts of the popular tourist town of Nimes.
He was arrested after officers carrying out door-to-door enquiries noticed he resembled the description of a man seen near the scene of the crime, deputy prosecutor Stephane Bertrand told reporters.
He also had marks on his hands that may have been caused by thorn scratches. The victim's body was discovered in a copse covered in bramble bushes.
The handcuffed suspect was taken to his home on Tuesday morning as police carried out a search of the property.
A female neighbour who regularly saw the suspect out walking his dog told AFP she could not believe he could have carried out such a brutal crime. "He was a kind person, a very polite young man."
The victim's body was found on Thursday evening after her children's school alerted her partner that she had failed to pick them up.
A box cutter-style knife and two blood-stained stones were found near the body and are thought to have been the weapons used in a murder that police sources have described as a "slaughter." There was evidence to suggest the victim had been sexually assaulted but not raped, police said.
DNA traces from someone other than the victim have been recovered from the scene of the crime.
The victim, identified by French media as Joudia Zimmat, was 33 and had three children, aged 3, 6 and 9.
A housewife of Tunisian heritage, she regularly went running in the afternoon on tracks in Courbessac, a peaceful residential part of Nimes, which is famous for its amphitheatre and other Roman remains.
She was the third female jogger to have been killed in France since June 2011 but police have not yet established any link with the other murders.
© 2013 AFP