French murder suspect found dead in cell

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The Frenchman accused of murdering two women was believed to have hanged himself using his bed sheet, say officials.

Paris – A Frenchman accused of a double murder was found dead in his prison cell Saturday in an apparent suicide having hanged himself using his bed sheet, the justice ministry and prison union officials said.

The body of Jean-Pierre Treiber "was discovered hanging" in his cell in a prison in the Paris suburbs, said Guillaume Didier, a spokesman for the chancellery, adding that an inquiry into his death was under way.

Treiber was held in solitary confinement but he was subject to heightened surveillance after he had escaped from prison last September. The accused murderer of two women triggered a media frenzy over the desperate manhunt.

He evaded authorities for more than two months before being recaptured on 20 November.

Treiber, who always maintained his innocence, was set to go on trial around late April for the murders of Geraldine Giraud and her friend Katia Lherbier in 2004 in Yonne in the Burgundy region.

Both victims were in their thirties and Treiber was 41 at the time.

The isolated prisoner did not have in his cell an anti-suicide kit, including sheets and covers that cannot be torn apart, which was put in place last year to help control the increasing number of prisoners taking their own lives in French jails, according to two prison unions.

France has the highest rate of prisoner suicide among 15 European countries, with 20 suicides per 10,000 prisoners on average annually between 2002 and 2006, according to a study by the National Institute for Demographic Studies published in December.

AFP / Expatica

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