Raped, strangled and killed in 30 minutes
A Polish man has confessed to raping and killing a nine-year-old girl after brazenly snatching her from a French playground within view of her mother, prosecutors said on Thursday (April 16).
The country was left reeling from the crime in the northern city of Calais.
Flags flew at half mast, as grisly details emerged about how the girl, Chloe, was kidnapped, raped and strangled in the space of 30 minutes.
The Pole, who has a long criminal history and served time in prison, confessed after being arrested on Wednesday night near the woods where the girl’s naked, lifeless body was found.
Chloe was playing with a friend on Wednesday afternoon when she approached the man, who had stopped his car to drink a beer, and sprayed him with a water pistol, prosecutor Jean-Pierre Valensi said on Thursday.
The suspect told investigators he grabbed the child and forced her into the red car, driving her to the nearby woods where he sexually assaulted and killed her.
Chloe’s mother, who was present, burst into panicked screams as the man, described by witnesses as bald and wearing sunglasses, shoved her daughter into his car.
The Mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart (left) comforts the mother (right) of Chloe during the march on Thursday. PHOTO: AFP
A police search team made the grisly discovery late on Wednesday afternoon.
Forensic investigators reported evidence of “strangulation and sexual violence”, said Mr Valensi.
Nearby, police found the red vehicle with Polish number plates, and the driver – heavily under the influence of alcohol – was arrested not far from the scene shortly thereafter.
The suspect “immediately admitted his involvement in the child’s death”, said Mr Valensi.
The man had served time in a French prison for robbery and extortion.
It emerged on Thursday that he had already threatened another little girl in 2009.
Meanwhile, the city of Calais was plunged into mourning after the killing of Chloe described as “cheerful and full of life”.
The mother of Chloe, relatives and people of Calais taking part in the march on Thursday. PHOT: AFP
Around 4,000 people took part in a solemn march in memory of Chloe later on Thursday.
“It’s horrific,” a shocked mother of two said outside Chloe’s school on Thursday morning, where a counselling unit has been set up.
She said: “My son knew her, he didn’t sleep last night, he knows he will never see her again. I can’t even imagine what the parents are going through.”