Life sentence for anti-semitic murder of Mireille Knoll, 85, in Paris

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By Euronews  with AFP
Tributes outside Mireille Knoll's apartment after her murder in 2018
Tributes outside Mireille Knoll's apartment after her murder in 2018   -   Copyright  Thibault Camus/AP

A man has been handed a life sentence for the murder of an 85-year-old Jewish woman in Paris, in a case that sparked outcry over anti-semitism in France.

Mireille Knoll was stabbed 11 times and her body partially burned in the attack in her Paris apartment in March 2018.

Yacine Mihoub, 32, was sentenced on Wednesday in a Paris court to life imprisonment without parole for at least 22 years.

His co-accused, Alex Carrimbacus, was acquitted of murder, but was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with a two-thirds security term for aggravated robbery of the victim's home.

Mihoub's mother, Zoulikha Khellaf, was sentenced to three years in prison, including one year under electronic surveillance. She was found guilty of having destroyed objects and of cleaning the murder weapon.

Mireille Knoll, who was suffering from Parkison’s disease, had fled Paris in 1942 to escape the Vel d'hiv round-up ordered by the Nazis.

A crime ‘with an anti-semitic character’

The murder aroused strong emotions in France over its anti-semitic context, having happened a year after the killing of Sarah Halimi, a Jewish woman in her sixties.

She was killed in her apartment in the same area of Paris, by a man who was finally considered to be criminally irresponsible.

The court considered that the facts of Mireille Knoll’s murder were part of a "global anti-semitic context", according to the reading made by the judge after more than nine hours of deliberation.

According to the court, "the villainous character was fuelled by hatred because of the victim's membership" of the "Jewish religion" and by Yacine Mihoub's "prejudices" and "beliefs that riches could be hidden" in Ms Knoll's apartment.

"It's fair, it's what we expected. Our family will be able to start mourning," said Mireille Knoll's grandson. When the verdict was announced, several relatives were in tears.

The two accused, who already had criminal records, met in detention.