Teenage killer paid students to identify French teacher before beheading

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French CRS police officers stand as adults and children gather in front of flowers displayed at the entrance of a middle school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, 30kms northwest of Paris, on October 17, 2020, after a teacher was decapitated by an attacker.
French CRS police officers stand as adults and children gather in front of flowers displayed at the entrance of a middle school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, 30kms northwest of Paris, on October 17, 2020, after a teacher was decapitated by an attacker.
Bertrand GUAY / AFP
  • France anti-terrorism prosecutor, Jean-Francois Ricard said the killer paid students to identify Samuel Paty.
  • He said the killer knew Paty's name after a parent launched a campaign against him on social media.
  • Ricard said the students were offered between 300 and 350 euros.


The Chechen teenager who beheaded a French teacher for showing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in class had paid students to identify him in front of the school, France's anti-terrorism prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Jean-Francois Ricard told a news conference the killer knew the teacher's name and location of his school after a parent launched a campaign against Samuel Paty on social media, but had no way of identifying him at the school gates.

"This identification was only possible with the help of students from the school. They identified him in exchange for payment," Ricard told a news conference.

Ricard said the killer had arrived at the school early on Friday afternoon and offered students between 300 and 350 euros.

Two students aged 14 and 15 were among seven people suspected of complicity to murder in a terrorist endeavour or association with a terrorist and handed over to a judge to determine whether they should be placed under investigation - at which point they would be treated as formal suspects.

Ricard also confirmed that the attacker, who lived in France on refugee papers, had made contact with the father of a Muslim girl who on social media accused Paty of stigmatising Muslims and called for him to be fired.

ALSO READ | French teacher's killer 'in contact with pupil's father before attack'

Paty was beheaded on Oct. 16 in broad daylight outside his school in the middle-class Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. His attacker was shot dead by police shortly afterwards.

Investigators say the teenager had sought to avenge his victim's use of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in a class on freedom of expression. Muslims believe that any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous.

The parent who had posted the videos denouncing the teacher was also among the seven presented to the judge, as was a Franco-Moroccan activist, Abdelhakim Sefrioui, who was already known to intelligence services.

President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that Sefrioui had been directly involved in the attack. The government dissolved Sefrioui's "Sheikh Yassin Collective" on Wednesday.

The murder has shocked France, and carried echoes of the attack five years ago on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, after it published cartoons of Prophet Mohammad.

A national tribute in honour of Paty will be held at the Sorbonne university in Paris on Wednesday.


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