|Toulouse officials ordered
murder, says serial killer |
Tuesday June 3, 2003
France's most notorious serial killer has claimed that he murdered at least one victim on the orders of highly placed personalities in Toulouse because of a blackmail threat linked to sadomasochistic orgies involving politicians, judges and police.
Dominique Baudis, the city's former mayor and current head of the Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel, an independent broadcasting watchdog, said through a lawyer yesterday that he was among four people named by the murderer, Patrice Alègre, who is serving a life sentence for five killings, involving extreme cruelty, and six rapes.
Mr Baudis's lawyer, Francis Szpiner, dismissed Alègre's claim that the former mayor took part in orgies and "was involved in the organisation of a murder".
But his client, a former television presenter and newsreader, wanted to be interrogated so that he could "regain his honour", claiming that he was a victim of a political conspiracy.
The affair is linked to evidence uncovered during the past two years by a special homicide squad investigating the disappearance of 115 women and girls in the Toulouse region over 12 years. Most were girls who had run away from home.
Suspicion that Alègre had committed crimes other than those for which he was jailed in 1997 led to an inquiry by examining magistrates into "acts of torture and barbarity, pimping and rapes of under-age girls" that could lead to a number of prosecutions.
Magistrates, politicians, policemen, journalists and businessmen are due to be questioned as part of the inquiry.
Among the fallout from the affair in France's fourth biggest city was the sacking last week of Jean Volff, the prosecutor-general. He was one of a number of court officials in Toulouse who have been forced to explain their alleged knowledge of the affair.
One judge has admitted to drinking with Alègre and another has said that there was "some truth" in evidence from two former prostitutes of an official cover-up of Alègre's crimes.
Alègre, a policeman's son, organised the city's prostitution business, providing under-age girls for sadomasochistic orgies at a courthouse in the city and at a chateau owned by the town council.
In a letter from his cell sent to TV presenter Karl Zero at the weekend, Alègre said that the former prostitutes, known as Patricia and Fanny, were telling the truth about the murders of two other prostitutes which they had witnessed but which he had previously denied.
One of the dead women had been strangled by him and thrown into a lake for refusing to join in orgies. He had strangled the other while raping her in a hotel in the city centre because she wanted to report the killing.
A vice squad detective allegedly assured Alègre, who worked in the police canteen, that the murder would be classified as suicide.
In his letter, Alègre also admitted killing Claude Martinez, a male prostitute, who filmed orgies with a hidden camera and wanted to blackmail those who had taken part.
Alègre said that during a meeting in a mansion in Toulouse he had been ordered to "shut up Martinez" by "people who might have been filmed" during group sex in which "everyone sniffed coke as hard as they could".
"I can imagine that the affair will be stifled because all the people implicated in the case are people with power," he wrote in the letter after naming Mr Baudis.
The letter was written after Alègre met a magistrate to give details of unsolved crimes. Only part of the four-page document has been published but, according to a source who has read all of it, Alègre's confession "contains precise details about the places, situations and personalities involved in the orgies".
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