Husband shoots his ex-wife dead outside French court and then kills himself ahead of hearing over splitting up their property

Tuesday, February 20, 2024
 – An alimony hearing in France turned bloody when a man shot his ex-wife dead and then killed himself.

The shocking scene took place on Tuesday, February 20, outside the Palais de Justice in the southern city of Montpellier before the divorced pair could discuss splitting up their property.

'A 66-year-old woman was set upon by a 72-year-old man who had been waiting for her on a bench outside the court,' said an investigating source.

'As she approached security, he walked up to her with a gun and calmly shot her in the head, at point blank range.

'There was immediately a huge puddle of blood, and lots of screaming by passers-by before the man turned his own gun on himself.'

Both the man and the woman were declared dead at the scene by emergency services personnel, said the source.

Police said she was shot in the back of the back of the head, before the man turned the weapon on himself.

Fabrice Belargent, the Montpellier public prosecutor, confirmed that the pair divorced in 2016, and had been due at an appointment at 2pm to discuss the liquidation of assets.

The man had a record for physically attacking his wife when they were married, but 'there were no proceedings in progress regarding domestic violence, nor any kind of protection order,' said Mr Belargent.

A security cordon was placed around the court building after the mid-afternoon attack, and a white sheet was fitted over the gate in front of the courthouse to prevent the public from seeing the bodies.

Firefighters and police are still working on the scene, and access to the court is currently limited.

Michael Delafosse, the Mayor of Montpellier, said: 'A man responsible for violence against his wife shot her and then turned the gun against himself.

'The facts occurred in front of the Montpellier court. I pledge my support to all the justice personnel who have been severely affected by this atrocious act.'

A police source told AFP: 'We are not talking about terrorism at all.'

Éric Dupond-Moretti, France's minister of justice, said on X this afternoon in the wake of the shooting: 'Horrified by the femicide which took place in front of the Montpellier court this afternoon.

'My thoughts are with the victim and his loved ones.

'All my support to the court staff. The psychological support unit is triggered.'

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