Killer of French Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll handed life sentence

·2-min read

A French court has sentenced the killer of elderly Jewish woman Mireille Knoll to life behind bars, with no possibility of parole for 22 years.

Yacine Mihoub, 32, killed the 85-year-old Mireille Knoll in her home in what judges said it was a hate crime motivated by the fact she was Jewish.

Alex Carrimbacus, 25, an accomplice, was acquitted of murder but found guilty of theft and sentenced to 15 years.

Knoll's partly burned body was found in her Paris flat in March 2018. She had been robbed and stabbed 11 times and her attackers had set her home alight.

Her murder, which came shortly after that of another Jewish woman, Sarah Halimi, caused an outcry over anti-Semitism in France.

Apportioning blame

Mihoub and Carrimbacus each blamed the other for the killing.

Carrimbacus, a homeless man, admitted to robbing Knoll in her flat but said it was Mihoub who had carried the victim to her room and stabbed her.

“I’m a thief but not a killer,” he told the court.

Mihoub was the son of Knoll’s neighbours and knew the victim well. He admitted to setting the flat on fire but claimed Carrimbus had carried out the fatal stabbing.

It took the jury 10 hours to decide on sentencing the defendants.

Anti-Semitic attack

Mireille Knoll had escaped the 1942 Val d'Hiv roundup of more than 13,000 Jewish people in France.

But judges deemed her Jewish identity had ultimately led to her murder.

Carrimbacus and one of Mihoub's former cellmates told the court Mihoub had made anti-Semitic remarks in the past.

Carrimbacus also said that Mihoub shouted “God is great” in Arabic during the killing, an accusation Mihoub denied.

The public prosecutor said that since Mihoub knew Knoll and they lived in fairly similar conditions, only religious-based hatred could have motivated the murder.

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