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French man on trial after admitting student’s killing

French man on trial after admitting student’s killing

French man on trial after admitting student’s killing

French man on trial after admitting student’s killing

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  • Sophie Le Tan went missing on her 20th birthday in September 2018.
  • Her dismembered body was found by hikers in a forest in October 2019.
  • Jean-Marc Reiser, claims he accidentally killed her but investigators believe she was lured to her death.
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A convicted French rapist went on trial in France on Monday for the murder of a student whom he claims he accidentally killed but whom investigators believe was lured to her death.

Sophie Le Tan went missing on September 8, 2018, on her 20th birthday, after failing to return from a visit to a rental apartment outside the eastern city of Strasbourg.

She was described by those close to her as a serious and likable young woman.

Her dismembered body was found by hikers in a forest in October 2019.

Jean-Marc Reiser, now 61, was arrested a week after she disappeared and was tracked down by police through phone records. He faces a possible life sentence if convicted.

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After speaking to other students who responded to the same property advert only to be stood up, investigators believe Reiser used it to lure young women, observing the agreed meeting spot to see if they came alone.

A search of his apartment uncovered large bloodstains that had been carefully cleaned up, as well as Le Tan’s DNA on a saw in the cellar, according to court documents.

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For two years, Reiser denied any involvement in Le Tan’s death, before claiming in January 2021 that she died in a fall after he struck her.

After her remains were discovered, court documents said it was no longer possible to determine her cause of death or whether she suffered sexual violence.

As the trial got underway, Reiser again denied having planned to murder the student.

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“I had no intention to kill, I deny any premeditation,” he told the court.

As proceedings were about to begin Le Tan’s mother, Thi Huong, broke down in tears when she saw Reiser come in, and was led out of the court.

“This trial will be difficult, especially for the family,” said Francis Metzger, one of Reiser’s lawyers.

Le Tan’s father is also attending the trial, as are several of her cousins, aunts and uncles.

Reiser was previously convicted of rape in 2003 and has served several prison sentences. In 2001, he was acquitted for lack of evidence in connection with another disappearance dating back to 1987.

Reiser was raised in eastern France by an alcoholic father and has held a variety of jobs.

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“He had fantasies of omnipotence,” says lawyer Jean-Pierre Degeneve, who defended the accused in previous cases.

Reiser was “extremely authoritarian” but also capable of being “very courteous”, Degeneve added, calling him a “strange personality”.

In May, the suspect was found guilty of witness tampering in connection with a former girlfriend who described his rages and physical violence while they were together.

On Friday, after the court hears from his former partners and others close to him, Reiser will be cross-examined.

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