Europe

Man admits kidnapping and killing Calais schoolgirl

A person holds a portrait of Chole during a march on 16 April, 2015 in Calais Image copyright AFP
Image caption Citizens in Calais took to the streets on Thursday evening holding flowers and pictures of Chloe

A Polish man has admitted to kidnapping and killing a nine-year-old girl in the French town of Calais after she shot a water pistol at him.

The 38-year-old confessed "immediately" following his arrest, French prosecutor Jean-Pierre Valensi said.

The girl, named locally as Chloe, was found dead in woodland on Wednesday after being raped and strangled.

Thousands of people, including her mother, marched through Calais on Thursday in her memory.

Chloe was playing with a friend near her home, when she approached the man at about 15:30 local time (13:30 GMT) on Wednesday and sprayed him with a water pistol.

Her mother told French broadcaster BFMTV that she had left her alone for five minutes to change her two younger children, and returned to see the attacker forcing her daughter into a car.

The body of the girl was discovered in the nearby woods less than two hours later. The suspect, who was under the influence of alcohol, was found close to the crime scene.

Forensic investigators reported evidence of "strangulation and sexual violence", said Mr Valensi.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Chloe's mother (C) was joined by relatives and the Mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart (R) on the march
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The child was playing near her home in Calais when she was kidnapped

The suspect has a history of criminal violence and had spent time in prison in both France and Poland. He was reportedly released just months ago after serving a six-year sentence.

One of his victims, a 78-year-old woman, told France's Le Parisien newspaper police had promised her he had been expelled to Poland.

Mr Valensi said the suspect had arrived back in France on Wednesday morning and was planning to travel to England to visit his sister.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called for a full investigation in to the man's past, saying Chloe's family deserved the "whole truth".

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