Man who stabbed Holocaust survivor, 85, to death in her Paris apartment while shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ is jailed for life
- Mireille Knoll, 85, was murdered by Yacine Mihoub in a robbery gone wrong in 2018
- The 32-year-old was overheard shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ while committing the murder
- The killing sparked national outrage at the increase of anti-Semitic crime in France
Mireille Knoll, 85, suffered from Parkinson’s disease and could not move unassisted
A French court on Wednesday sentenced the killer of an elderly Jewish woman to life imprisonment, with no possibility of parole for 22 years, over the 2018 murder which caused an outcry over anti-Semitism in.
Yacine Mihoub, 32, was convicted of the murder of Mireille Knoll, 85, who was stabbed 11 times and whose body was partly burned after her Paris apartment was set alight on March 23, 2018.
The man’s accomplice Alex Carrimbacus, 25, was jailed for 15 years for robbery, motivated by anti-Semitism.
Carrimbacus claimed that Mihoub, who had multiple convictions for violence, shouted ‘Allahu akbar’ (‘God is greatest’) while stabbing her.
President Emmanuel Macron attended the funeral of Knoll, who had survived a notorious 1942 roundup of Jews in Paris during World War II by fleeing with her mother to Portugal.
Mihoub, the son of one of Kroll’s neighbours who described her as being like a ‘surrogate grandmother’ to him, denied any hand in her death, blaming Carrimbacus instead.
Knoll’s murder caused added repugnance because she was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and could not move unassisted.
Knoll’s son Daniel told the court that when his mother let Mihoub, who had done odd jobs for her for years, into her home ‘she never expected that the person she had protected for years would become her executioner.’
In his final statement to the court on Wednesday, Carrimbacus told Knoll’s family he regretted not preventing an attack described by the prosecution as ‘particularly savage.’
Mihoub (left) was overheard by his accomplice yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’ during the brutal killing. He will now serve a life sentence with no chance of parole.
The attack was classified as anti-Semitic after Carrimbacus told investigators he overheard Mihoub arguing with Kroll on the day of her death ‘about Jews’ money and their wealth.’
Prosecutors also pointed to messages glorifying jihadist attacks found in Mihoub’s prison cell as proof of his alleged anti-Semitism.
France’s 500,000-strong Jewish community, the biggest in Europe, has been rocked by a series of attacks in recent years by radical Islamists that have targeted Jews.
Silent marches in memory of Mireille Knoll took place across France with tens of thousands in attendance
In March 2011, gunman Mohamed Merah shot dead a teacher and three children at Jewish school in the city of Toulouse in March 2011.
Four years later, four people were killed in a hostage-taking at a Jewish supermarket in Paris by an accomplice of the two brothers who had massacred a group of cartoonists over Mohammed caricatures a few days earlier.
An estimated 30,000 people took part in a silent march in Knoll’s memory in March 2018 that was attended by government ministers and the heads of France’s political parties.
Heartfelt tributes were made following the death of Knoll. Her death shocked the French Jewish community, the largest in Europe, to its very core.
The case drew parallels with the killing in 2017 of an Orthodox Jewish woman in her sixties, Sarah Halimi, who was thrown out of the window of her Paris apartment by a neighbour shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ (‘God is greatest’).
France’s highest court ruled in April that the killer in that case, Kobili Traore, was not criminally responsible after succumbing to a ‘delirious fit’ under the influence of drugs and could not be put on trial.
That ruling infuriated the victim’s family as well as Jewish groups, and prompted Macron to urge a change in French law to ensure people face responsibility for violent crimes while under the influence of drugs.
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