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New Serial Killer After Murders

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Published on Apr 6, 2012

Police in France are investigating whether another serial killer is on the loose, after four people were killed in similar circumstances south of Paris.

The latest victim was a 47-year-old mother, named by French media as Nadjia Lahsene, who was shot dead outside her home in Grigny, a suburb in the southern outskirts of the capital.

She was killed by a gunman who fled on a motorbike - recalling the method used by Islamist extremist Mohammed Merah.

Merah was killed by officers in southern France last month after committing seven murders.

But police believe there may be a link between the murder of Ms Lahsene and several other homicides in the area over the past five months.

"That is a concern, but in any case, as in every criminal inquiry, we are putting every effort into finding out who is behind this," France's interior minister Claude Gueant said.

Authorities have added however that nothing yet suggests any political or religious motives are behind the shootings.

On Thursday, Ms Lahsene, a woman of Algerian origin, was killed in the foyer of the apartment block where she lived with her 18-year-old son.

"Everyone is in shock," said one of her neighbours, who asked not to be named. "She didn't feel threatened. She's a normal person, simple, no history." A vigil has taken place for Ms Lahsene.

A report by Le Parisien said witnesses had described the perpetrator as a man at least 1.8 metres tall, wearing a leather bomber jacket and carrying a black motorcycle helmet and dark satchel.

He arrived at the scene of the murder on a blue Suzuki motorcycle that appeared to not have a licence plate, the report added.

Further French reports said ballistics tests had indicated the gun, a 7.65mm, was the same one used in at least three other murders in the region.

Last month, an 81-year-old man named as Marcel Brunetto was shot in the head and killed at the entrance to a similar block of flats in Grigny's neighbouring suburb of Ris-Orangis.

In February, a 51-year-old man identified as engineer Jean-Yves Bonnerue was shot dead in the car park of an apartment building in Juvisy-sur-Orge.

One of his neighbours, a 35-year-old female laboratory assistant named in media reports as Nathalie Davids, was killed in the same car park in November last year.

In that case, a man who said he was her ex-boyfriend turned himself in, was arrested and charged, but has since withdrawn his confession.

Mr Gueant noted the 46-year-old man had been in jail at the time of the latest murder.

"That said, this series is worthy of all our attention and we have put all our means at our disposal behind it," the minister added.

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