Killer of French Holocaust survivor jailed for life

Yacine Mihoub is said to have stabbed Mireille Knoll while shouting 'Allahu Akbar'


A photograph of Mireille Knoll and flowers are placed on the fence surrounding her building in Paris on March 28, 2018, in memory of the 85-year-old Jewish woman murdered in her home in what police believe was an anti-Semitic attack. The partly burned body of Mireille Knoll, who escaped the mass deportation of Jews from Paris during World War II, was found in her small apartment in the east of the city on March 23, by firefighters called to extinguish a blaze. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS GUILLOT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP via Getty Images)

The antimsemitic killer of an 85-year-old French-Jewish Holocaust survivor who was stabbed repeatedly before being set alight has been sentenced to life in prison.

France was shocked by the brutal murder of Mireille Knoll in March 2018. Disabled, suffering from Parkinson’s and weighing barely seven stone, she was stabbed 11 times and her body was almost entirely burned.
As a young girl she had escaped the deportation of Jews from Paris to the Nazi death camps.
On Wednesday, Yacine Mihoub was given a life sentence, with 22 years minimum behind bars.
His accomplice Alex Carrimbacus was given 15 years in prison, with a third of the sentence suspended.
Mihoub’s mother was sentenced to three years for destroying evidence.
Mihoub, 28, was Mireille Knoll’s neighbour for some twenty years.
She had allowed him into her home many times since he had been a child, and had continued to call her “Little Yacine” even after he had turned into a violent criminal who had been convicted for assault.
On the day of the murder, Mihoub asked fellow former convict Carrimbacus, 22, to come with him to Mrs Knoll’s apartment. According to Carrimbacus their intention was to rob her.
They drank a bottle of wine Mrs Knoll had. Carrimbacus testified that Mihoub then argued with Mrs Knoll about Jews and the war.
He said that while he was elsewhere in the apartment looking for items to steal, he heard Mrs Knoll shouting.
Carrimbacus said that running into the room, he saw Mihoub stab her three times, shouting in Arabic: "Allahu Akbar" (“God is greatest”).
Carrimbacus said he was scared and that Mihoub took his lighter and set Mrs Knoll’s bed on fire and that they both set other parts of the apartment alight, after which they fled the scene.
Mihoub’s mother cleaned the knife used to stab Knoll and threw away the wine bottle and glass to destroy incriminating evidence, according to Carrimbacus.  
Mihoub had given a different version of events, claiming that Carrimbacus had a mental disorder which made him snap and kill Mrs Knoll. He said he was scared and helped Carrimbacus set the apartment on fire.
The two accomplices were caught on camera in a bar hours after the killing, discrediting both of their accounts that they had been left scared by what had happened.
Investigators on the case attempting to resolve the different accounts had tapped phones and interrogated their families, friends and cellmates to understand what exactly happened.  
The investigation uncovered how Mihoub had expressed admiration for antisemitic terrorist Amedy Coulibaly, who killed four hostages he had taken at a grocery store in Paris in 2015 before being shot dead.
It was also found that Mihoub had spouted antisemitic views, including the claim that Jews had inflated the number of victims in the Holocaust.
Prosecutor Jean-Christophe Muller said Yacine Mihoub was “the sole perpetrator of this particularly savage murder” pushing for a life sentence because of the aggravating circumstances, the victim being particularly vulnerable and considering the killer had antisemitic motives.
Lawyer Gilles-William Goldnadel, who has worked on several antisemitism cases, including the Sarah Halimi murder, said Yacine Mihoub was the one who likely stabbed Mireille Knoll, because he had antisemitic motives and because his version of events was not as credible as Carrimbacus’s account.  
The court heard a disturbing phone conversation in which Mihoub’s mother said: “She was 85! She would have collapsed soon.”
Mihoub replied: “I know, I should have waited for her to die off.”
His mother said: “Exactly,” and Mihoub responded: “That’s what I was planning to do.”
In court, Mihoub had smiled and made jokes, telling one lawyer: “Why do you say I’m having a hard time? I’m having a good time.”
He claimed that his accusers were motivated by racism against him as an Arab.
Mihoub’s laywer said: “The truth is that Yacine Mihoub had taken care of Mrs Knoll. He visited her more than 300 times over the years. He wanted to become a nurse.”
Mrs Knoll’s sons and grandson shook their heads in disbelief at the claims.
The judge said: “The extreme violence of the murder shows it was motivated by hatred.
“Yacine Mihoub, you acted with duplicity. She trusted you and you brought in another man to her home. You were insensitive to this weakened woman’s plight. And you were seen joyful shortly afterwards.”

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