November 27, 2021

the Assize Court faced with the “not very credible” versions of the accused

Two men accused of the anti-Semitic murder of Mireille Knoll are on trial from Tuesday before the Paris Assize Court. Almost four years after the incident, both continue to blame each other.

Mireille Knoll was killed “because she was Jewish”. In 2018, the President of the Republic was moved by the fate of this octogenarian, survivor of the Shoah, found dead stabbed and burned in her apartment in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. After two years of investigation, the anti-Semitic nature of this crime was well retained by the examining magistrates, who decided to dismiss Yacine Mihoub and Alexandre Carrimbacus for “murder committed because of race, ethnicity, nation or religion “before the Assize Court of Paris.

Their trial begins this Tuesday morning, for a verdict expected on November 10. And the exercise promises to be complex for the magistrates and the members of the jury, confronted with two defendants who each refer responsibility for the murder of Mireille Knoll. One thing is clear: Yacine Mihoub, 32, and Alexandre Carrimbacus, 25, were with the victim on the day of the crime.

“Rage”

On March 23, 2018, Yacine Mihoub visited him after his recent release from prison for sexual assault. His mother lives in the same building as Mireille Knoll, he has known her since he was little. He spends part of the morning in the apartment of the old lady, who has Parkinson’s disease. Gently kicked out by the octogenarian’s daughter-in-law at the end of the morning, he returns at the beginning of the afternoon and continues to empty the bottle of Port he started earlier.

The building in the 11th arrondissement of Paris in which Mireille Knoll was killed, on March 23, 2018.
The building in the 11th arrondissement of Paris in which Mireille Knoll was killed, on March 23, 2018 © Thomas Samson / AFP

At that time, Alexandre Carrimbacus joined him. According to Mihoub, it was he who proposed to his friend – whom he had met in detention – to come because they had planned to see each other. He tells her that he is “well installed [chez Mireille Knoll, ndlr] with cigarettes and a bottle. “A justification that differs from that presented by Carrimbacus. According to him, Mihoub contacted him to” get tuna “by stealing business from the octogenarian. But, on the spot, Alexandre Carrimbacus is reported to have made the situation worse between his friend and their host.

He was “enraged against this woman who had denounced him for arms trafficking,” he explains during the investigation, also reporting the anti-Semitic remarks made by Yacine Mihoub: “He reproached the Jews for having financial means and a good situation. ‘”

The situation gets even worse and, still according to Carrimbacus’ version, his friend carries Mireille Knoll “like a princess” to her room before slaughtering her at the cries of “Allah Akbar”. The investigation has indeed shown “the ambivalence of Yacine Mihoub vis-à-vis Islamist terrorism which advocates in particular anti-Semitism”, underline the magistrates. Yacine Mouhib would then have looked at Carrimbacus, his hands around the victim’s neck, sneering: “Look, she is dead, she will no longer break our balls.”

A story of money?

A story in total contradiction with that supported by the latter. He told him that as soon as he arrived at the apartment, Alexandre Carrimbacus – whom he nicknamed “the Marseillais” because of his accent – immediately asked him if the old woman was “armored”. He would then have searched in the cupboards of the room, triggering the suspicion of Mireille Knoll. The Marseillais would then have seized a knife.

“I saw the first shot, the second …”, relates the former resident of the building to investigators. In his defense, he also claims that Mireille Knoll was “a sort of spiritual grandmother” for him. “It’s the first one that gave me work and an emotional bond was created. She called me regularly to keep her company,” he explains.

But the doubt hangs over this version because there is nothing to demonstrate that he had resumed contact with her since his release from prison in 2017. He also made rather crude remarks concerning her, during telephone exchanges with his mother, who were intercepted. by the police.

“When you think about it, she was 85 years old, she was going to die soon,” he told her in September 2019, during his pre-trial detention.

“Not very credible” versions

Despite these contradictions, both agree that after the murder they went up to the 7th floor with stolen objects and a bloodstained knife, to Mihoub’s mother, who is being prosecuted for cleaning this weapon. potentially used for crime. They then spent the evening together. A choice which astonishes the investigators while both explain having been “afraid” of the other after this crime.

The eavesdropping, the follow-up of the demarcation of their telephones, the medical-legal examinations, the interrogations made it possible to privilege neither of these two versions, delivered by men known for their propensity to lie and manipulate, and condemned repeatedly for thefts and violence. The two accounts are considered “not very credible”. In the end, Yacine Mihoub’s mother is perhaps the one who best sums up this seemingly inextricable affair:

“Mireille, I don’t know who killed her because there were two of them, they are the only ones who know what happened.”

Alexandre Carrimbacus “will remain in his position. Unlike Yacine Mihoub, he had no reason to blame” Mireille Knoll, pleads his lawyer, Me Karim Laouafi, contacted by AFP. As for Me Gilles-William Goldnadel, the lawyer for the Knoll family interviewed by BFMTV.com, “all Mihoub says are lies. The file speaks for itself,” he said.

For the sons of the victim, Daniel and Alain Knoll, beyond the sentence, the incomprehension weighs. “I do not understand that my mother was killed because she was Jewish,” lamented Alain Knoll during the investigation.

Amber Lepoivre BFMTV reporter