Access to the second-hand dealer’s home, in a decrepit red brick farmhouse, was blocked Tuesday morning by the gendarmes, who came and went in the courtyard, including searching a truck, noted an AFP journalist.
The victim, a 43-year-old senior public finance inspector, was found dead, “probably as a result of stab wounds”, according to the Arras prosecutor’s office.
This official had gone Monday afternoon to the home of the entrepreneur in the company of an inspector “to carry out an audit of the accounts”, and both would then have been sequestered and tied up by the junk dealer, he said. added.
“Very shocked”, the inspector was taken care of by the emergency services, but “her life is not in danger”, specified the prosecution.
The junk dealer, 46, would have killed himself by firearm, the prosecution said Monday evening in a press release, without expanding on his possible motivations, but promising “a more complete press release” on Tuesday.
The research section of the Hauts-de-France gendarmerie was seized as part of a flagrance investigation for assassination.
– “Dangerous missions” –
“It is the entire DGFiP (Directorate General of Public Finances) which is in mourning”, reacted Tuesday FO-DGFiP in a press release, condemning an “unspeakable act”.
“This tragedy bitterly reminds everyone that public finance officials, particularly nomads, carry out potentially dangerous missions,” added the union, which calls for “learning the lessons of this tragedy to concretely strengthen the protection of personnel”.
Government spokesman Olivier Véran denounced “a terrible human tragedy”.
“This junk dealer has committed the most terrible act possible,” he insisted on CNews. But “we don’t know the motivations, if we can talk about motivations”, he added.
The Minister of Public Accounts, Gabriel Attal, is expected Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. at the Departmental Directorate of Public Finances (DDFiP) in Arras.
“This man was simply doing his job (…) Today, he did not come back. He was killed as part of this tax audit”, he said Monday in the middle of the evening before the Senate.
His colleagues at the Pas-de-Calais DDFiP “and more broadly all public finance officers are upset and in mourning this evening”, he added, referring to “an unspeakable drama”, before inviting to a moment of meditation “in his homage” in the hemicycle.
The junk dealer, divorced and father of two children, “had arrived in the village four years ago”, told AFP Éric Bianchin, mayor of this village of 250 inhabitants located south of Arras.
“He had bought a farm in rue de Quéant, where he made sales at home. He emptied houses, garage sales and sold at home,” he added, his eyes wet behind his glasses.
“It’s a small village, everyone knows each other. I’ve never had a problem with him, he was helpful, he was a normal person. He was integrated into the village,” continued the mayor.
According to him, the inhabitants “saw him very little”, because “he left very early in the morning for his activity”.
Leaning on a bicycle at the end of the street, René, a resident who does not want to give his name, affirms that he knew the junk dealer, from whom he had bought “a washing machine, odds and ends”. “He was a decent person, I don’t understand…”