NEWS FROM AROUND THE REGION

with Madeleine McMullin

Man sentenced to 3 years for paedophilia

A 49 year old man was found guilty of touching a 5 year old boy, corrupting another and keeping child pornographic images between 2010 and 2011.  At the time he was looking after the neighbourhood’s children in St Cyprien, advertising on the internet.  He did not have any training or authority to do so.  He was refused permission by the departmental council because of his “unfitness” and “psychological instability” and was warned by the social services to stop the illegal activity.  However he claimed that the RMI didn’t give him enough to live on and he needed to play nanny for the local children to make up his income, even if he frequently did it for free.  He taught one of the boys to masturbate and abused another.  Everything exploded the day that he told the boy’s mother that he had injured his buttocks with the shower head.  The child corrected him and said that “uncle” had told him not to say anything but he had kissed his mouth, stomach, buttocks and penis “to make it get bigger to eat it” while miming masturbation.  The victim was neither prone to story telling nor perverse according to experts and the medical report showed serious anal lesions.  Police then investigated and found pornographic material on his computer, books in his cupboards and files on children detailing height, eyes, colour of anus and more, pictures of naked children, children kissing adults on the mouth…  The accused denied any knowledge of the material on his computer – “I didn’t download them.  I don’t know how they got there.”  His excuse for touching the children – “he had sores on his penis and his mother asked me to put cream on it”.  The files were there to act as a base to see if a child had been beaten.  “I also wanted to write a book about homosexuality in children.  I’ve never abused a child, I’ve been fighting illness since getting cancer at 40.  They can’t stabilise my diabetes, I’ve had a kidney removed. I’ve had staphylococcus since I was a baby.  I’ve no libido any more.  My girlfriends all left because I couldn’t satisfy them.  I love children because my mother looked after them.  For me it represents continuity”.  He was sentenced to 5 years, with 2 suspended and probation for 5 years as well as being added to the register of sexual delinquents.

 

Holidaymaker with drone causes panic in Canet

The gendarmes in Canet received a flood of calls on Sunday 7th August about a man who was flying a drone above the shoreline.  The municipal police were first on the scene, swiftly followed by the gendarmes.  The man, a 40 year old Polish man who had come from Spain first gave a slightly confused explanation.  However it later transpired that he was a professional photographer who was on holiday in France and had decided to take advantage of the fact to take some photos.  The police verified this and that he had a licence for a drone.  However, through ignorance, he had not respected the French regulations for using drones which are particularly strict during the current state of emergency.  He was cautioned for use of an aircraft not in line with the security regulations.

Deadly argument in Bompas: municipal police officer held for several hours

On Monday 8th August, a week after the drama in Bompas in which a man was killed by a bullet, the municipal police officer who was also wounded was finally interviewed, while in his secure hospital room in Perpignan and had to explain what happened.  According to the Indépendant’s sources, the man gave an unexpected version of events and claimed to have been unconscious when his presumed attacker died.  He was not put under investigation at the end of the interview.

She cut her opponent with a knife

2 women met by chance near the fountain of the Palais de Congrès in Perpignan at about one in the morning.  They already knew each other and had had various fights, the last of which 3 days previously had ended in a black eye and bitemarks.  The discussion grew heated once again, fueled by drink on both sides and a love rivalry.  One pushed the other into the fountain.  There followed an exchange of blows until the nephew of the victim came running to separate them.  At which point the woman in the water came out armed with a knife and stabbed the other several times, cutting her from the temple to the neck and then down to the chest.  The victim, who is 49 and according to her sister, registered disabled due to personality problems, was taken to hospital in an ambulance, before quickly coming back out and making a formal complaint.  The attacker was arrested and taken to the station where she accepted the facts, saying that they have an old quarrel.  She was left free and will come before court charged with “violence with a weapon leading to incapacity of not more than 8 days.”

4 cars set alight

On the night of 8th August, 4 cars were set alight in Bas Vernet.  The fires were quickly put out by the fire brigade and an investigation is under way to try to determine the cause.

Customised wheelchair for Elouane, aged 7

Elouane was born with Rett’s syndrome, a genetic neurological disorder which only affects girls.  When they were given the diagnosis several months after her birth, her parents were distraught, but their love for their daughter means that they battle to give her the best conditions possible as she grows up.  Her father has always been a gifted DIYer and is putting this talent to use to help Elouane.  The doctor prescribed a wheelchair with a chair that had been moulded to Elouane’s shape, but he felt that it needed to be safer, with a chair that could be opened and folded and went about designing it and getting it made with the help of Barthès, a company in Perpignan.  The result, more than 6 months later, is a wheelchair that reclines, but also has a series of joints which allows it to be transported in a car.

1100 hectares burnt

The fire at Montalba le Chateau which started on Thursday 12th August burnt 1,100 hectares and cut off the RN116 between Prades and Perpignan as well as several smaller roads before being contained.  It started at around 10.30 and burnt 200 hectares in the first hour.  At the beginning of the afternoon 4 other fires started in the department and the firefighting planes were diverted to put them out, before returning to fight the original blaze.  At the height 600 fire officers were engaged in fighting it.  This included firefighters from other departments and from Spain.  The gendarmes, departmental council, DDTM and prefecture were also on site.  In the air there were 3 Canadair fire fighting planes, 2 Trackers, a Dash and a water bombing helicopter as well as a reconnaissance plane.

29,347 more flashes in the P-O

The number of people caught by a speed camera doubled in the year from May 2015 even though the number of cameras did not change.  Hélène Giradot, the director of the Prefect’s office observed “That radars lessen the amount of accidents on the roads is evident.  It is shown by the statistics.  However to have caught 53,000 people in 1 year is quite considerable.  It makes you realise that there is a real problem in motorists’ behaviour despite attempts to educate them”.  A new movable machine was put in action on Thursday 11th August.  This radar described as “autonomous” has been placed on the RD618 between Le Boulou and Argelès.  3 more will follow in the next few months to be placed in accident blackspots.  One will be on the road between Céret and Maureillas.  They will however have a warning sign before them.  These and refurbished older cameras can catch speeding cars in both directions; something which has caught drivers unawares.  At Torreilles for example the change has led to 11664 infractions in the year from May 2015 up from 204 in the previous 12 months and the same thing has happened at Toulouges and St Jean Pla de Corts.

 

Madeleine McMullin lives in Palalda from where she runs her marketing business Marketing66.  She has worked both in the UK and abroad, with big brand names in the interiors and design industries such as Wedgwood, Denby, Sebastian Conran, Laura Ashley, Hemingway Design……..

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