AND HERE IS THE NEWS….
a weekly update of the local news
WITH CAROLINE HILL
Man found dying in hotel lobby – A 37 year old man was found unconscious in the lobby of a hotel near Perpignan Station on Saturday morning. Despite being rushed to hospital he died on Monday afternoon and an autopsy is being carried out but it is suspected it was an accidental fall.
Montferrer burglar caught – Police had been baffled by a spate of break-ins in the little commune of Montferrer. Seven houses had been burgled since October and police were none the wiser until, during the last robbery, the burglar injured his scalp on a piece of glass and they were able to apprehend a local resident with corresponding injuries. The 46 year old man faces court on April 1st.
Police officer insulted – A young professional man spent the evening drinking with colleagues and at 2am returned to his car, parked on the Theatre de l’Archipel parking, to find it completely blocked in. Incensed he decided to make a complaint and went straight to the gendarmerie. The female officer on duty kindly suggested that he go home and return when he was feeling a little better, and although described as ‘well-spoken’ he proceeded to hurl insults describing all police as being idiots and her in particular as a fat bitch. His lawyer described him as a ‘polite and hardworking boy who immediately regretted his actions’ but the court gave him a suspended sentence with 400€ compensation for the police officer.
Another bridge for Perpignan – Work has started this week on the new pedestrian/cyclists bridge over the Tet in front of the Théatre de l’Archipel. It is anticipated to be complete by the end of the year, and will cost 5m€. Two results of an opinion poll make interesting reading – 20% of people said ‘It will be a useful link to Le Vernet’ and 30% of people stated ‘There is already a bridge’.
The Centre of the World is Dying – dramatic headlines but it pretty much sums up the dire state of the state of the art Shopping and Commercial Centre in Perpignan. Robinson Osorio, who took over the role of General Manager 6 months ago has a tough job on his hands as 10,000m² of office space remains unused and this week saw the closure of C&A – one of many shops for whom the space is not commercially viable.
Successful weekend for Traffic Police – Police mounting a ‘control’ on drivers heading for the ski-slopes announced that no less than 97 ‘offences’ had been identified. Fifty-six were for exceeding the speed limit and other offences included tyre defects, not obeying Stop signs, crossing the white line and talking on mobile phones. On a positive note, none of the contraventions were for drink-driving. These ‘controls’ will be carried out regularly during this holiday season.
Act of God or Natural Causes? – On Monday morning the church at Le Boulou was found to be full of black smoke, and the statue of Christ was found to be partially burnt, despite the fact that the doors had been closed and locked since 11am Mass on the Sunday morning. Several bizarre theories were suggested, including ‘It is the work of Satan’, ‘The power of concentrated prayer has formed a laser beam’, ‘Spontaneous combustion’ and lastly ‘The Vallespir is a mysterious place…’ Father Segondy of Céret takes a more pragmatic approach and assumes that somebody must have left a candle burning.
Two ‘serious’ cases come to court – The first case involved a retired ex-military man accused of ‘violent assault’ on a teenager. The teenager just happened to be the man’s 14 year old son, who had been ‘surly, rude and using foul language’ when the father was trying to have a conversation with him so he slapped him. When the boy complained to his mother (separated from her partner) she started court proceedings. The judge ruled that while it was an ‘antiquated and outdated form of child education’ it did not constitute a criminal offense.
The second case was brought against a pensioner who was accused of ‘voluntary aggravated violence with a weapon against a minor’ – and the weapon was swimming pool water. The scene of the crime was a private pool in Argelès which must have been very big as it was filled with people ‘some doing lengths to increase their fitness, some just relaxing with their families, and some lively pimply youths having fun’. The pensioner was teaching his grand-daughter to swim when he was accidentally dive-bombed by one of the ‘pimply youths’ and he was so enraged that he held the boys head under the water to ‘teach him a lesson’. The judge threw the case out due to lack of evidence and also mentioned what a waste of time it all was.
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