Knife murderer on French train linked to Isabel

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The Independent Online
A MAN who murdered a woman on a train in France two days ago is thought to be the killer of the British student, Isabel Peake, thrown from the Paris night express two months ago.

A nationwide alert was issued yesterday for the man suspected of cutting the throat of Corinne Caillaux, 36, as her son slept nearby, aboard a night train near Dijon early on Tuesday. Police and judicial investigators have evidence which links the Dijon suspect to the killing of Ms Peake near Chateauroux on 13 October.

A man, an itinerant in his 20s with a record of petty crime on trains, is known to have been aboard the Brive-Limoges-Paris train the night that Isabel, 20, died. His name was taken by a ticket inspector for not having a ticket.

His description fits closely that of a man seen talking to Isabel, as she boarded at Limoges station. He is one of a dozen people on a police list of possible suspects in the Peake case.

Judicial officials in Dijon said that they had "identified with near certainty" the man who murdered Ms Caillaux, who had two children, in the toilets of the Calais to Ventimglia express just before 3am on Tuesday. Although police refused to divulge the suspect's identity last night, he was said to be a man in his 20s of North African origin, of no fixed abode, who has a record of petty crime on night trains.

Earlier in the journey, the man's name was taken by a ticket inspector.

Ms Caillaux, from the Somme area who was travelling with her five- year-old son to visit her sick mother in Grasse, near Cannes. The boy was sleeping in a couchette when his mother was attacked.

Her body was found by ticket inspectors in a toilet just after the train made an unscheduled stop in Dijon. Ms Caillaux was still alive but died on the way to hospital. Police believe that she was attacked only a few minutes earlier and that the murderer may have got off the train when it stopped in Dijon to change drivers.

A railwayman told police that the man whose name he took was wearing a baseball cap similar to one found, soaked in blood, close to the body of the French woman. She was stabbed 15 times and her throat slashed.

Pierre Denier, deputy public prosecutor in Dijon, said that he had "reasons to believe that an arrest could come rapidly." Mr Denier also said that there were were "elements which suggest that our leading suspect was also implicated" in the killing of Isabel Peake.

Police sources said that the man had already been under suspicion in the Peake case for several weeks. He was one of several people who had shown their identity cards to inspectors after failing to produce a ticket on the train from which Isabel was thrown.

Ms Peake's body was found beside the Limoges to Paris line 14 hours after the night express passed. It is believed that she was thrown from a door, or a window, after resisting a sexual assault.