Man, 21, arrested over murder of French students

A 21-year-old man was arrested in the early hours of yesterday in connection with the murders of the French students Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez.

He was detained at 3.40am and is now being questioned at a police station in south-east London. Police said yesterday they were also following up about 25 calls received in relation to the murders, and are appealing for any further witnesses to come forward.

Last Sunday, the two friends, both 23, were bound, gagged and stabbed to death in a flat in New Cross, south-east London, which was subsequently set alight. A pathologist documented 243 separate injuries to the badly burnt bodies, with Mr Bonomo suffering at least 80 wounds after he died. The highly regarded graduate students, both biochemists, had been on a three-month secondment to Imperial College London.

The director of the French university attended by Mr Bonomo and Mr Ferez spoke of the "brilliant, professional future" the murdered men have been denied. Claude-Gilles Dussap, head of the Polytech Clermont-Ferrand in central France, said a silent procession would be held at the campus tomorrow to commemorate the victims.

Mr Bonomo, from Velaux, near Marseilles, and Mr Ferez, from Prouzel, near Amiens, had been due to return home later this month.

Police last night said the men might have died for the sake of two handheld games consoles. Detectives said two Sony PSP consoles, costing £130 each, were stolen from Mr Bonomo's rented flat in Sterling Gardens, New Cross. Officers are also hunting a black Packard Bell laptop taken in a burglary at the flat six days before.