Girlfriend to marry soldier shot dead by scooter killer

The pregnant fiancée of one of Mohamed Merah's victims is making plans for a posthumous wedding

The pregnant girlfriend of a French soldier gunned down in Toulouse by the "scooter killer" has applied for permission to marry her partner posthumously. Such weddings have long been legal – if rare – in France, and require the assent of the President, something which is not likely to be in doubt in the midst of a close election campaign.

Abel Chennouf, a paratrooper, was shot dead at a cash machine in one of a series of killings blamed on the 24-year-old Islamist fanatic Mohamed Merah. A lawyer for the family of Mr Chennouf's girlfriend, Caroline Monet, 21, said she hopes to marry her late partner at an official ceremony in a few weeks' time.

The lawyer, Gilbert Collard, said: "I've already had it done twice, for policemen's girlfriends. It's a really moving ceremony, with an empty chair representing the dead spouse." He added that the official request was made yesterday, but that the President's office had indicated that approval would be given. Hundreds of posthumous weddings have taken place in France in the past 50 years. The couple need to have been planning to wed, and the deceased's family must consent. Only about one-quarter of requests are rejected.

Meanwhile, the circumstances surrounding Mohamed Merah's rampages are still being investigated. His mother, who was being questioned by police, was released yesterday, but his older brother, Abdelkader, and the older brother's girlfriend are still in custody. They were flown to Paris for further questioning yesterday morning.

Mohamed Merah, who claimed allegiance to al-Qa'ida, died in a hail of gunfire on Thursday after a 32-hour standoff with police at his apartment in Toulouse. At one point, police brought his mother to the scene, but she refused to urge her son to surrender. Merah had filmed himself carrying out the attacks in southern France, which began on 11 March. Since then he had killed three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three French paratroopers with close-range shots to the head. He had also wounded another Jewish student and a paratrooper. Five police officers were injured trying to dislodge Merah from his flat.

Police are trying to determine whether Merah had any help in carrying out the murders. Key questions include how Merah, described by the French intelligence boss Ange Mancini as "a little failure from the suburbs", was able to amass an arsenal of weapons – including an Uzi submachine gun – and rent a car, despite having no clear source of income. Mr Mancini told the French broadcaster BFM TV that Merah told police during the siege that he bought the weapons for €20,000 using money he acquired through break-ins and hold-ups.

Mr Mancini said he believed Merah was telling the truth about that, but suggested that police would be examining the guns for clues as to where Merah got them. Merah had claimed that neither his mother nor his brother knew of his plans, but a police union spokesman, Christophe Crepin, told reporters that detectives have already gathered evidence to suggest that Abdelkader may have helped his brother to carry out the shootings.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
News
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Teaching Assistants needed in Wigan

£12000 - £14400 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you an...

Biology Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: Biology Teacher for fixed term contrac...

LSA - HLTA in SEN - PRU

£60 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Luton: SECONDARY PRU / SEN / LSA experie...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments