Woman who invented race attack sentenced

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The Independent Online

A 23-year-old single mother who shocked France when she claimed she had been the victim of an anti-Semitic attack on a commuter train was yesterday given a four-month suspended jail sentence for inventing the story.

A 23-year-old single mother who shocked France when she claimed she had been the victim of an anti-Semitic attack on a commuter train was yesterday given a four-month suspended jail sentence for inventing the story.

Marie Leblancadmitted she had invented the attack "so that my parents would take care of me". In a case that shocked France and prompted condemnation from President Jacques Chirac, the single mother claimed on 9 July that she had been attacked by six men who had cut her hair and torn her clothes before drawing swastikas on her stomach.

Leblanc, who is not Jewish, claimed her assailants were black and north African and that they had assaulted her when she was travelling with her 13-month-old daughter between Louvres and Sarcelles in the suburbs of Paris. She claimed that none of the other passengers had intervened.

But press reports prompted acquaintances to tell police that Leblanc was a habitual liar and attention-seeker. Police then screened her mobile phone and ascertained she had never left Louvres station. Witnesses said her clothes were torn when she arrived at the station.

Leblanc said she had been aware she was lying but that "I never expected the story to go so far. I did not realise the media would get hold of it."

Her lawyer, Christophe Deltombe, said she had made up the story because she felt neglected by her boyfriend and she had just watched a documentary about the desecration of Jewish cemeteries.

Leblanc was also given a two-year supervision order and instructed by the court to seek psychological counselling.

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