Four suicides follow French child porn raid

Four suicides in five days have thrown into question the methods, and motives, of the French gendarmerie and judiciary which made simultaneous dawn raids on more than 600 suspected consumers of child pornography last week.

On Saturday, a teacher, Gilbert Pic, 40, threw himself to his death from the Aquitaine bridge over the Garonne in Bordeaux. He was the fourth paedophile suspect to take his life since the raids across France on Tuesday morning.

He and one of the others had been charged with the legally minor - but professionally and socially devastating - crime of possession of videos portraying scenes of sex with children. A senior business executive in Tulle, Correze, hung himself on Thursday after child pornography cassettes were found at his home. He left a note saying: "I cannot go on. Forgive me."

The other two men who killed themselves, including an invalid, had been questioned at length but charged with nothing.

Henri Leclerc, president of the French league for Human Rights, said the suicides cast doubt on the deliberately dramatic and highly-publicised raids. Not everyone who bought a pornographic cassette, even a child-porn cassette, was "another Marc Dutroux [the Belgian accused of a series of sexually-motivated child murders]," he said.

The Journal de Dimanche, while applauding the crack-down on French paedophiles after years of "laxity", said yes- terday that a media circus and a rash of suicides was neither a just nor an effective way to protect children.

The judicial authorities pointed out, however, that the raids did not just lead to the arrest of consumers of child porn. Seven men arrested on Tuesday had been charged with taking part in, and filming, sexual acts with minors.

The authorities also pointed out that many of the 235 men charged had jobs which brought them into contact with children. They included 31 teachers, two holiday centre directors, two priests, and six doctors, one of whom was a paediatrician.

"The overwhelming profile is middle class," an investigator said.

Most of those charged are accused of possessing child porno-grpahy and face prison terms of between one and three years, depending on the age of the children involved. The raids coincided with the start of the trial in Paris of the alleged ring-leaders of a network for filming and selling child pornography, arrested last year.

The addresses of the men raided on Tuesday came from the files of this network, codenamed Toro Bravo, which sold cassettes by mail at FF800 (pounds 90) each.

The increased energy and resources devoted to child porno- graphy in France flows directly from public outrage generated by the Dutroux case in Belgium. Both French and Belgian investigators are working on links between Dutroux and French child-pornographers.

The Journal de Dimanche revealed yesterday that two of the men involved in the Toro Bravo paedophile ring had connections with the extreme right of French politics. One of the men, Bernard Alapetite, charged on Thursday, had several previous convictions for peddling child pornography. He is also an author of far-right tracts and books and a one-time associate of Jean-Francois Galvaire, a member of the political bureau of the National Front.

Mr Galvaire told the newspaper that he had had no recent connections with Mr Alapetite. Without challenging this assertion, Journal de Dimanche pointed out that Mr Alapetite's video-production company, Platypus, had until recently shared an address with an FN front organisation chaired by Mr Galvaire.

"There are lots of companies there, even some freemasons [a particular bugbear of the NF]," Mr Galvaire explained.

Voices
Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014
voices

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Russell Brand at an anti-austerity march in June
peopleActor and comedian says 'there's no point doing it if you're not'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
news

Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

Life and Style
tech

Company says data is only collected under 'temporary' identities that are discarded every 15 minutes

News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Life and Style
health

Some experiencing postnatal depression don't realise there is a problem. What can be done?

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
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

Senior Pensions Administrator

£23000 - £26000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: I am currently recruiting level 3 n...

Are you a Teacher interested in Special Needs?

£110 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Are you a qualified Teacher w...

**ESOL**

£60 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Preston: The Job:* The Tutor will prepar...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album