“She was absolutely terrified,” said an investigating source. “The lady was out walking her dog close to the centre of the city when Rimbaud struck.
“He punched her in the back of the head and then hit her with a stick, before passers-by intervened, and chased him off. It was only later that she was told that she had been attacked by a known cannibal.”
The attack, which happened at around 10pm, was stopped, and Rimbaud was returned to the secure psychiatric unit where he has been held since 2011. It was in June of that year that the corporal returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, where he had been fighting the Taliban.
On November 14, he murdered a 90-year-old farmer called Leopold Pedebidau in Nouilhan, west of Toulouse, and then chopped up his body. Prosecution papers later described how Rimbaud “cut out his victim’s tongue and a piece of his heart, to cook them with white beans”.
Rimbaud was later caught as he tried to kill a second farmer, and later became known as “the cannibal of the Pyrenees” after being sentenced to life in prison for murder. He was “diagnosed with schizophrenia and was suffering from post-traumatic shock linked to his fighting in Afghanistan”.
His lawyer, Maitre Francoise Seles, called Rimbaud a victim of the Afghanistan war.
A local police spokesperson said on Friday: “The convicted killer has been returned to custody.” They added that an enquiry was underway to try and find out how he escaped.
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