Murderer of French Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll jailed for life, while his accomplice and mother also sent to prison
Yacine Mihoub, 32, has been convicted of stabbing 85-year-old Mireille Knoll eleven times and has been sentenced to life in prison.
Ms Knoll, a Holocaust survivor, was murdered during a botched robbery in March 2018 that also saw her body set alight in an effort by the perpetrators to burn her apartment.
Alex Carrimbacus, 25, who was Mr Mihoub’s accomplice, was jailed for fifteen years for robbery motivated by antisemitism.
Ms Knoll had fled Paris in 1942 at nine years old with her mother, escaping to Portugal. They narrowly avoided the Vélodrome d’Hiver, or “Vél d’Hiv”, the largest roundup of French Jews during the Holocaust where over 13,000 men, women, and children were arrested with the majority being deported to Auschwitz. Less than 100 people returned.
Her murder was deemed an antisemitic incident with President Emanuel Macron stating that her killer “assassinated an innocent and vulnerable woman because she was Jewish.”
The court said that the attack was fuelled by a “context of antisemitism” and “prejudices” about the purported wealth of Jewish people which had led Mr Mihoub to believe that his victim had “hidden treasures” at her home.
Mr Carrimbacus claimed that he had heard Mr Mihoub shout “Allahu Akhbar,” the Islamic cry for “God is great”, at the scene, with both men blaming the other for the murder.
Ms Knoll lived next door to Mr Mihoub’s mother and had acted as a surrogate grandmother to her killer when he was a child.
Mr Mihoub’s mother, Zoulikha Khellaf, was also on trial after she was charged with cleaning the knife used to murder Ms Knoll. Ms Khellaf was found guilty of destroying objects and cleaning the murder weapon and was sentenced to three years in prison, including one year under electronic surveillance.
Tens of thousands of people were joined by Government officials in a recent silent march in memory of Ms Knoll.
The killing of Ms Knoll took place only one year after the murder of Sarah Halimi, which also occurred in Paris. Ms Halimi was a 65-year-old Jewish woman who was murdered by her 27-year-old Muslim neighbour, Kobili Traoré, after he tortured her before pushing her out of a window to her death. The Jewish community in France was carefully watching the trial of Ms Knoll’s murder after France’s Court of Cassation ruled earlier this year that Ms Halimi’s killer could not be held to stand trial due to being high on cannabis whilst committing the murder.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “After the disgraceful miscarriage of justice in the Sarah Halimi case, a life sentence for the murderer of Mirelle Knoll and prison terms for his accomplice and mother come as a relief, as does the court’s recognition of the role of antisemitism in the killing. The antisemitic murder of a Holocaust survivor is a monstrous illustration of the scale of Jew-hatred in France. It is no credit to the French judicial system that, given the Halimi precedent, this verdict and sentence were even in question. We hope that Ms Knoll’s family can now begin to mourn her. May her memory be for a blessing.”
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