Crime & Justice

Volunteer worker charged with starting blaze at Nantes cathedral

Paris, Jul 26 (efe-epa).- A voluntary worker has been charged with arson in connection to the fire that broke out at a cathedral in the northwestern French city of Nantes last week.

The individual is believed to be a 39-year-old asylum seeker from Rwanda who had volunteered at the St. Peter and St. Paul cathedral. He confessed in front of a judge on Sunday, his lawyer told the local press.

The judge charged him with “destruction and damage by fire,” an accusation on which he had been indicted on Saturday.

The suspect had been arrested and then released last week. He has been held in custody.

Speaking to the local newspaper Presse Océan, his lawyer Quentin Chabert said: “My client has cooperated. He deeply regrets the incidents and acknowledging it has been a relief for him.

“Today he is overcome with remorse and overwhelmed by the dimension of events.”

The newspaper said the man started two fires at the cathedral’s organ and another on an electrics panel having closed the building down for the day.

Police arrested the volunteer on Saturday morning after finding contradictions in his original statement.

The man had volunteered as an altar server for the last four or five years and was well respected by other workers at the cathedral.

The organist, Michel Bourcier, described him to Presse Océan as “extremely polite.”

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