Killer who stabbed lecturer in cold blood could get 30 years
A DEEPLY religious Pakistani national living illegally in France is facing up to 30 years in prison for the savage killing of Irish lecturer John Dowling.
Referred to publicly only as Ali R, the 37-year-old Muslim has admitted killing the academic outside the Leonardo de Vinci university in Paris on Wednesday.
Ali, whose accusations that his victim had ‘insulted the Prophet Mohammed’ were rejected by others, was indicted for alleged murder during a short appearance before judges in the French capital yesterday. He was remanded in custody in a high security prison in the Paris area, where he will be held until his trial.
Prosecutors have called for a murder conviction that could be punished by up to 30 years in prison, but defence barristers will offer reasons for reducing the charge to a lesser one, such as manslaughter.
It came as investigators revealed that Ali’s three-month residency permit had run out, and he was living in France illegally with no fixed address since being kicked out of the university last year.
He stabbed Mr Dowling, 66, with a steak knife and his victim suffered 23 wounds to his body during the bloodbath. An autopsy
carried out on Friday showed that Mr Dowling suffered five wounds to the head, three in the neck, six in the chest, and the rest in ‘defensive cuts’, said an investigating source.
Ali has also confessed that he held a grudge against the university after failing his exams, and particularly hated Mr Dowling.
Catherine Denis, the Nanterre prosecutor involved in the case, said Ali harboured an ‘obsessive resentment’ against the university.
‘He came to France two years ago to join the management school, but did not pass his first year,’ she said.
‘Since then he had been returning to the college, and had become unwanted to the point that he was not allowed in any more.’
CCTV footage shows Mr Dowling chatting calmly with Ali at around midday, before the attacker took out a steak knife and plunged it into the Irishman’s throat.
In interviews with police Ali alleged that the teacher had made fun of his Muslim religion during English classes at the university.
He claimed the Dubliner had produced a drawing which he showed in class that insulted the Prophet Mohammed, according to Ms Denis.
Despite this claim, Ms Denis said: ‘Nobody remembers such an incident. We don’t have proof of radicalisation, but rather a feeling that we’re dealing with someone who is very religious, very pious, very practicing.’
Ms Denis said Ali R was not known to the intelligence services, but was an ‘obsessive patriot’ from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
He had not renewed his residency permit to stay in France after leaving the university, and bought the steak knife from a supermarket near the university.
There are indications that he may have arranged to meet his victim, and police are checking telephone and email records to try and establish a link.
He enrolled in a bachelor’s management course for foreigners at De Vinci in September 2016, but was forced to leave in August last year after failing his exams.
Yesterday, tributes continued to pour in for Mr Dowling, who had been due to retire at the end of this academic year.
Killer: Ali R has admitted stabbing Mr Dowling in Paris