From the arrest of a man in Glasgow - the fingerprints presented by the Scottish police as those of Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès - to the doubts of neighbors and French investigators, until the DNA test showing that he is not the suspect of the killing of Nantes, sought since 2011: chronology of an erroneous information.
Shortly after 20H30 Friday, the daily Le Parisien announces that, according to "his information", Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès was arrested at Glasgow airport. The news is exceptional in this case, which is one of the biggest criminal enigmas of recent decades in France.
Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès is suspected of having killed his wife and four children in Nantes in April 2011. Their bodies were found under a concrete screed poured under the terrace of their house in Nantes.
From the father, no trace for eight years. The man was last seen in April 2011: on the 14th, he was filmed by the camera of a cash machine. On the 15th, he had left on foot a hotel in Roquebrune-sur-Argens (Var) with a case on his back that could contain a rifle.
This theatrical event ignites the newsrooms, who are busy to confirm his arrest.
At 9:01 pm, AFP confirms the information of the Parisian, based on a "source close to the investigation".
- Fingerprints -
In total, the Agency has four different French police sources with which journalists are accustomed to working with confidence. All note that "according to the Scottish police" the fingerprints of the man arrested in Glasgow "correspond". There is no conditionality in what the Scots report to their French colleagues.
The investigators, cautious, however expect "DNA comparisons to be completely certain," according to these sources.
Earlier in the day, the French police were informed by Britain, by "the way of international police cooperation" that a man was going to take a plane from Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle to Glasgow, report sources to AFP. Too late at this time for the French police to intercept.
A source told AFP that the British were warned of the arrival of this man in Glasgow by an "anonymous denunciation". "Means of identification" are transmitted to them by the French.
Shortly after 23:00, the Scottish police, requested by the AFP office in London, said in a statement to the Agency: "A man was arrested at Glasgow airport and remains in custody as a result a European arrest warrant issued by the French authorities ". "The investigation continues to confirm his identity".
This is the only official Scottish police communication at this stage.
- Doubts -
A source close to the case told AFP that the investigators (of the National Brigade research fugitives and the PJ Nantes) are en route, while the prosecutor Nantes evokes with AFP a trip to Glasgow Saturday .
Another source told AFP that the man was traveling with a stolen passport in 2014.
It is on the basis of the name and the address registered on the passport that police go Friday at night to Limay (Yvelines) to search a pavilion. AFP goes to the scene.
The prosecutor of Nantes Pierre Sennès calls, with AFP, to the "prudence". The investigators "will therefore check in Scotland with the person" arrested in Glasgow "to ensure that it is Mr. Dupont de Ligonnès". "So, while waiting for these checks, it is advisable to be cautious". "There is a suspicion on the fingerprints, but it is under verification, being confirmed".
Early Saturday morning, AFP returns to Limay, where neighbors and friends of the owner of the paved house, Guy Joao, express strong doubts about a possible link with Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès. "It's not him", say some, evoking this septuagenarian married to a Scotswoman.
At the same time, the police sources of the day before also express their doubts about the correspondence of the fingerprints and the identity of the man arrested. AFP reports this doubt shortly before 11:00.
Finally at 12:55, the AFP writes that the man arrested in Glasgow is not Dupont de Ligonnès after a DNA test, citing a source close to the investigation. French investigators have indeed the DNA of the suspect killing Nantes and the comparison with the DNA of the arrested man is negative.
Asked by AFP, French or Scottish sources have at this stage provided no explanation for the origin of this error.
© 2019 AFP