Train killer attempts suicide

in News · 22-01-2000 00:00:00 · 0 Comments

The Algerian national arrested in Lisbon last week on the suspicion of murdering British student Isabel Peake and two other women in France, attempted suicide on Monday. "Suicidal" Sid Ahmed Rezala, slashed his wrists and neck with a razor at the Caxias Prison. While being treated for his "trivial" wounds, further details surfaced regarding his movements over the past few weeks while being sought internationally.

It was originally believed that Rezala had slipped France a matter of hours before his arrest in Lisbon. But it has now been uncovered that Rezala had first spent some time in Spain. According to the French press he was detained a week before Christmas for theft in Madrid, prior to crossing into Portugal.
The Spanish Internal Ministry was quick to refute any such claims. The newspaper "Journal du Dimanche" quoted sources within the French murder and robbery unit.
It indicated that the so-called "Train Killer" was arrested in Madrid for theft, only to be released after several days in captivity. It was at this time that the man who was wanted internationally for three brutal murders, decided to flee Spain and head for Portugal.
The Spanish Internal Ministry later added that the allegations made by the French daily newspaper "could be a possibility".
Suspected by police as being the sole perpetrator of the gruesome murders, conflicting stories were abound this week as the true trials and tribulations of Sid Ahmed Rezala emerged.
On Monday, while being held at a prison in Caxias, Sid Ahmed Rezala cut his forearm and neck. A spokesperson for the National Correctional Services (DGSP), said the wounds Rezala inflicted upon himself were "slight". The same source added that Rezala's behaviour should be perceived as an attempt to grab the attention of local and French authorities.
The suspected serial killer is now said to be in a "perfectly calm" state of mind.
Later that day the French Consul General visited the prisoner awaiting extradition. The DGSP official said afterwards the two had spoken "for some time".
It was also disclosed this week that French authorities have been asked by their Portuguese counterparts to complete yet another official requisition form for the extradition. The Attorney-General had earlier returned the initial French request as it had been completed incorrectly.
Once the request receives local approval, it will be handed to the Attorney-General's office which will then pass it onto a Lisbon court for further scrutiny.
Rezala was last week awarded the opportunity to decide his own destiny when asked whether he would voluntarily accept extradition to France or buy some time in Portugal. He opted to stay here.
A story by the weekly Expresso reported last week that Rezala spent his few nights of Portuguese freedom frequenting gay pubs and clubs in Lisbon.
He was said to have remained well hidden within the gay community under the half-truth pretext that he was an illegal Algerian immigrant.
Sid Ahmed Rezala was born on May 13, 1979, and is suspected of killing three women on the 13th day of October, November and December.
January 13 was earmarked as d-day and became a date French police were dreading. It was anticipated that he would commit a fourth murder on that day to preserve his well-rehearsed modus operandi. Fortunately the day bore reversed significance as he was detained by Portuguese police after a phone call he made to the mother of his child was traced to a call box outside a Barreiro church.
An unverified report that has been gathering momentum in the British press this week is that Rezala almost escaped arrest in Portugal after the press beat police to the place of his arrest.
Another factor acting in Rezala's favour as he defies an expedited extradition, is that Portugal has habitually been hesitant to make cross-border transfers of prisoners who could be subjected to sentences greater than those applied here.
While Rezala could face life imprisonment in France, Portuguese law prescribes a sentence not exceeding 25 years, irrespective of the criminal act committed.
Meanwhile bets have been placed on a possible February 13 extradition order.


Be the first to comment on this article
Interactive Topics, send us your comments/opinion on this article.

Please note that The Portugal News may use selected comments in the printed edition of the newspaper.