France truck attacker had 'breakdowns'

  • 16/07/2016
France truck attacker had 'breakdowns'

The father of a Tunisian man that drove a truck into a crowd of people in Nice, France says his son suffered from "nervous breakdowns" which he was thought to have recovered from.

Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel killed 84 people and left scores more critically injured yesterday when he drove a truck through a crowd of people gathered to celebrate France's national day.

But now it appears the attack didn't just come out of nowhere, with Lahouaiej-Bouhlel's father shedding light on his history of mental health struggles and violent outbursts.

"He took his treatment, his medicine, and we thought he was doing well," his father told the BBC.

"I took him to the psychologist, he followed his treatment - but sometimes he had nervous breakdowns and broke and demolished everything.

"He had a nervous problem - and when he got nervous, he broke everything."

The attacker's father said his son also had problems in his marriage, which he believes contributed to the mental health issues he faced.

Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was known to police for petty crimes such as threatening behaviour and theft, but the 31-year-old did not have any links to radicalism and was not on the radar of intelligence services.

He is believed to have had a wife and three children, though a family friend claims he was thrown out of his Nice home over a year ago, following alleged domestic abuse.

A neighbour gave her impressions of Lahouaiej-Bouhlel to the BBC, telling the broadcaster that he would look at her family strangely and was "frankly, not normal".

She said that he was "a handsome man" and likely "pleasing to women", but was incredibly private.

"He wouldn't even open the door - when we arrived behind, he'd slam the door shut," she explained.

"Always alone. I always saw him alone but he went back and forth often. I've been living her for four months so I'm still settling [and] I often saw him during the day, but he was frightening.

"He didn't have a scary face, but a look. He would stare at the children a lot."