Schoolteacher stabbed to death by pupil in southwest France

Schoolteacher stabbed to death by pupil in southwest France
Photo credit: Getty Images

A 16-year-old pupil stabbed a Spanish-language teacher to death on Wednesday at a Roman Catholic high school in the high-end beach resort town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz in southwestern France, government officials said.

The pupil then told another teacher he was possessed and had heard voices that instructed him to carry out the attack, a source with knowledge of the investigation told Reuters.

Local prosecutor Jerome Bourrier said the pupil was being held in custody. A murder investigation is underway, indicating that they suspect the young man had planned his attack beforehand, the prosecutor said.

The victim was a woman of around 50, local lawmaker Vincent Bru said.

"It's a shock," he said of the attack, speaking in a phone interview with Reuters, adding that the school was in a quiet area and had had no security issues so far. Bru confirmed that "this does not seem to have any terrorist cause at all."

Pupils fled in panic after the stabbing, local newspaper Sud Ouest said, citing two students who were in the classroom and witnessed the attack.

The attacker stood up during a lesson and walked to the door, before turning around and stabbing the teacher, they said.

Education Minister Pap Ndiaye, speaking at the school, said a minute of silence would be held in schools on Thursday - though much of France is on winter break.

"There was no reason to think that such a terrible tragedy could take place here. This is a very calm school, known for its seriousness and serenity," Ndiaye told reporters.