US husband of French teacher charged with her murder

French prosecutors on Sunday said they had charged a US national with the murder of his French wife, who was found stabbed to death near their holiday home in the southwest.

a fire hydrant on a city street: A bouquet of white roses lies at the top of the drain where the body was found

Officers arrested Billy Kruger on Friday as he was about to fly out of France from the airport in nearby Toulouse. 

Hours earlier, police had found his 52-year-old wife’s remains in a rainwater drain near the couple’s holiday home in the village of Peyriac-de-Mer.

Prosecutor Marie-Agnes Jolie told AFP on Sunday that Kruger had earlier confessed to police to having stabbed his wife twice, and told the investigating magistrate that it was in self-defence.

He was charged with aggravated murder, she said.

The couple, who habitually spent a few weeks in Peyriac-de-Mer each year, were to have left on Friday for their home in Indonesia where Laure Kruger worked as a teacher.

Laure’s father raised the alarm after the couple did not turn up at his home to say goodbye.

After the body was found, a manhunt ensued and Billy Kruger was arrested in the departure area of the Toulouse airport.

On Sunday, a bouquet of white roses had been placed at the top of the drain where Laure’s body was found.

“We don’t know yet what happened, but we never got any alarm signal from Laure regarding violent acts against her by her husband,” Laure’s brother Pierre Bardina wrote on Facebook.

“You always think this can only happen to other people, but violence against women can happen all of a sudden.”

This latest murder brings the number of suspected femicides in France this year to at least 40, according to an AFP tally.

In 2019, AFP counted at least 126 cases of women killed by their partners or ex-partners, or an average of one woman every three days.

AFP