French 'HR killer' who shot 3 women should have life sentence confirmed, says prosecutor

The man killed two human resources directors and a job centre employee, and attempted to kill a company executive following a string of dismissals

By AFP

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File Photo. Image used for illustrative purposes.
File Photo. Image used for illustrative purposes.

Published: Tue 28 May 2024, 5:39 PM

A French prosecutor on Tuesday asked an appeals court to uphold the life sentence of a man convicted for fatally shooting three women he blamed for ruining his career.

In 2021, an unemployed French engineer, Gabriel Fortin, killed two human resources directors and a job centre employee, and attempted to kill a company executive following a string of dismissals.


The bloody rampage shocked France where such killing sprees are rare.

In 2023, the man dubbed the "HR killer" was given a life sentence.


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A jury at a court in the southeastern city of Valence found him guilty of murder and attempted murder and recommended he serve a minimum sentence of 22 years.

Fortin, 49, challenged his sentence but refused to appear at an appeal trial which began on May 13 at the Isere Criminal Court in southeastern France.

On Tuesday, public prosecutor Bernard Simier asked the court to uphold the life sentence, pointing to Fortin's "total lack of empathy towards his victims" and a "categorical refusal to seek any form of treatment".

Simier said Fortin had undergone two psychiatric examinations, the most recent concluding that his judgement was impaired at the time of the attacks.

He expressed hope that this "would not result in any reduction of the sentence".

During the trial in 2023, Fortin claimed he had been a victim of spying and conspiracies that led to him being dismissed from jobs.

The jury at the time found that mental disorder had impaired his judgement, but did not reduce the sentence.

Fortin said he had "nothing to say" and was leaving it to his lawyers to represent him.

His lawyer Bertrand Sayn said Fortin was "haunted by his errors of judgement."

"This man is ill," he added.

Fortin's life has been transformed into "hell", he said, adding his client believed he was a victim of conspiracies.

But "to say that he will do it again when he gets out is false", Sayn added.

The ruling is expected later Tuesday.

"We ask, with neither hatred nor weakness, that this character be definitively and irrevocably excluded from society," said Laurence Buisson, lawyer for Bertrand Meichel, the sole survivor of the attacks.

Investigators, who have studied thousands of pages of notes found at Fortin's home, suspect that he may have targeted several other people, had he not been arrested.

The victims were targeted at their workplaces or homes and were associated with his being fired or his inability to find another job.

HR manager and mother-of-two Luce was fatally shot in the car park of her company in the Haut-Rhin region of eastern France on January 26, 2021.

Meichel, an executive who had been involved in firing Fortin, was shot and wounded the same day at his home.

Two days later, Fortin gunned down Patricia Pasquion, an executive at France's national employment agency in Valence, and Geraldine Caclin, the head of human resources at the firm Faun Environment.

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