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Last Updated: Monday, 26 July, 2004, 17:21 GMT 18:21 UK
Hoax race attack woman sentenced
Marie-Leonie Leblanc
Marie-Leonie Leblanc admitted ripping her own clothes
A French court has handed down a four-month suspended prison sentence to a woman who invented a story about being the victim of an anti-Semitic assault.

Marie-Leonie Leblanc, 23, was also put on two years' probation and ordered to get psychiatric treatment.

Her story of swastikas being daubed on her body during a brutal attack on a Paris train caused outrage in France.

She claimed that Arab and black youths had also slashed her clothes and cut a lock of her hair.

"I wanted my parents to take care of me," she told the court in Cergy-Pontoise, north-west of Paris.

"I was aware of the lie that I had told, but I didn't think it would go so far in terms of the media coverage, that the media would become aware of the incident."

The court also ordered her to pay a symbolic one euro in damages to the French national railway, SNCF, the French news agency AFP reported.

Hours after the attack was first reported, French President Jacques Chirac expressed his horror and called for the perpetrators to be punished.

But Ms Leblanc's lies were uncovered when no witnesses came forward and closed-circuit video cameras failed to show evidence of the attack in the train station on 9 July.

She later said she had ripped her own clothes and drawn the swastikas on her own stomach with her boyfriend's help.

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