Page last updated at 10:17 GMT, Friday, 4 July 2008 11:17 UK

France's shock at double murder

There is shock in the French press at the brutal killings of two French students in London, with commentators asking themselves if the young, aspiring biochemists were the latest victims of the British capital's growing "culture de poignard" or knife culture.

A London Fire Brigade cordon outside the flat where French students Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez were found dead
The French press ask if the city of London is more dangerous than Paris

Much is made of the contrast between London's pockets of high crime and its more affluent parts, two worlds which the students moved between, living in the south London suburb of New Cross and attending the University of London's high-ranking Imperial College.

"What more could one for hope for as an aspiring biochemist of 23, than to have a term at the DNA labs of the prestigious Imperial College in London, the best scientific faculty in the UK?" asks French daily Liberation.

"This double murder is the latest example of the 'knife culture' which dominates certain parts of London, a city where 17 adolescents have been stabbed to death since January," it adds.

Le Parisien describes the studio flat where the two men were killed as "a calm residence which has become the scene of an awful crime".

"Sterling Gardens is in shock. Situated off a road in New Cross, a rundown area of south-east London which was 'a bit rough' according to local people, Sterling Gardens had been spared, up until now," the paper says.

"There was a high turnover of tenants. And the young French student - who arrived just over a month and a half ago - did not have the time to make friends with his neighbours. He was barely known at Sterling Gardens."

20minutes reports that as rumours about the fate of the two students spread around the Clermont-Ferrand university, in southern France, many thought it too incredible to be true.

"The Facebook page of Laurent Bonomo - one of the two students found dead - is full of goodbye messages from his friends," reports the newspaper.

"But on Monday, one of his student friends, Caroline, left the message: 'Hey mate, what they are saying in the faculty corridors is a joke, right? Reassure me.' The young woman had no response, her friend's body was found on Sunday night in a London flat."

News bloggers and commentators ask themselves whether living in London poses any greater risk of violent crime than living in Paris, or Marseille, and seek to reassure the city's estimated 300,000 French residents that the two students were not targeted because of their nationality.

"Here the evening papers are already calling it: 'The Tarantino killing' so brutal and atrocious was the murder, last Sunday, of two French students," says Liberation's FrenchinLondon blog.

"I won't go into the details of the affair… but there are lots of French people here who feel uneasy. No-one, though, (as far as I am aware) is speaking of Francophobia or of an attack on the French community."

Students stabbed and set alight
03 Jul 08 |  London
Flat fire pair stabbed to death
03 Jul 08 |  London

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific