Page last updated at 19:50 GMT, Thursday, 3 July 2008 20:50 UK

Murdered pair had bright futures

Laurent Bonomo (l) and Gabriel Ferez

Two French students found stabbed to death had promising careers ahead of them, one of their lecturers has said.

The bodies of Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez, both 23, were found in a flat in New Cross, south-east London, on Sunday night.

They were stabbed in the head, neck and chest before being set alight.

Claude-Gilles Dussap, the director of Polytech Clermont-Ferrand, said he hoped the murder would not put off other students from studying in the UK.

'Painful and upsetting'

Mr Bonomo and Mr Ferez were in the second year of their Masters degree in biochemistry and had come to London at the end May for a three to four-month summer placement with Imperial College.

Mr Bonomo, from Velaux, near Marseille, and Mr Ferez, from Prouzel, near Amiens, were working on a research project into chains of protein within DNA and were due to return home in the next few weeks.

Both men were experienced travellers and were active in their university's union and clubs.

Mr Dussap said the pair were involved with extra-curricular activities and events.

"We had absolutely no problems with them, and we were sure they were in a position to find a professional position without any problems anywhere in the world.

"They were mature, sensible, very well-tempered. They had no problems about being understood by other students.

We push our students to spend some time abroad and learn about other cultures and seeing how this has ended is just horrible, really horrible
Bernard Dantal
Deputy mayor of Clermont-Ferrand

"The teachers and the other students are very, very shocked."

Mr Dussap added that the news of their death led other students from the university to cut short their placements abroad and he hoped the incident will not put students off coming to the UK.

"We have to explain to all the students that it has happened in London, but it could happen in Paris, New York or anywhere else in the world," he said.

The rector of Imperial College, Sir Roy Anderson, said: "Laurent and Gabriel had bright futures ahead of them and it is dreadful that their lives should end so soon.

"It is extremely painful and upsetting for this to have happened in our country whilst Laurent and Gabriel were enjoying a period at Imperial," he said.

The deputy mayor of Clermont-Ferrand, where the pair studied, Bernard Dantal, said hearing the news had been "like being hit over the head".

"We thought first of all of the families who must have suffered a serious shock," he said.

"Their children were about to get on with their lives and a career and it's all come to a halt."

He continued: "Our campus and scientific community is devastated by what happened. We push our students to spend some time abroad and learn about other cultures and seeing how this has ended is just horrible, really horrible."

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

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