Shropshire Star

British girl stabbed in knife attack can leave hospital soon, prosecutors say

French judges have handed preliminary charges of attempted murder to the suspect.

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The attacker leaves the palais de justice

A British girl who was one of four children stabbed in a knife attack in the French Alps while on holiday will be able to leave hospital soon, prosecutors have said.

Preliminary attempted murder charges were handed to a 31-year-old Syrian refugee after the children, aged between 22 months and three years, and two elderly adults were attacked at a lakeside park in Annecy, south-east France, on Thursday.

The British girl, named locally as Ettie, three, who had been visiting the area with her parents, will be able to leave a hospital in Grenoble within days, officials said on Saturday.

Knife attack tributes
Flowers near the scene at a lakeside park in in Annecy, France, following a knife attack (Peter Byrne/PA)

According to details from French prosecutors, the British girl suffered a single stab wound but her condition was never “vital”.

It came after French President Emmanuel Macron met the girl in hospital on Friday, saying afterwards that she was awake and “watching television”.

The suspect, whose name has not been officially released, has been remanded in custody pending further investigation.

Lead prosecutor, Line Bonnet-Mathis, said at a press conference the man was presented to investigating judges in a court on Saturday, where he heard the charges.

In a translated statement, she said: “The prosecution service of Annecy immediately opened a case and the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police have also been involved.

“The assailant at 9.47am was put into custody.

“The prosecution service of Annecy opened a judicial case for attempted murder. The prosecution service put the assailant in provisional custody.

“And this afternoon he was going to be taken to court and he will appear before the judge.”

She said the motive for the attack is still unclear.

The suspect was earlier moved from a police station in Annecy, a short walk from where the incident took place.

Ms Bonnet-Mathis said the victims are no longer in a life-threatening condition.

Mr Macron and his wife, Brigitte, visited the British child and other victims in hospital on Friday before travelling to the lakeside town where the attack took place.

French President Emmanuel Macron meets Henri, second right, the 24-year-old ‘backpack hero’
French President Emmanuel Macron meets Henri, second right, the 24-year-old ‘backpack hero’ (Denis Balibouse/Pool via AP)

He also shook hands with a man who appeared to chase the knifeman around the park.

Henri, 24, who is travelling across the country visiting various cathedrals, was labelled a hero in France after the video was shared on social media.

Mr Macron said: “Attacking children is the most barbarous of acts and I think that is what has shocked us.”

He told Henri: “You experienced very hard moments, traumatising. I am very proud of you.”

Witnesses said the knifeman shouted “in the name of Jesus Christ” as he launched the attack, including stabbing a child in a pushchair repeatedly as bystanders screamed for help.

Hundreds of tearful wellwishers continued to visit the park on Saturday, where a sea of flowers, teddy-bears and written messages were laid.

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