A teenager in France has been arrested for attempted murder, after allegedly stabbing an elderly man in the face because he thought he was gay.
On 16 July at around 5.15am, a 71-year-old man was found lying on the ground by a roundabout in the commune of Betton, near Rennes.
The victim had been stabbed six times in the face and had multiple fractures to his facial bones. Luckily, he survived the brutal attack.
It did not take police long to identify two suspects – an 18-year-old from Le Mans, and a 17-year-old from Rennes – as they were found driving a car stolen from the elderly victim.
While the 17-year-old has not been implicated in the attack, the 18-year-old will stand trial as an adult.
The public prosecutor of Rennes Philippe Astruc said in a media release: “A criminal investigation has been opened into counts of attempted murder due to the sexual orientation of the victim, and robbery with a weapon.”
During questioning, the suspect said that he met the victim on the night of 14 July, and that they had agreed to meet up two days later.
The suspect admitted to “having stabbed the victim in the vehicle and outside it”, the public prosecutor said, because of the victim’s “supposed homosexuality… but also with a view to stealing [the car]”.
If found guilty, he could face life in prison.
The 17-year-old found with the car is under investigation, and could faces charges relating to possessing stolen goods.
In 2020, figures released by the interior ministry for International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia showed that anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes were on the rise in France, with a 36 per cent increase between 2018 and 2019.
The ministry said in a statement at the time that the crimes were part of a wider increase in “hate acts and identity extremism”, and added: “These figures testify to the deep anchoring of homophobia and transphobia in society.”