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Therapist's murder sparks national debate

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Therapist's murder sparks national debate
Victim Adeline Morel's parents interviewed on Swiss TV. Photo: RTS (screenshot)
11:37 CEST+02:00
Switzerland has been transfixed by the brutal murder of a young therapist after she accompanied a convicted rapist from Geneva’s Champ-Dollon prison for a session of horse-riding therapy last Thursday.

The death of Adeline Morel, a 34-year-old mother of a young child, has sparked a bout of soul-searching and led to calls to toughen the way dangerous prisoners are dealt with.

The murder suspect, 39-year-old Fabrice Anthamatten, a Franco-Swiss citizen, was arrested on Sunday in Poland just over the border from Germany after a four-day international manhunt.

Swiss justice authorities are seeking his extradition in a process that could take three to four months.

Meantime, lurid details of Anthamatten’s past have leaked out in the Swiss media, while Morel’s parents divulged on French-language Swiss TV just how their daughter died.

“Police just told us she was tied to a tree with scotch tape and her throat was slashed cruelly,” Morel’s mother told RTS in an interview aired on Monday night.

“I wanted to know exactly how she died,” the mother said.

“I wanted to know everything, why he killed her, that will help me get through my mourning.”

The woman’s body was found in a wood near the horse riding centre in Bellevue, a municipality north east of the city of Geneva, where he was scheduled to have a session at an equestrian centre.

Quoting Morel’s mother, Le Matin newspaper reported that Anthamatten got permission to buy a knife for about 50 francs, ostensibly to clean horse shoes, before they went to the centre.

The therapy session was designed to “reintegrate” the convicted rapist back into society before he was released from prison.

But why was Anthamatten allowed out on an outing with just Morel as an escort?

Geneva’s government has ordered an investigation into what happened while critics denounce a system regarded as too lax with prisoners with violent records.

Anthamatten was serving two sentences totalling 20 years.

He was first convicted of raping a woman at knife-point in Geneva in 1999.

Then, while temporarily released from detention, he raped another women in a similar manner in neighbouring France in a community close to the Geneva border.

A woman has stepped forward to tell 20 MInutes newspaper that she had a three-month relationship with Anthamatten around 17 years ago, which she broke off after he threatened her with a knife.

Campaigners on Sunday called for a nationwide register of sex offenders amid the outrage that followed Morel’s death. 

Jacqueline de Quattro, cabinet minister in the canton of Vaud, called for stricter, more uniform regulations across Switzerland for the serving of prison sentences.

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