Slain prison therapist’s funeral draws crowd

Slain prison therapist’s funeral draws crowd
Avusy church where mourners paid their respects to murder victim Adeline Morel. Photo: ECR-Genève
The village church in the canton of Geneva was too small to accommodate an overflow crowd of around 500 people attending the funeral for Adeline Morel, the prison therapist brutally murdered on September 13th in a case that has shaken Switzerland.

Loud speakers and benches were placed outside the Avusy church, in a rural area west of the city of Geneva, to allow everyone to follow the memorial service for Morel, 34.

Her throat was slashed in a wood on the other side of the canton after she accompanied convicted rapist Fabrice Anthamatten, 39, for what was supposed to be a day of therapy at a horse riding centre in Bellevue, a municipality northeast of Geneva.

The pair never arrived at the equestrian centre.

Anthamatten was arrested four days later near the Polish-German border after an international manhunt.

He is now the subject of an extradition request by authorities in Switzerland, where he is suspected of murder.

The case has raised questions about why a dangerous criminal was allowed out of prison with a woman as the sole escort.

Morel, a sociotherapist and criminologist, worked for La Pâquerette, a sociotherapy centre in Geneva’s Champ-Dollon prison, where inmates receive therapy to prepare them to reintegrate into society.

The centre is linked to Geneva’s hospital system.

Earlier on Monday, around 100 of Morel’s colleagues paid tribute to her at a ceremony in the park outside the Trois-Chêne hospital.

“Adeline knew how to cultivate friendship so much that we are so numerous today,” said the priest in the church in Avusy, where Morel grew up, Le Matin reported.

“She had this goodness and the force of the love for others in her.”

Morel leaves behind an eight-month-old daughter.

In Bern, Swiss Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said the government was upset by Morel’s death.

The government is following closely the analysis of what happened in her case, she said, the ATS news service reported.

Sommaruga noted that overseeing sentences is the jurisdiction of the cantons.

But Bern has commissioned a report, expected in the first quarter of 2014, into the management of the execution of sentences and other penalties in Switzerland, she said.

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