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Lyon shooting: Suspect admits attacking priest ‘over affair’

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image copyrightReuters

image captionPolice cordoned off parts of the city after the attack on Saturday

A suspect has admitted to the shooting of a Greek Orthodox priest in the French city of Lyon last week over a personal dispute, prosecutors have said.

The 40-year-old suspect told prosecutors the priest was having an affair with his wife.

The priest, Nikolaos Kakavelakis, 52, was shot twice with a sawn-off shotgun outside his church on 31 October.

He spoke to police after coming out of a coma on Wednesday.

It was initially feared to be a copycat of what French President Emmanuel Macron called an “Islamist terrorist attack” in Nice.

The motive for the shooting in Lyon was not clear at first, with officials opening an investigation for attempted murder.

But the investigation progressed this week when the priest was able to talk to the police.

The suspect, who is said to be of Georgian nationality, was arrested at his home in Lyon on Friday, French newspaper Le Parisien reported.

image copyrightEPA

image captionThe shooting happened when the priest was closing his church

The newspaper, citing a statement from Lyon’s public prosecutor, Nicolas Jacquet, said the suspect “turns out to be the husband of a woman who was having an affair with the victim”.

The suspect told prosecutors he had not intended to kill the priest, who was romantically involved with his wife, a 35-year-old Russian, the newspaper said.

The priest, who is recovering after surgery, had announced his resignation from the church a month earlier.

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