France 'HR Killer' Has Life Sentence Upheld

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AFP

Grenoble, France: A French court on Tuesday upheld a life sentence for a man convicted for fatally shooting three women he blamed for ruining his career.

In 2021, unemployed French engineer Gabriel Fortin killed two human resources directors and a job centre employee, and attempted to kill a company executive, following a string of dismissals.

The bloody rampage shocked France, where such killing sprees are rare.

In 2023, the man dubbed the "HR killer" was given a life sentence.

A court in the southeastern city of Valence found him guilty of murder and attempted murder and recommended he serve a minimum sentence of 22 years.

Fortin, 49, challenged his sentence but has not attended most of the appeal trial that began on May 13 at the Isere criminal court, also in southeastern France.

The Isere court on Tuesday found that his judgement had been impaired at the time of the crimes, but decided not to reduce his sentence.

Fortin was not present for the ruling.

Public prosecutor Bernard Simier had asked the court to uphold the initial sentence, saying Fortin was "extremely dangerous" due to his "total lack of empathy towards his victims" and refusal to seek treatment.

During the trial in 2023, Fortin claimed he had been a victim of spying and conspiracies that led to him being dismissed from jobs.

The jury at the time found that mental disorder had impaired his judgement, but did not reduce the sentence.

'Errors of judgement'

Fortin said at the start of the appeal trial he had "nothing to say" and was leaving it to his lawyers to represent him.

His lawyer Bertrand Sayn said Fortin was "ill" and "haunted by his errors of judgement."

Fortin's life has been transformed into "hell", he said.

Sayn added that his client believed he was a victim of conspiracies, but "to say that he will do it again when he gets out is false".

Laurence Buisson, the lawyer for the sole survivor of the attacks, Bertrand Meichel, asked that the accused be "definitively and irrevocably excluded from society".

Investigators, who have studied thousands of pages of notes found at Fortin's home, suspect that he may have targeted several other people had he not been arrested.

He targeted the victims at their workplaces or homes after associating them with his being fired or his inability to find another job.

He fatally shot HR manager and mother-of-two Estelle Luce in the car park of her company in the Haut-Rhin region of eastern France on January 26, 2021.

Meichel, an executive who had been involved in firing Fortin, was shot and wounded the same day at his home.

Two days later, Fortin gunned down Patricia Pasquion, an executive at France's national employment agency in Valence, and Geraldine Caclin, the head of human resources at the firm Faun Environment.


The Peninsula

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