The French government expressed shock on Tuesday after a tax inspector was stabbed to death while trying to audit a business owner’s books in the north of the country.
The murder victim, a 43-year-old tax official, was found dead on Monday, killed “most likely by repeated stabbing”, the prosecutor’s office in the northern French city of Arras said.
The suspected killer, a 46-year-old antiques dealer, was then believed to have killed himself with a firearm, it said.
The suspect, described by the local mayor as “an ordinary guy”, locked up the tax inspector and a female colleague during a tax audit of his business, it said.
“The republic is crying for one of its own,” said Budget Minister Gabriel Attal.
He said it was “outrageous” that a public servant was killed “doing his job”.
The inspector arrived on Monday afternoon at the antique dealer’s residence, along with a colleague, to check his accounts.
Attal said agents were usually sent on tax audit missions on their own, but this time there was backup because there had been tension during previous visits to the antique dealer’s business.
Prosecutors said the businessman tied them up and stabbed the inspector, leaving the colleague “horribly shocked” but otherwise unharmed, prosecutors said.
A union for tax officials said the case showed its members had a “potentially dangerous” job.
The dealer, a divorced father of two, moved four years ago to the village of Bullecourt, its mayor Eric Bianchin told AFP.
He bought a farm where he sold carpenters he picked up at auctions and yard sales around the area.
He was “an ordinary guy”, the mayor said, describing him as “helpful and well integrated into the village” by some
A neighbour, Geoffrey Fournier, described the suspected killer as “discreet” and “apparently hard-working”, whose business “seemed to be going OK”.