British pensioner beaten to death while staying at her 'dream home' in France

British pensioner beaten to death while staying at her 'dream home' in France

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GB News
George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 15/03/2024

- 11:23

Friends and family of Susan Higginbotham who was attacked by a schizophrenic neighbour

A man who beat British pensioner in her "dream retirement home" in France has been jailed for life.

Susan Higginbotham, 67, was found dead at her house in Esclottes, a rural village 35 miles east of Bordeaux, in September 2021.

Her 42-year-old neighbour, Hichame Bahloul confessed to the murder and asked his lawyer to request the maximum sentence, telling the court he would kill again if ever released.

The Lot-et-Garonne assize court heard that he lost his temper after Higginbotham asked to borrow some sticking tape. However, he later changed his story that he killed her because he wanted to go to prison to get away from his family.

\u200bSusan Higginbotham, 67,was found dead at her home in France

Susan Higginbotham, 67,was found dead at her home in France

Bahloul, who has spent half his life in psychiatric care, had been living with his parents in the village and would sometimes exchange pleasantries with Higginbotham.

He said: "The story of the tape? It was a pretext to go to her house. I returned with my cord and I strangled her. We fell, the rope fell. It broke. I punched her in the face and kicked her in the chest to make sure she was dead."

The prosecutor told the court : "The need to attack others has been part of his life for years. He attacked many people during his various hospitalisations, patients and nursing staff. He took pleasure in it."

It was also heard that Bahloul reportedly suffers from several psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia. A psychiatric report submitted to the court described him as "prone to psychotic disturbances, combined with a schizophrenic condition" and said that he seemed incapable of feeling guilt.


Esclottes sign

The incident took place in the village of Esclottes

Google Maps

Bahloul’s lawyer said: "I have a client who feels safe in prison and wants to stay there. He struggles with freedom."

Bahloul was identified as a suspect soon after Higginbotham’s body was found by an acquaintance who went to check on her and was arrested the next day.

Higginbotham lived in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire and worked as a finance director and then as a company representative before moving to France.

One of her friends, who travelled from the UK to testify, told the court: "Sue was a very pleasant person, she took care of people a lot, and was very open.

"She had had a successful career, as a financial director, then as a company representative; she had worked very hard."

She added: "She really wanted to be happy in France when she moved in 2016, and I think she was. She was living her dream. She was funny. I miss her a lot."

The state prosecutor demanded a life sentence after Bahloul told the court: “If you let me out, I’ll do it again.”

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