Nimes murder: Brit arrested in France after woman killed

Man from Kent said to live with his mother yards from where victim was murdered in 'cold blood'

LAST UPDATED AT 15:52 ON Tue 29 Jan 2013

A BRITISH man was today arrested by French police investigating the brutal murder of a mother-of-three on the outskirts of the southern city of Nimes. The 33-year-old victim, Joudia Zimmat, who was out jogging, had been so severely beaten that her face was said to be unrecognisable.

The unnamed suspect, aged 32, is said to have moved to Nimes, famous for its Roman amphitheatre, from Chatham in Kent. He is reported to live with his mother just a few hundred metres away from where Zimmat's body was discovered, AFP reported.

Deputy prosecutor Stephane Bertrand told journalists he matched the description of a man spotted at the scene of the murder. According to The Times, police are comparing his DNA with a sample found on Zimmat's body.

The victim was discovered next to a lane on the edge of the city last Thursday after her partner raised the alarm.

The "pretty and petite woman" of Tunisian background had recently moved to Nimes with her husband and children, aged three, six and nine. Police believe she had been sexually assaulted, beaten and stabbed, with one officer telling the Daily Mail she had been "slaughtered" adding "her face was unrecognisable." Another said: "The woman was attacked and then murdered in cold blood."

The suspect reportedly had marks on his hands that could have been caused by scratches in the woods near the lane where Zimmat was found.

A female neighbour described him as a "kind person" and a "very polite young man" who often walked his dog in the area. A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said today they were aware a British man had been arrested and were providing consular assistance. · 

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