Man charged over jealous 'revenge' priest shooting in France

Lyon (AFP) –


A man who shot a Greek Orthodox priest last month in the French city of Lyon has been charged with attempted murder after admitting he acted out of jealousy because his wife was having an affair with the cleric, prosecutors said.

The 40-year-old Georgian national was arrested on Friday together with his wife, a Russian about 10 years his junior, and charged late Sunday.

His wife was released without charges at the weekend, according to the Lyon prosecutor, Nicolas Jacquet.

The shooting had initially raised fears of a new act of terror in France against a Christian target after coming on the heels of a spate of deadly attacks in the last weeks blamed on radical Islamists.

But the investigation has shown that the motives of the attacker in Lyon were quite different.

Prosecutors said the suspect "turns out to be the husband of a woman who was having an affair with the victim".

The man admitted shooting the priest and told police that he had wanted revenge.

However he claimed that he had only wanted to injure his rival, not kill him, the prosecutor said.

The 52-year-old priest, Nikolaos Kakavelakis, a married Greek national, had been holding services in the Lyon Orthodox church for the past decade.

He was shot on October 31 as he was locking the doors of the church, with two blasts from a sawn-off shotgun seriously wounding him in the abdomen.

Parts of the weapon have been recovered with the help of the suspect, the prosecutor said.

The victim himself led police to the jealousy motive when he identified his attacker after emerging from a coma.

The attack on the priest, which came two days after a deadly stabbing rampage in a church in the southern city of Nice, was at first feared to have possibly been another terror attack.

But investigators quickly determined that they were not dealing with any ideological motive, but a straightforward criminal case.