A French man is accused of stabbing his neighbour to death after the victim’s music ‘disturbed’ a game of Scrabble.
‘Benjamin C’, 41, is accused of killing victim Romane, 21, a student who lived downstairs, after she invited a small group of friends over to chat and play cards at the end of the first lockdowns in Lyon on 16 May 2020.
Concerned about the noise, which police and neighbours say was not very loud, Benjamin interrupted his game to go and knock on the door. He is understood to have pulled a knife and stabbed Romane in the femoral artery, leaving her to bleed out on the floor. Romane died in the hospital two days later.
As the man entered the flat brandishing a knife, Romane said ‘you’re crazy’.
Her friends, who had joined Romane as France opened up from its initial strict lockdowns, chased the man away from the apartment, threatening him with a stool. Officers arrived to find the man had calmly resumed his game of online Scrabble.
Lawyers said the defendant was disturbed by the noise as his poor eyesight had made his hearing more sensitive.
He coolly asked police ‘how is she?’ when prompted. The accused is pleading not guilty to intentional murder as he ‘didn’t realise he had wounded anyone’ due to his eyesight.
Lawyers claim he only intended to scare the victim.
Court psychologists said the man was not suffering from a mental illness that might provoke such a reaction but had instead expelled a build-up of tension. The accused claims he had sent multiple letters to the trustee of the building, demanding his younger neighbour’s lease be terminated and even offering to pay to speed up the process.
He said he had called four times to urge the process along without progress before exploding.