4 held in France after man beaten to death over game consoles

Four people, including a 15-year-old boy, were on Tuesday charged for beating a man to death over his alleged theft of video game consoles, a French prosecutor said.

The alarm was raised over the weekend by the mother of the 31-year-old victim, named as John, after she couldn’t contact him at his home, according to Michel Garrandaux, public prosecutor in the centre-west town of Poitiers.

A missing person alert was issued and the victim’s phone location records led them to the home in the town of Chatellerault.

The occupant had lodged a complaint against John in May, over a break-in in which he said video games and children’s game consoles were stolen.

On Sunday a woman who knew the suspects told police that they had been talking about killing a man and then burying him in a forest.

Police raided the house and arrested two men, the partner of one of them and a 15-year-old boy.

The men, aged 44 and 35, were known to police for previous theft, damage and drug offences.

The couple are suspected of kidnapping the victim, assaulting him then driving to their friend’s house where they strapped their victim to a chair and kicked and punched him, Garrandaux said. 

“They say they didn’t want to kill him, they just wanted to make him confess”, added the prosecutor.

The victim died on Saturday of head and chest injuries that led to his suffocation.

Two of the suspects are thought to have buried the body in a shallow grave in a forest 15 kilometres from the town. Police dug up the corpse on Monday.

The three adult suspects have been placed in provisional detention pending trial and the minor suspect, who is suspected of helping to clean up the crime scene, is to be held in safe custody.