Woman, 67, was strangled and kicked to death by neighbour in a BRUTAL murder

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A British pensioner’s dream retirement in a tiny French hamlet ended in her brutal murder after a psychotic neighbour brutally strangled and beat her to death, a court has heard.

Susan Higginbotham, 67, was found dead in September 2021 at her home in Esclottes, a village of just 150 people around 35 miles east of Bordeaux.

What Happened?

She had been attacked by her psychotic neighbour, Hichame Bahloul, who has now been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

The Lot-et-Garonne Assize Court heard that Higginbotham had been asking 42-year-old Bahloul for some sticking tape before he exploded and attacked her.

He told the court that he went over to her house on the day of the attack with some ‘cord’ which he used to strangle her, before punching and kicking her in the chest.

Bahloul Had Been in Special Care

Before the attack, Bahloul had spent almost half his life in psychiatric care.

But at the time, he had been back living with his parents in the same south-western village of Esclottes for six months.

The three-day trial worked to understand why Bahloul had carried out the attack.

‘Is this a crime of interest? Of substitution? Of opportunity?’ the prosecutor asked.

‘The need to attack others has been part of his life for years. He attacked many people during his various hospitalisations: patients or nursing staff.

‘He took pleasure in it,’ the prosecutor added.

As he listened to the prosecutor from a plexiglass cell inside the courtroom, Bahloul gasped before getting up and banging on the window with his fists, reports said.

His Admission

However, Bahloul himself admitted to attacking Ms Higginbotham.

During the trial, Bahloul said he attacked the British woman over his annoyance that she had asked him repeatedly for the sticking tape.

‘The story of the tape? It was a pretext to go to her house. I returned to her house with my cord and I strangled her,’ he said, according to reports in France.

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‘We fell, the rope fell. It broke. I took my fists and punched her in the face and kicked her in the chest to make sure she was dead.’

Ms Higginbotham was found by an acquaintance who went to check on her on the morning of September 14, 2021. 

At The Crime Scene

She was found lifeless in her house in Esclottes, on the border of the departments of Lot-et-Garonne and Gironde.

After initial clues pointed to her death involving a third party, a large emergency response was launched by French police in the normally peaceful region.

Within a few hours, Bahloul was identified as a suspect. He was arrested on September 15, 2021 at 7.55pm, the court was told.

An investigating officer said: ‘We carried out a first search, then the suspect leads investigators into the village, about a hundred meters from Susan Higginbotham’s house, where he hid the victim’s pink wallet. 

‘He gives us the clothes he wore on the day of the incident, covered in blood.’

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.

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