Police quiz man over murdered French students

LONDON Tue Jul 8, 2008 5:40pm BST

Gabriel Ferez and Laurent Bonomo (R) in a combination image. REUTERS/Handout

Gabriel Ferez and Laurent Bonomo (R) in a combination image.

Credit: Reuters/Handout

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LONDON (Reuters) - Police were given extra time to question a man on Tuesday in their widening probe into the brutal murder of two French students killed last week in a frenzied knife attack and then burned in a London apartment.

The 33-year-old man turned himself in on Monday but was taken to hospital to receive treatment for severe burns before questioning began. Detectives later said magistrates had granted them an extra 36 hours to quiz the suspect.

Bio-engineering students Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez, both 23, were bound, gagged and repeatedly stabbed in Bonomo's south London apartment. Police called it the most frenzied, brutal and horrific murder they have investigated.

Bonomo was stabbed nearly 200 times, with up to 80 of the wounds inflicted after he was dead. Ferez had nearly 50 knife wounds. The killer or killers then set fire to the apartment in an attempt to destroy evidence.

A man seen running away from the vicinity of the apartment on the night of the murders has been described by witnesses as white, aged between 30 and 40.

A statement from Scotland Yard said no one had been charged and police "do not know how many suspects may be involved".

A laptop computer was stolen from the flat six days before the murders and Bonomo, who was taking a shower, disturbed the intruder. Police at the weekend arrested a 21-year-old, but later released him without charge.

French newspapers said the murders highlighted how dangerous London has become. Police in the capital have arrested more than 1,200 people and seized more than 500 knives in a six-week crackdown against stabbings and knife crime.

(Reporting by John Joseph and Michael Holden; writing by Luke Baker; editing by Douglas Hamilton)

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