- The bodies were found in the quiet suburb of Mo on Monday evening
A French man accused of murdering his wife and four young children on Christmas Day was not charged with a previous knife attack on her because of his “fragile” mental health, it has been revealed.
Noe Bafania, 33, was arrested on Tuesday morning after his family was found dead in their apartment in Meaux, near Paris.
He has refused to speak to police since he was arrested early on Boxing Day morning in connection with the deaths of his Haitian-born wife, Beatrice, 35, and their two sons and two daughters.
The children, two of whom were stabbed multiple times with their mother, are aged 10, 7, 4 and 9 months.
A neighbor discovered their bodies after seeing blood on the front door handle of their apartment on Christmas Day, said Jean-Baptiste Bladier, a prosecutor in Mo.
He explained how the elder Paris-born Bafania was suspected of using a knife to kill three family members before either suffocating or drowning the youngest – the four-year-old boy and the baby.
Bafnia was captured on CCTV leaving his home on Monday evening and initially running to his own father’s home and then to his grandmother’s home.
Although Bafania was known for “domestic violence”, he had a clean criminal record, Mr Blaydieu said.
“He was involved in a procedure following the use of a knife at his home” in November 2019, the prosecutor explained.
Bafania had stabbed his wife in the shoulders, which meant she could not work for at least five days.
It later emerged that Bafania had locked his family in their apartment in Mo and told them “no one can leave” because he was depressed.
According to the prosecutor, Bafania waved his weapon in the air while saying he wanted to kill himself before stabbing his wife several times.
Bafania was briefly detained, but the case against him was dropped entirely in January 2020 due to his poor psychological state.
While Bafania now technically faces life in prison, he could still be declared too mentally ill to stand trial.
A neighbor of the family, who raised the alarm after the latest attack, said she last spoke to Beatrice Bafania on the phone at around 7pm on Sunday.
“She said she was waiting for her husband to return,” the witness said.
When the neighbor visited the family flat on Christmas Day, she found “blood on the front door handle” and called the police.
This neighbor described the mother-of-four as ‘very cheerful and very nice’, adding: ‘she was like a sister, always there for us, she lived for her family, her children and her husband.
“Her kids are friends with my kids, they’re in the same class at the same school.”
A “premeditated murder” investigation was launched following the grim discovery, with police chasing the children’s father, who was “on the run”.
The bodies were found in the quiet suburb of Meaux, 25 miles northeast of the French capital, on Monday night, police said.
“Five lifeless bodies were found – two boys and two girls – leading to an investigation into their murders,” local prosecutor Jean-Baptiste Bladier said on Tuesday.
“The main suspect is the father, aged thirty-three, who was found on Tuesday in a house nearby after running away.”
Geolocation data on his phone revealed the man had left the family flat at around 8.07pm on Christmas Day.
He then goes to nearby Sevrans to see his father and to his grandmother in Gorges les Gonnes.
The dead children – aged 10, 7, 4 and 9 months – were in the family apartment with their mother.
The bodies were discovered around 9:00 p.m., with the victims lying in the family apartment in Place Adam-de-la-Halle, according to reports in ACTU17.
“There was a very large number of stab wounds to both the front and back, to the body, to the lower and upper extremities, as well as defensive cuts,” Mr Bladier said.
“Two other victims, the four-year-old boy and the nine-month-old baby, had no visible wounds,” Mr Bladier said.
That led to the early theory that they died of drowning or suffocation, the prosecutor said.
The arrested man was already known for “domestic violence and suffering from mental disorders,” another investigative source said.
On Christmas Day, “around 9:00 p.m., the bodies of five people were found in an apartment located in Meaux, after the report was made by relatives concerned about the lack of response from the occupants of the premises,” prosecutor Jean-Baptiste said Bladier on Tuesday morning in a press release.
“There were no signs of a break-in in the apartment and the father of the family was gone. The latter is currently being sought by the police,” added the prosecutor.
The man is said to have been investigated in 2019 for acts of domestic violence, including a knife attack on his wife.
But the criminal case against him was dropped after he was declared “irresponsible due to his mental deficiency”, an investigative source said.
In 2017, he spent time in a psychiatric hospital and regularly took medication for his mental problems.
The Paris region has recently witnessed a series of child murders.
In late November, a 41-year-old man confessed to killing his three daughters, aged 4 to 11, and turned himself in.
Police found them dead at his home in the town of Alfortville, in the southeastern suburbs of the capital.
A month earlier, in October, a gendarmerie killed his three daughters before committing suicide at his home in Weimar in the Val d’Oise.