A French farmer killed his wife’s lover after chasing him across fields in his tractor and mowing him down.
Claude Boutevillain, 51, a farmer in the Meuse, eastern France, was reportedly driven mad by his wife Josette’s decision to leave him for the local butcher, 48-year-old Jean-Michel Allemeersch.
The crime of passion, allegedly committed on Friday evening, has struck a chord in a country with more than 500,000 farms.
Witnesses watched helplessly as Mr Boutevillain allegedly pursued his rival across fields, first ramming the butcher’s meat van.
“We shouted to Mr Boutevillain to stop,” Laurence Oudinot told regional daily L’Est Republicain. “My husband phoned the fire brigade while the neighbour phoned the gendarmes.
“The tractor ended up hitting the vehicle, which rolled over several times.”
Mr Allemeersch managed to wrench himself from his mangled vehicle and continued his escape on foot, but the tractor soon caught up with him as he hobbled round his van across the corn stubble. Once in range, the tractor’s articulated arm hit the butcher with full force on the head, killing him instantly.
The farmer has been arrested and faces charges of voluntary homicide, which carry a life sentence.
Versions of what drove Mr Boutevillain to commit such an act differ, but the local mayor, Francis Legrand, said the farmer felt harassed by his rival. He had thrown stones at his home, threatened him with an iron bar and hooted in front of his farm to provoke him.
“It obsessed him,” said Mr Legrand. “That could explain, without justifying it, why he lost the plot.”
The Daily Telegraph, London