A woman in France screamed and cradled her dying daughter in her arms after their Dutch neighbour opened fire, as per the residents in the area who spoke to The Telegraph. Solaine Thornton was shot dead while playing in the garden of her home in France on Saturday. The incident took place at 10pm (local time) in the village of Saint-Herbot, near Brittany in France, in which the parents of the 11-year-old were shot too. While the girl’s father Adrian is in critical condition in the hospital, her mother is stable.
“Adrian was shouting as well – injured but conscious – but the mother understood it was too late for her daughter. There were no words, just screams,” Pierre Leroy, a family friend, told The Telegraph.
Solaine’s younger sister, eight-year-old Celeste, was the only one who was not shot and raised an alarm. She reached the house of Mr Leroy, screaming that her family has been “shot”.
When Mr Leroy reached the house of his neighbours, he saw the mother “cradling” Solaine in her arms and “screaming”.
Dutch national Dirk Raats has been charged with murder. The wife of the 71-year-old has been charged with attempting to hide two weapons.
Prosecutor Camille Miansoni said Raats and his wife “blamed their British neighbours for work on the garden, and for repeated and increasingly unbearable noise pollution”.
She also said that they tested positive for alcohol and cannabis at the time of their arrest.
Raats told investigators that while he targeted her parents, he may not have intended to kill the schoolgirl, according to The Telegraph.
Other people living in the area said Raats had previously threatened the family with a rifle, as per Independent.
“The two families were always arguing, and the rifle escalated matters, but nobody ever believed that he would use it,” said a resident, who has not been named.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said they are providing consular assistance to the British family and are in touch with local authorities, the outlet further said.