Sid Ahmed Rezala
Sid Ahmed Rezala
|Born||May 13, 1979
|Died||June 28, 2000(2000-06-28) (aged 21)
|Cause of death||Suicide|
|Other names||"The Killer of the Trains"|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (178 cm)|
Nadia ( m. 1997)
|Children||1 daughter (b. 1998)|
Span of crimes
|October 13, 1999–December 14, 1999|
|January 11, 2000|
Sid Ahmed Rezala (May 13, 1979 – June 28, 2000) was an Algerian-born French serial killer, dubbed "The Killer of the Trains". He was suspected of killing at least three women in 1999. Arrested in Portugal in early 2000, he confessed his murders to a reporter from the Figaro Magazine. Several weeks after, he committed suicide before he could be extradited to France. He was asphyxiated by intentionally setting fire to the mattress in his cell while his prison guards watched football on TV.
Born in Algeria, Sid Ahmed Rezala moved with his parents, brothers and sister to the southern French port of Marseille in 1994. Within weeks of registering at a Marseille high school, he began playing truant and mixing with petty criminals and drug dealers around the Marseille St Charles Train Station, and riding on trains. In early 1995, three months before his 16th birthday, Rezala was arrested for the rape of a 14-year-old boy. On December 7, 1995, the 16-year-old rapist was sentenced in juvenile court to four years imprisonment. He was released in late 1996 after 18 months in prison.
French police launched a massive manhunt for Sid Ahmed Rezala in December 1999 after the murder of British student Isabel Peake who was thrown from a train, and the subsequent killings of a 36-year-old French mother and a one-time girlfriend. Having fled to the Portuguese capital via Spain, Rezala made a phone call to his girlfriend from a public call box – unaware that investigators in France had tapped her phone. On January 11, 2000, Rezala's hiding place was snuffed out by Portuguese police, who arrested the man in Barreiro, south of Lisbon. He had been staying in Almada with friends of a Spanish acquaintance and was planning to leave within 24 hours for Spain's Canary Islands.
On June 28, 2000, the 21-year-old Rezala, who confessed to killing three women, killed himself by setting fire to his cell in the psychiatric wing of the Caxias Prison Hospital near Lisbon where he was being held awaiting extradition to France to face trial for the murder of three women.
Rezala is suspected of murdering at least these three women:
Isabel Peake, a 20-year-old English student at Limoges university, who was waiting at Limoges station for a train to Paris on her way home to Barlaston, Staffordshire. On 13 October 1999, she boarded the train to Paris, on her way home for a visit. Her body was found the next day by a local farmer who discovered her partially-clothed and dismembered corpse, and her baggage was found strewn along the line. Before dawn, police think she was pushed from the train as it travelled at about 125km/h (78mph) through the disused station at Chabenet, central France, possibly after a sexual assault.
Émilie Bazin, a 20-year-old student, was found strangled in a house in Amiens, northern France. On December 17, 1999, her decomposed body was discovered by police, two months after her death, buried beneath a heap of coal in a cellar in Amiens. Traces of Rezala's DNA were found on her body.
On December 14, 1999, Corinne Caillaux, 36, was stabbed to death in the lavatory of a Calais to Ventimiglia overnight train while her infant son slept in a carriage. Guards found her slumped in a pool of blood in a train toilet. She had been stabbed at least 13 times while her 6-year-old son lay sleeping, and died later from her injuries. The inspectors found a blood-soaked baseball hat close to her body. Rezala was wearing a similar cap when he was found travelling without a ticket about two hours earlier, on the journey from Calais to Ventimiglia on the Italian frontier. DNA tests are being conducted on hairs found in the hat. Police have records of Rezala's DNA taken after earlier crimes.