Tuesday, November 18, 2014

France: Briton John Napoletani, 50, Potentially Murdered in Budget Accommodations in Dole

According to the UK-based The Telegraph, the wife of a British man who was found lying dead in a pool of blood outside a French roadside hotel has said she is living a "nightmare."

The 50-year-old Briton, named by a local newspaper as John Napoletani, left the hotel late on Saturday after drinking wine with his wife and other guests at tables just outside the front door. 

John Napoletani failed to return, but his wife, Evelyn Napoletani, only noticed his absence on Sunday morning at around 0800 hours and promptly went looking for him.

"I am devastated," she told The Telegraph. "It's like a nightmare. I keep thinking I am going to wake up and it's all been a bad dream."

Evelyn Napoletani is being supported by staff from the British Embassy in Paris, while family members have traveled from the UK to be with her. 

"We were driving back home from a holiday in Italy," explained Evelyn. "And we just stopped off here for the night."

Police believe that the tourist was murdered, but say they have yet to identify a suspect. He was found dead with a wound to the head, in the car park of a discount clothing store just yards from the hotel. 

The victim, his wife and a male friend were traveling in a red Renault Espace and had stopped for the night in a budget Formule 1 hotel in the Epenottes industrial estate in Dole, a town in the Jura region of France that borders Switzerland. 

They rented a first floor room with a double bed and a single bed. 

Police have not released the Briton's name, but Le Progrès newspaper on Tuesday identified him as John Napoletani, who it said was originally from Colchester in Essex. 

The manager of the store near where John's body was found told The Telegraph that police had examined the CCTV surveillance tapes from a camera focused on the car park, but they showed no one arriving or leaving on Saturday night. 

The area where the hotel is situated--an industrial estate of warehouses and discount stores that is deserted on the weekend--is a few kilometers from the motorway that leads south towards Switzerland and north towards Paris and the English Channel. 

COMMENT: “We are treating the death as suspicious,” prosecutor Elsa Beurton said, adding that no murder weapon had been found. She said it was not yet clear what had caused the wound to the man’s head--nor whether it was the cause of death. 

An autopsy is scheduled

Police said the victim’s personal items had not been stolen, suggesting that it did not appear to be a case of a mugging. They said violent crime was rare in Dole, a quiet town of around 25,000 people that is best known as the birthplace of the French chemist and biologist Louis Pasteur. 

An autopsy had been scheduled for Monday, but was postponed until Tuesday, and would be conducted at the nearby city of Besançon, the prosecutor said. 

Hotel workers said the three Britons had been drinking with a German couple and other guests at the tables arranged in front of the hotel, where rooms cost 30 euros a night. 

The trio were staying at the Formule 1 hotel in Dole 
The woman then left to look for her husband. 

LE PROGRÉS said that the man accompanying the Napoletanis had on Sunday been taken by police to a local hospital suffering from a hangover.

Police spent Sunday questioning roughly 20 people who had been staying in the hotel on the outskirts of Dole. They had to bring in interpreters to help them question the German and Romanian guests. 

Two years ago the British al-Hilli Family was gunned down in a remote forest layby near Lake Annecy in the French Alps, about 250 kilometers from Dole. 

British and French police have failed to identify John Napoletani's assailant.

This report will be updated as new information becomes available.

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