French pair jailed for Israel hit-and-run death

A Frenchman who killed a young Israeli woman in a hit-and-run accident in Tel Aviv and immediately fled the country, sparking huge outrage, has been sentenced to five years in jail.

French pair jailed for Israel hit-and-run death
Frenchman Eric Robic (left) was jailed for five years for killing an Israeli woman in a hit and run accident. Photo: AFP

Eric Robic, (pictured) who confessed to being behind the wheel at the time of the 2011 tragedy, was sentenced by a Paris court to five years behind bars while his passenger, Claude Khayat, was sentenced to 15 months late Wednesday.

Both were accused of causing the death of Lee Zeitouni, a 25-year-old pilates instructor who was crossing the road to get to work the morning of September 16, 2011, when she was hit by the 4X4 driven by Robic.

Witnesses said the car was travelling at approximately 100 kilometres per hour (62 miles per hour) in a zone where the maximum speed limit was half that.

The two men had just left a nightclub where they drank alcohol, according to witnesses.

They did not stop after the accident but immediately fled to France, prompting a huge outcry in Israel.

Pressure mounted on France to return the men to Israel to face trial, but France does not extradite its citizens outside the European Union.

Then French president Nicolas Sarkozy vowed the family would get justice if a trial took place in France but stood firm against extradition, sparking a diplomatic spat with Tel Aviv.

Robic testified in court that he had drunk vodka and whisky that night and was driving above the speed limit.

He said he never saw the victim coming because his view was obscured by a truck but he felt the shock and "saw the body flying" in his rearview mirror.

Co-defendant Khayat said he was a "coward" for fleeing the scene. "But I was afraid," he told the court.

Both men have apologised to the victim's family.

Prosecutor Henry Guyomar described their escape to France as an "act of cowardice and of huge concealment."

He added that while Robic was the driver, Khayat was also "fully conscious of the risk involved in letting Robic drive."

The victim's parents, who were in tears, nade no comment on the verdict but her fiance Roy Peled said he was "satisfied" with the sentence.

The closely-watched trial was unexpectedly interrupted last week when an unidentified man punched defence lawyer Regis Meliodon in the face during a break in proceedings and then fled, underscoring the strong emotions surrounding the tragedy.

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Violent incident in Odense culminates in hit-and-run

One person was deliberately run over with a car after a fight involving several people in Odense, witnesses said on Sunday night.

Violent incident in Odense culminates in hit-and-run
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Police in the city found a white Mercedes with damage and bloodstains following the altercation.

Witnesses said that one person was deliberately driven into following a fistfight involving several people, lead officer Ehm Christensen of Funen Police said according to Ritzau.

“We received a report at 7:05pm regarding a large fight between two groups at Korsløkkehaven (street), but when we arrived, nobody was there,” Christensen said.

“Ten minutes later, we received a report that three cars had crashed into each other and one person had been deliberately run over,” the police officer added.

The three cars were found by police parked on the central Heltzensgade street, while a fourth car, a white Mercedes believed to have been used to run down the victim, could not be located.

None of the individuals involved, including the person who had been run over, could initially be located by police.

But the Mercedes was later found on Ørstedsgade, to the west of the city centre, showing damage and traces of blood.

Police are now investigating the incident, including examination of all three streets in Odense, Denmark’s third-largest city.

No confirmation has been given by police regarding whether the incident may have involved organised crime gangs.

On Monday morning, Christensen said that three people had been arrested in “various parts of the city” during Sunday night. He declined to comment further on the individuals.

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