Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame, 44, had his throat repeatedly cut before being shot in the head during the French terror attack
The hero policeman who died after swapping himself for a hostage during the French terror attack had his throat repeatedly slashed and was shot in the head, an autopsy has revealed.
Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame, 44, succumbed to the knife wounds before being shot with a 7.65mm pistol by terrorists Radouane Lakdim, 26, inside a supermarket in the town of Trebes on Friday.
His own 9mm handgun lay close to the body, the autopsy notes, suggesting he was killed after the terrorist found it.
Lt Col Beltrame, who has been posthumously declared a national hero, was one of four people killed around the South West town of Carcassonne last Friday.
Until now, it was thought that the gendarme had been unarmed as he took the place of a 40-year-old check-out assistant identified only as Julie, who was being used as a human shield.
Julie, who has a two-year-old child, managed to get out of the supermarket, and has since credited Lt Col Beltrame with ‘saving my life’.
Lt Col Beltrame died after swapping places with a hostage at the Super U supermarket in Trebes on Friday (pictured, tributes outside the police station where he worked)
Beltrame’s body was found close to his own 9mm service pistol, suggesting terrorist Radouane Lakdim found the weapon before killing him
Special forces police outside could hear what was going on, because Lt Col Beltrame had left his phone connected to a colleague.
When the officers stormed in and killed Lakdim, they also found the dead bodies of shopper Herve Sosna, 65, and Christian Medves, a 50-year-old supermarket butcher.
Earlier, Ladkim had murdered 60-year-old Jean Mazieres, while hijacking a car after shooting at off-duty police officers out running.
Lakdim’s former girlfriend, 18, is in custody with another male friend, 17, and both face terrorist charges in connection with the attacks.
The girlfriend, who has not been named, was – like Lakdim – subject to a Security-S file, meaning she was considered a danger to national security.
French President Emmanuel Macron declared Beltrame, who leaves behind a wife, a ‘national hero’ following the attack on Friday last week
Despite such concerns, Ladkim was not under surveillance while living at home with his parents and younger sisters in a council flat in Carcassonne.
On the morning of the attack, he had taken one of his siblings to school.
French president Emmanuel Macron has declared Lt Col Beltrame a ‘national hero’, saying he sacrificed himself for others.
Lt Col Beltrame died from his wounds in hospital on Saturday morning, shortly after being religiously married to his partner, Marielle Vandenbunder-Beltrame, a 39-year-old vet.
The couple – both devout Roman Catholics – were wed in a town hall in 2016, but had been preparing for a Church wedding in June.