Husband of murdered French policeman says he ‘lived like a star’

The husband of the French policeman who was shot dead last week has opened up about his “extreme and profound pain”.

Xavier Jugele, 37, was murdered on Thursday while on duty on Champs Elysees avenue, in an attack which has since been claimed by so-called Islamic State.

The murderer, 39-year-old Karim Cheurfi, was killed at the scene. He had served more than 12 years in prison for shooting at police officers and was being investigated by intelligence service at the time.

Jugele’s husband, Etienne Cardiles, spoke about his murdered husband today at a remembrance ceremony led by President Francois Hollande at Paris police headquarters.

In front of hundreds of mourners including presidential candidates Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, Cardiles described his husband as a lover of music and theatre, and “a man full of culture and joy”.

Jugele was one of the first responders after the attack on the Bataclan theatre in November 2015, where gunmen loyal to so-called IS killed 90 people.

And Cardiles repeated the quote coined by Antoine Leiris, who lost his wife during that terror attack and said: “You will not have my hatred.”

In an emotional, moving speech, Cardiles told the crowd: “I’m suffering without hate.

“When I first got messages saying something had happened on the Champs Elysees, and that a policeman had died, a small voice told me it was you, and brought back to me that generous and healing phrase: ‘You will not have my hatred.’

“I don’t feel hatred, Xavier, because it is not like you – because it does not correspond to anything that made your heart beat, nor why you entered the police force.

“Because public service, helping others and protecting everyone was part of your education and your convictions – and tolerance, dialogue and patience.”

Cardiles spoke lovingly, intimately and directly to Jugele, recalling how “going to the cinema to watch five films on a sunny August day would not make you blink.

“Your favourite stars were Celine Dion, (French singer) Zazie, Madonna, Britney Spears and so many others who made our windows rattle.

“Theatre transported you to another world, where you lived fully.

“You would shy away from no cultural activity,” he added.

“You would see the very worst films the day they came out, right to the end, no matter how bad they were.

“A life of joy and laughter, in which love and tolerance were your uncontested masters.

“You lived like a star, and leave like a star.”