Suspected murderer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

A 21-year-old suspected murderer escaped from a psychiatric hospital in southwest France. The same treatment center was criticized before for poor security when two caregivers were killed months ago.

The 21-year-old patient, whose name was not released, assaulted two male nurses and fled the Pau psychiatric hospital early Tuesday, judicial officials said. He had been treated there since May, when he was accused in the killing of a Pau shopkeeper.

In December, the hospital was the scene of two grisly murders that prompted calls for tighter hospital security.

On Dec. 18, a nurse was found decapitated, with her head placed on a TV set. Her aide was also killed, her throat slit.

Police later arrested a former patient at the hospital, finding a sword and photos of decapitated women during a search of his home. Authorities said the man confessed to the killings, the AP reports.

Concepcion Gomez, a representative of the Communist-backed CGT union, said staffing at the hospital had not been increased despite efforts to boost security. She also said the center was not equipped to handle violent patients.

"Our colleagues and our patients have been put in danger," she said.

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