Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023


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Wife of ‘gunman who killed Brit schoolgirl’ angrily yells ‘leave me in peace’

3 min read

Moment Mirror confronts alleged gunman’s wife

The wife of the alleged murderer Dirk Raats has been captured on camera at their residence in rural France, as her husband faces charges of murder. Marlene Van Hook, aged 69, spent the day taking care of their farmhouse in the tranquil village of Saint-Herbot, situated in Brittany.

When approached by The Mirror for a statement, she responded angrily, expressing her desire to be left alone by exclaiming “Leave me in peace [go away]” in French, followed by a brief “No comment” in English.

Following the brutal shooting incident involving 11-year-old schoolgirl Solaine Thornton, both Marlene and her husband Dirk, aged 71, were arrested on Saturday night.

Dirk Raats has been formally accused of murdering Solaine and attempting to murder her parents, Adrian and Rachael Thornton.

Neighbour Raats, 71, allegedly shot little Solaine while she was on her garden swing in northern France.

It is also alleged that Raats severely wounded her parents Adrian and Rachael Thornton, aged 52 and 49.

The pair remain in intensive care in Brest with Mr Thornton’s condition described as “critical”, and Mrs Thornton’s “stable”.

Little sister Celeste Thornton, eight, who raised the alarm is also in hospital, and under heavy sedation.

Van Hook was arrested and charged with trying to conceal two weapons following the horrific shooting, after which she allegedly barricaded herself in her house with her husband.

She was released yesterday and today was seen going about her daily chores on their land just moments after a large team of investigators had searched the property.

After refusing to speak she sped off in the green Landrover her husband was often seen in driving through the village.

Neighbours in the village have claimed Raats was said to be furious that the Thorntons, who are originally from the Manchester area, had cleared the land of oak trees to install play equipment including swings.

Villagers added that the Thornton family may now never return to their idyllic home after the horror shooting.

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France: Brittany property where British girl was shot dead

But a friend and neighbour in the small town told The Mirror how villagers were already rallying round for little Celeste.

The friend, who did not want to be named, said: “They have spent so much time working on that house, it is absurd someone trying to make their house look better could trigger someone to such a degree that he would try and kill them and tragic they may never want to go back there again.”

A close friend of the family, who has been acquainted with them since 2019, expressed profound sadness over the tragic incident, stating that everyone in the community is devastated. As many people in the village have children themselves, the incident strikes a deep chord, as children should be able to play in their own gardens without the fear of violence.

The parents in the neighbourhood have come together to support each other and brainstorm ways to provide assistance to the affected family during this difficult time.

The village is typically considered a safe haven, reminiscent of how Britain was several decades ago, where neighbours freely interact and children can play outdoors without constant worry.

The friend mentioned their own three-year-old daughter, who roams freely and visits neighbours, emphasizing the normalcy and security of the village.

They expressed solidarity with the injured family, stating that once they are released from the hospital, they will require support in various ways, and the community is committed to offering help and assistance.

It has been reported that tensions began to escalate approximately three years ago when Raats expressed concerns about his privacy being compromised. Allegedly, during that time, he pointed a weapon at the Thorntons in a dispute.

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