The lawyer of a volunteer at a Gothic cathedral in western France’s Nantes city has stated he has confessed to setting the constructing on fireplace that severely broken its 17th-century organ and blew out stained glass.

The 39-year-old accused, an asylum seeker from Rwanda who has lived in France for a number of years, was arrested earlier this month after laboratory evaluation decided that arson was the seemingly reason for the blaze, the native prosecutor’s workplace stated.

“My client has cooperated,” lawyer Quentin Chabert instructed the Presse-Ocean newspaper on Sunday, with out elaborating on motives for making an attempt to burn down the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

“He bitterly regrets his actions … My client is consumed with remorse,” Chabert stated.

Prosecutors opened an arson inquiry after the early morning fireplace on July 18 after discovering that it broke out in three totally different locations within the church, which the volunteer had locked up the evening earlier than.

He was taken in for questioning the subsequent day however later launched with out cost, with the cathedral’s rector saying, “I trust him like I trust all the helpers.”

However Nantes prosecutor Pierre Sennes stated in an announcement he had been charged with “destruction and damage by fire” and faces as much as 10 years in jail and 150,000 euros ($175,000) in fines. 

“He admitted during his first appearance for questioning before the investigating judge that he set three fires in the cathedral: at the main organ, the smaller organ, and the electrical panel,” Sennes instructed Presse-Ocean on Sunday. 

Famed organ destroyed

The blaze got here 15 months after the devastating fireplace on the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, which raised questions concerning the safety dangers for different historic church buildings throughout France.

Whereas firefighters have been in a position to comprise the Nantes blaze after simply two hours and save the cathedral’s foremost construction, the famed organ, which dated from 1621 and had survived the French Revolution and World Warfare II bombardment, was destroyed.

Additionally misplaced have been priceless artefacts and work, together with a piece by the 19th-century artist Hippolyte Flandrin and stained glass home windows that contained remnants of 16th-century glass.

Work on the cathedral started in 1434 and continued over the next centuries till 1891.

It had already been broken by a extra severe fireplace in 1972, when officers added concrete reinforcements whereas redoing the roof over the subsequent 13 years.

The French authorities stated it’ll make sure the cathedral’s restoration, although few components of the primary organ are more likely to be saved, stated Philippe Charron, head of the regional DRAC state heritage company.

“It will take several weeks to secure the site … and several months of inspections that will be carried out stone by stone,” he stated.

Reconstruction will take a number of years, he stated.

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