Death of Martin Aramburu: The Chilling Story of a Witness to the Battle

A moving and horrifying testimony. Witnessed to the murder of Federico Martin Aramburu, shot to death on March 19, a man returned to L’Equipe this Wednesday, following the fight that led to the death of the former rugby player at the age of 42.

The tragedy occurred early in the morning on the streets of the capital’s 6th arrondissement. At about 6 a.m., Martin Arumburu was sitting on the terrace of an establishment on rue Mabillon next to his friend and former Biarritz Olympique teammate Shaun Hegarty.

According to the lawyers’ account, the two men would have come to the aid of a third person who had just been sent away by three other persons, including prime suspect Loïc Le Priol, to whom he had just asked for a fire. A brawl would then have broken out, described as “hyperviolent”.

“I hear a man – whom I identify today as Le Priol – yelling, but really yelling, insulting and always in the direction of one and the same person, who I do not know at the time who it is,” he confided to the man who was grassy near the scene and who was awakened by the screaming. “Despite the hour, there are many people standing at the windows, which testifies to the violence of the scene. It’s so violent, determined and the guy on the ground doesn’t react that much that I tell myself for a split second that he must have screwed up and that he’s ‘accepting’ to get a spanking,” he said -he adds.

Martin Aramburu would not have tried to take revenge and seek justice. “Aramburu was caught, but he never returned the blows. He was straight. He and Shaun must have said to themselves, “We ran into two idiots, they’re in their twenties, they’re drunk – it must’ve happened to them twenty times in their lives – come on, let’s break up, we’re back to the hotel!’” said the witness.

For his part, Loïc Le Priol seemed more determined to fight it out. “He tries to go back, he keeps yelling insults, but he’s stopped by someone I don’t know. I’m convinced that if he could have gone back, he would have gone back. I think if he’d hit him with his fists could have killed him, he would have killed him with his fists,” the man said.

Six shots from very close range

And once outside the establishment he even tried to get something out of his pocket. “At one point, the two boys (the suspects, editor’s note) were pushed back into rue de Buci. There I remember seeing a man holding Le Priol and trying to get something out of his pocket several times! I wanted to scream, I didn’t. I said to myself, ‘they’ll take me for a psychopath’. I told myself it’s a knife at worst. Combat, I’ve seen some but this is weird, it’s the first time I felt like it could go any further. He (the alleged perpetrator) seemed so determined. No one seemed able to calm him down,” the witness added.

Shaun Hegarty and Federico Martin Aramburu nevertheless managed to escape and go to a hotel, where they asked for ice cubes to heal their facial injuries. But moments later, six shots were fired from very close range and Martin Aramburu was fatally shot several times. Despite the intervention of the emergency services, he succumbed. ‘I get up, I scream. I’m calling the police. I tell them what I saw. At the same time, I wake up the person who receives me, I hang up and go for it. I meet two or three people at the Buci-Saint-Germain intersection. In my memories I ask them something like: ‘it has to do with the fight’ and they answer me, super calmly: ‘ they shot him! ‘” says the witness, still traumatized by what he experienced that morning.

Loïc Le Priol, who was extradited from Hungary to France on April 1, was identified as the prime suspect, charged with murder and placed in pre-trial detention. In addition to the far-right activist, Romain Bouvier, 31, was also charged with “murder” and two gun-related offenses. He is being held in the health prison in Paris and is suspected of also having shot Aramburu.

A 24-year-old woman, presented as Loïk Le Priol’s girlfriend, was also charged in this case with “accomplice in murder”. Also placed in pre-trial detention, she is suspected of driving a Loïk Le Priol vehicle on the night of the events.