Dead body found in £30m mansion abandoned since 1980s sparks murder probe

Police have launched a murder investigation after the body of a homeless man believed to have been stabbed to death was found in a £30 million mansion that had been abandoned since the 1980s.

Cops believe the man was stabbed 30 years ago, despite only discovering the body recently.

The corpse was found by renovators in the basement of a Paris mansion which has recently been purchased.

Jean-Pierre Renaud has been identified as the victim according to identity papers, reports Mirror Online.

However, detectives believe it will be near-impossible to find the killer as the body has been left with broken bones and stab wounds.

The mansion, in swanky Faubourg Saint-Germain and once lived in by playwright and poet François Coppée, was sold to investment banker Jean-Bernard Lofonta in January following a bidding war.

It is understood to be getting converted into offices for an international company.

Technicians were tasked with fixing up the 17,000-square-foot building the following month – discovering Mr Renaud's remains after moving planks and rubble in a cellar, reports Le Monde.

His children have been informed, police said.

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Sabine Lebreton, who leads a group dedicated to preserving the house, told Le Parisien "everyone was devastated" to hear of the tragic discovery.

She explained that prior to the coronavirus lockdown, the renovation work was moving along nicely with regular truck loads of rubble being removed before "suddenly, everything stopped".

A police source told Le Monde Mr Renaud was of "no fixed abode, with a drink problem".

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"We could imagine a fight with someone else living on the margin…But it's unclear whether he died in the mansion or was brought there, and we may never find out who was responsible," they continued.

"It's quite possible the murderer is himself now dead."

The restoration work is expected to start up again after the summer.

The mansion is just a few minutes from the French Prime Minister's official residence.

It was put on the market at the start of the year by its Dutch owners who billed it "the last truly significant property in the capital’s most sought-after neighbourhood".

The auction lasted 15 minutes with its new owner paying six times the reserve price.

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