Stolen million-euro cello returned to French musician

This file photo taken on February 27, 2003 shows French cellist Ophelie Gaillard performing after being awarded the Victoire de la Musique Classique for best soloist. (AFP)
Updated 19 February 2018
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Stolen million-euro cello returned to French musician

PARIS: An 18th-century cello worth more than a million euros was returned to an award-winning French musician on Saturday after she was robbed at knifepoint in a Paris suburb earlier in the week.
“I received an anonymous call late in the morning saying that my cello was inside a car in front of my house. I found it in the back seat,” soloist Ophelie Gaillard told AFP.
One of the car windows was broken and the musician said she quickly grabbed the instrument, which is “in good condition,” before notifying police.
An attacker had held her up at knifepoint outside her home on Thursday, forcing her to hand over the cello, as well as her mobile phone, before fleeing on foot in the northeastern suburb of Pantin.
“The theft was very violent, I have not been able to sleep for two days. I am so relieved to have found it. I’m coming out of a two-day nightmare — it’s a miracle,” she said.
The police confirmed the cello had been found and a source close to the investigation by the BRB unit in charge of armed robberies said: “It’s not an instrument that can be sold to a fence on the corner.”
After the robbery on Thursday, Gaillard appealed for help from the public on Facebook, posting pictures of the instrument.
The cello, which was loaned to her by CIC bank and is valued at nearly 1.3 million euros ($1.6 million), was made in Udine, Italy in 1737 by luthier Francesco Goffriller, son of Venetian master cello-maker Matteo Goffriller.
The cello case also contained her bow, which she said was made by acclaimed 19th-century French bowmaker Jean Pierre Marie Persoit “around 1825 in Paris.”
In 2003, Gaillard was named the best new instrumental soloist at the French classical music awards.


’Pig’ British tourists to be deported from New Zealand

Updated 16 January 2019
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’Pig’ British tourists to be deported from New Zealand

  • The family have been involved in a string of incidents in the country, including accusations of littering, assault, not paying for restaurant meals and intimidating behavior
  • "They're worse than pigs and I'd like to see them out of the country," Auckland mayor said

WELLINGTON: Members of a British family have been branded “worse than pigs” and face deportation from New Zealand after a spree of bad behavior that left normally easygoing Kiwis outraged.
The family have been involved in a string of incidents in and around Auckland and Hamilton, including accusations of littering, assault, not paying for restaurant meals and intimidating behavior.
Auckland mayor Phil Goff led national outcry at the tourists’ antics, demanding the police take action. “These guys are trash. They are leeches,” he told a local radio station.
“If you say one time ‘I found a hair or an ant in my meal’ you’d believe it but they find it every meal that they have as a way of evading payment. That’s a criminal activity.
“They’re worse than pigs and I’d like to see them out of the country.”
New Zealand’s assistant general manager of immigration, Peter Devoy, said the family had been issued with a deportation notice on the grounds of “matters relating to character.”
One 26-year-old member of the family on Wednesday pleaded guilty to stealing NZ$55 ($37) worth of goods from a petrol station.
The family attracted extensive media coverage in New Zealand after a video showed them leaving beer boxes, bottles and other rubbish strewn on a popular beach.
When a woman asked them to clean up their litter, a child in the group can be seen on video threatening he would “knock your brains out.”
Stuff Media reported that one family member hit a journalist with her shoe after being approached for comment.
A member of the family told the New Zealand Herald they have now decided to cut short their holiday and will return home this week.
John Johnson insisted his family were of good stock, claimed his grandfather was the “10th richest man in England” and said he was made to feel “very unwelcome” in New Zealand.