As French investigators work to shed light on the motives behind the Bastille Day massacre in Nice, new information has surfaced on the troubled personal life of the 31-year-old killer, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel.
Bouhlel, who lived in the French Riviera city, has been described as a misfit obsessed with bodybuilding, women and prone to fits of rage.
The Bastille Day killer had a previous conviction for assault with a weapon and was reported to police for beating up his wife and mother to his three children, Hajer Khalfallah.
“Everyone around here knew he beat her,” a neighbour told the London Times. “He was a strange bloke who kept himself to himself, but the walls are thin here and you could hear what was going on.
“His wife is a lovely woman and what she suffered from him was unjust. Bouhlel left his home after being reported to the police for his violence, although he was never convicted for it.”
According to local media, records obtained from Bouhlel’s mobile phone, which was taken from the truck he used to kill more than 80 people, suggest he regularly used dating websites to pick up women, loved sending selfies of himself, and dabbled with drink and drugs. Reports also paint a picture of a desperate man who fell into depression as his marriage fell apart. His wife was reportedly taken into protective custody and was questioned by police last Friday. However, she was released on Sunday.
A lawyer for Bouhlel's estranged wife said she had not been in touch with her husband for sometime. Jean-Yves Garino told BFM-TV that Bouhlel had also been violent with the rest of the family, including the woman's mother.