Conspiracy news site, YourNewsWire, posted an article claiming that Commissioner Helric Fredou, the French policeman investigating the Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris last week, took his own life last Thursday.

I have done a few searches on his name but can find no information on him except for references to his suicide.

Was he in charge of the case? Is this news story true?


3 Answers 3


Helric Fredou was the second-in-command of the Limoges SRPJ (regional branch of the judicial police) . I can't find his nomination but here is a 2014 administrative decision that cites him in this role.

The national police superintendent's union published a short note which only mentions Helric Fredou's death, without stating any cause.

Highlighting relevant passages from an article published by regional television France 3 quoted by Oddthinking:

un commissaire du SRPJ de Limoges s'est donné la mort la nuit dernière dans son bureau avec son arme de service. Une information confirmée par sa hiérarchie. On ignore à cette heure les raisons de son geste.

My translation: “A superintendent of the Limoges SRPJ killed himself last night in his office with his service weapon. This information was confirmed by the police hierarchy. The reasons for his gesture is not presently known.”

Le commissaire Fredou, comme tous les agents du SRPJ travaillait hier soir sur l'affaire de la tuerie au siège de Charlie Hebdo. Il avait notamment enquêté auprès de la famille de l'une des victimes.

“Superintendent Fredou was working on the Charlie Hebdo killings affair, like all of the agents of the SRPJ. In particular, he had participated in an inquiry with the family of one of the victims.”

This is a policeman in charge of the Charlie Hebdo investigation, not “the”. He did not have any leading role in the investigation, he was just one of many policemen investigating. He had a history of depression.

Selon le syndicat de la police le commissaire était dépressif et en situation de burn out.

“According to the police union, the superintendent was depressive and feeling burnt out.”

En novembre 2013, le commissaire Fredou avait découvert le corps sans vie de son collègue, numéro 3 du SRPJ de Limoges qui s'était également suicidé avec son arme de service dans son bureau. Il avait lui aussi 44 ans.

“In November 2013, superintendent Fredou had discovered the lifeless body of a colleague, third in the Limoges SRPJ hierarchy, who had also committed suicide with his service weapon in his office. He was 44 years old as well.”

I can't find the declaration from the union mentioned by the news article.

A November 2014 message from said union highlights suicide of police superintendent as a concern.

I can't find any article with more recent information. This is to be expected if this is genuinely a suicide for which the Charlie Hebdo was at most a triggering factor, not the primary cause.

In conclusion:

  • The claim that a police superintendent by this name committed suicide on the given date is true.
  • The claim that he was involved in the Charlie Hebdo investigation is true.
  • The claim that he was in charge of the investigation is false.
  • The claim of correlation between the Charlie Hebdo killings and Mr Fredou's suicide is correct. The implied claim of causation is undecided. The implied claim of primary causation is false.

Yes, there was a policeman named Helric Fredou who died. The earliest source seems to be http://sputniknews.com/europe/20150111/1016754353.html , which I don't know how trustworthy they are, but this source confirms it:

http://pontiactribune.com/police-commissioner-investigating-hebdo-shooting-commits-suicide/ by linking to the police union's site

The commissioner’s depression, reportedly, was the reason for his suicide. Police Commissioner Helric Fredou was 45 years old, and single with no children.

The Police Union released an official statement recognizing his death. The statement, found on their website, reads:

On this particular day of national mourning , police commissioners are newboth hit hard by the tragic death of one of their own.

The Union of Commissioners of the National Police would like to present its most sincere condolences to the relatives of Helric.

In these difficult times , we have a special thought for all his colleagues and classmates , many of which we expressed their emotion and grief.

We will keep you informed of how his funeral will be organized and the initiatives we take to honor his memory and support his family.

The website linked is http://le-scpn.fr, which a quick wikipedia search shows to be official https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syndicat_des_commissaires_de_la_Police_nationale.

The statement is in French, but I've run it through Google Translate here

It is with great sadness that we were informed this morning by our colleague dudécès Helric Fredou, affectéen Deputy Director of Police Regional quality of service Judiciaireà Limoges.En this particular day of national mourning, police commissioners again hit hard by the tragic death of one of leurs.Le Union of Commissioners of the National Police would like to present its sincere condolences to the relatives of Helric.Dans these difficult times, we have special thoughts pourtous its colleagues workand his classmates, many of which showed their emotion and their peine.Nous will keep you informed of how his funeral will be organized and the initiatives we prendronsafin to honor his memory and support his family.

So in conclusion, yes, there is sufficient evidence that this happened including a primary source, and it's not just a wacky conspiracy theory.

(I can't get official confirmation that they were working on the Hedbo case, and I'll look some more later. Consider this half the answer for now.)

  • For future reference by users of this website, Sputniknews is funded by the Russian government. Their main intention is to sniff out news stories that make people question Western government narratives. So, their reporting should be taken with a grain of salt.
    – Avery
    Jan 12, 2015 at 18:49
  • 1
    Which is why I sourced this from other places as well.
    – ike
    Jan 12, 2015 at 20:58

I found one other source for it: http://sputniknews.com/europe/20150111/1016754353.html

Helric Fredou, 45, suffered from depression and experienced burn out. Shortly before committing suicide, he met with the family of a victim of the Charlie Hebdo attack and killed himself preparing the report.

But I have not been able to find it from any news source that I know of and find reliable.

And then I found it on this site: https://www.intellihub.com/police-commissioner-investigating-charlie-hebdo-attack-commits-suicide-writing-report/

... Which looks like a site for conspiracy theorists...

  • Yes, this story is being replicated (without additional information) on conspiracy news sites, which is a good reason look at it skeptically, but not a good enough reason to dismiss it as false.
    – Oddthinking
    Jan 12, 2015 at 2:14

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