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FRENCH WIFE KILLER ON THE RUN IN SCOTLAND; Doctor wanted for murder is spotted with blonde.

FRANCE'S most wanted criminal is on the run in Scotland.

Dr Yves Godard - suspected of brutally murdering his wife - was seen in the Western Isles and could be hiding on the mainland.

The fugitive doctor - who has two

young children with him - headed for Scotland after shaking off French police investigating the murder of his wife, Marie-France.

Senior French detectives arrived on Lewis after he was seen on the Hebridean island but have so far failed to snare him.

The 44 year-old GP vanished in a stolen yacht with his children Camille, six, and Marius, four at the end of August.

The hunt began after blood was found at the family home in Caen, north Brittany, and in a van owned by the doctor which was abandoned in the port of St Malo.

But Dr Godard and the couple's children were nowhere to be seen.

DNA testing established that the blood belonged to Marie-France and the couple had earlier been heard having a violent quarrel. But no trace of Madame Godard's body has been found.

A French judge issued an international arrest warrant and launched a murder inquiry.

The desperate doctor had also ran up a mountain of debt before fleeing.

He rented a nine metre yacht called Nick after fleeing his home and was seen sailing out of St Malo on September 1, heading in a north easterly direction.

Police were alerted when he failed to return the hired boat.

It's thought Dr Godard tried to stage his own suicide to fool cops, by making police think his yacht had sunk near Alderney, one of the Channel Islands.

On September 5, a lifejacket from the stolen yacht was found close to Alderney.

Eleven days later the yacht's life raft was found floating close to Dorset on the south east of England.

Investigators now believe that Dr Godard abandoned the jacket and raft to lay a false trail of clues.

But French police picked up the scent again when the doctor was sighted 10 days ago on the Isle of Man after staying in a local hotel with his sons.

Dr Godard was also spotted in the company of an attractive blonde woman. A barman alerted the police after hearing the Frenchman's accent and recognising him from a wanted poster in a British newspaper.

When Dr Godard was staying at the Manning Hotel in Douglas, Isle of Man, owner Les Baird remembers him looking tired, dirty and dishevelled.

He said: "It was already night time when he arrived. He was carrying a rucksack and had his son on his shoulders."

The family spent three nights out of seven on the Isle of Man at the hotel.

Police from the French town of Rennes then spent several days on the island trying to trace the family but without success.

Yesterday the Northern Constabulary confirmed that Dr Godard had been seen on Lewis, where he bought a ticket for a boat tour last Friday.

French police arrived on the island five days ago and were waiting for Dr Godard on the quayside at Stornoway. But he failed to show up.

Yesterday the man directing the hunt, senior prosecutor Remy Heitz, confirmed: "Investigations were carried out on Lewis by local authorities in co-operation with the French officers in order to trace the itinerary which Dr Godard and his two children might have taken.

"The initial results of these enquiries cannot be revealed."

But Monsieur Heitz said that Dr Godard had run up pounds 100,000 of debts in France which could also account for his disappearance.

The income from his medical practice had fallen by a third since he was convicted of supplying unauthorised medicines three years ago.

Dr Godard also offered his patients acupuncture and other forms of traditional Chinese medicine.

He is described by colleagues and neighbours as bohemian, stubborn and intensely private, but he had no record of violence.

On the evening before the family disappeared, Dr Godard and his wife were heard by neighbours having a furious row in their surgery in Caen.

He had booked the yacht for a five-day voyage two weeks in advance but appears not to have told his wife, who also acted as his receptionist. She continued to book appointments for the period when he planned to be away.

Police believe Dr Godard planned to run from his debts and that she opposed him at the last moment.

The doctor is a very keen yachtsman and no stranger to the British coastline, having previously sailed around Ireland and Wales.

The weather at the time of his disappearance was fine, prompting doubts that a yachtsman of his experience would have sunk as suggested by the discarded lifejacket.

It is understood that police in Stornoway have been making inquiries at island guest houses.

Sources said yesterday that yachts and small boats coming into Stornoway had also been checked although Stornoway Pier and Harbour Commission said they knew nothing of any police hunt.

Chief Inspector Norman Macleod of the Northern Constabulary refused to say anything about the investigation as they had merely been helping the French police.

He said: "It is up to them to comment."

Dr Godard was also linked to the rape and murder of British schoolgirl Caroline Dickinson, killed during a school trip to Brittany three years ago.

However DNA tests eventually ruled him out.

lHave you seen Dr Godard? If so call police on 01463 715555 or the Daily Record on 0141 242 3251.
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Article Details
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Author:Houston, Simon; Smith, Anna
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 27, 1999
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