Pictured: bus driver, father of three left brain dead after being beaten up by a gang who refused to wear face masks – as his wife says, “I’m living a nightmare”
- Philippe Monguillot, 58, was attacked by a gang of dodgers in Bayonne
- His wife Veronique said the couple’s lives were ‘destroyed in seconds’
- The five attackers described as ‘down-and-out’ drug users are being charged
The French bus driver was left brain dead after an attack by passengers who refused to wear face masks was named as 58-year-old Philippe Monguillot – as his wife said she “lived in a nightmare.”
Mr Monguillot, a father of three, was dragged from the driver’s seat and beaten savagely by the gang of killers while trying to enforce the coronavirus rules on the bus in Bayonne.
The gang of five, described by prosecutors as “down-and-out” drug users, are being prosecuted for criminal charges, but have not yet been publicly identified.
The driver’s 52-year-old wife, Veronique Monguillot, told the story Le Parisien that the couple’s lives were “destroyed in seconds.”
Bus driver Philippe Monguillot, pictured with his wife Veronique, was dragged from the driver’s seat and beaten savagely by a gang of killers while trying to enforce the coronavirus rules
Ms. Monguillot said, “He can’t leave us like this, he would be 59 soon. No, you do not do this with a bus ticket. You don’t kill for free! ‘
The Monguillots are the parents of three daughters aged 18, 21 and 24 and are supported by friends and colleagues who have set up a support group.
“Philippe would retire in a year and we thought we would buy a motor home in September,” said Ms. Monguillot, adding, “I don’t want to face the facts … I feel like I’m living a nightmare.’
Ms. Monguillot said the five-year-old gang was known to her husband for arguing about unpaid rates earlier today.
A source of persecution has described them as “down and outs known for sitting with dogs in the city, drinking and taking drugs.”
Mr. Monguillot was dragged out of their bus by them, then beaten and kicked savagely, to the extent that his head was deformed.
Masks are currently mandatory on all public transportation in France, but members of the group refused to put them on when they got on the vehicle – a cross between a bus and a tram from the Chronoplus company – at around 7pm on Sunday.
An investigative source described the attack on Mr. Monguillot and said, “They got on the bus without masks and refused to show a ticket.
“The first one to get in had a dog with them – they just thought they could all get in and do whatever they wanted, but the driver had to do his job.
The gang of five got on the bus in Bayonne (shown on a map in South West France) without wearing a mask and refused to show a ticket, it is said
“When he came up against them, a very unpleasant argument arose, voices were raised and the driver was attacked when everyone walked onto the bus platform.
“Philippe was beaten and kicked repeatedly, then left with serious injuries before the gang escaped.”
A colleague of Mr. Monguillot described him as a “neat and hardworking man who always looked after passengers.”
He added, “There is a lot of tension about masks because they are the law, but the bus crew is not a police force and we don’t have to enforce the law.”
The Chronoplus colleague said there had been three other attacks involving masks in recent days, but none were as serious as those involving Mr Monguillot.
Bayonne Mayor Claude Olive said meetings are underway to improve the safety of buses.
“This was a barbaric attack,” said Mr. Olive. “Philippe was a great person who should have been protected.”
Masks became mandatory when France began to emerge from the Covid-19 lock at the end of May.