A 26-year-old graphic designer has been hailed a hero after he hid beneath a sink at a print works where alleged terrorist brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi hid from police, and managed to provide vital information.
Lilian Lepere was working at the print works in Dammartin-en-Goele north of Paris when the Kouachi brothers burst in.
Having massacred employees at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo they had hijacked several vehicles and robbed a petrol station, with the police were close behind.
The brothers initially took the manager of the print works hostage, but are believed to have released him when he treated a bullet wound in Said's neck. They were unaware that Lepere had locked himself in a room upstairs and was texting information to the police, as well as his own family.
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Lepere was able to pass "tactical elements such as his location inside the premises" to police. Lepere was also said to be able to hear the brothers talking and relayed what they said.
In phone conversations, the brothers made clear they intended to die as "martyrs" and emerged from the factory with guns blazing, to be cut down by waiting police.Lepere was then rescued and after being taken to a psychological assessment unit reunited with his family, terrified but "OK".
Lepere was then rescued and after being taken to a psychological assessment unit reunited with his family, terrified but "OK".
It also emerged that a visiting salesman called at the company just after the brothers burst in, and that one actually shook his hand and sent him away again, saying: "Leave, we don't kill civilians anyhow."
"That really struck me, so I decided to call the police," said the man, who only gave the name Didier. "I guess it was one of the terrorists."
The denouement of that siege appears to have forced the hand of police at the linked kosher bakery stand-off in Paris, where Amedy Coulibaly, 32, who allegedly had already killed four hostages, was killed by police special forces.