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A 13-year-old girl was charged with slander after admitting she lied in the days leading up to Samuel Paty's death. Learn more about this true crime case.

True crime: How did one white lie lead to a beheading in France?

In the year 2021, you don’t really hear too much about people dying via beheading anymore. Sure, beheadings make you think of the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland or the entirety of the French Revolution, but it still seems like a bad way to go. Just writing about it has us rubbing our neck! Either way, the true crime world is always curious when you hear a case of beheading. 

In France, however, a case about beheading is currently happening with the true crime community keeping tabs on it. What’s this case? It, of course, involves a beheading, but also how rumors can lead to terrible, terrible consequences. Here’s everything you need to know about the murder of Samuel Paty. 

What happened? 

Samuel Paty was a history teacher in France. A 13-year-old girl, whose name hasn’t been released, lied about an incident with her teacher. She told her father that Paty had sent Muslim students out into the hallway while he showed the other non-Muslim students political cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a unit on free speech. The girl said that she was suspended for two days for challenging Paty.

If you don’t know much about Islam, then know that images of the Prophet Muhammad are strictly prohibited. Showing any image of Muhammad is considered to blasphemous for those of Islamic faith. The girl’s father filed a legal complaint against Paty, which sparked a social media campaign. Ten days after the backlash started, in Oct 2020, Paty was beheaded by 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov. 

Anzorov was later shot dead by police. Following Paty’s murder, it came out that the 13-year-old girl was lying this whole time.

What really happened?

The unnamed teenager wasn’t even in class the day of the supposed incident. She, apparently, had been suspended the day before for failing to attend class and didn’t want her father to find out. Her lawyer, Mbeko Tabula, confirmed that the girl was not in class, but said it was due to her being sick. Tabula said, “She lied because she felt trapped in a spiral because her classmates had asked her to be a spokesperson.”

Now, let’s make it clear, Paty did show the images of the Prophet Muhammad in class. He did not force the students to leave, but allowed Muslim students to exit if they so wished while the images were shown. Now what caricatures of the Prophet Muahammad were shown remain . . . sketchy. Some kids say it was one from Charlie Hebdo and others said that it showed the Prophet Muhammad naked.

Tabula added that if anyone should be in trouble for Paty’s murder, then it should be the girl’s father, who, according to the lawyer, had a “excessive and disproportionate behavior” to the incident. The girl, however, has been charged with slander at this time. Her father, meanwhile, has been arrested with suspicion of being complicit in a terrorist killing, according to Le Parisien. Others were also charged as well.


The murder of Samuel Paty polarized French people & politicians. It led to a discussion on how to integrate and handle an increasingly racially & ethnically diverse French population as a whole. People considered the threat of further terrorist attacks to be high in the aftermath of Paty’s death. The debates continue to wage on in France months later.

It’s amazing how a lie could spin things so far out of control.

Should the unnamed teenage girl be charged more harshly in regard to Samuel Paty’s murder? What do you think about the fallout from Paty’s death? Let us know in the comments your thoughts about everything with the case! 

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