Montreal

Quebec City man charged with attempted murder after ex-partner set on fire 

Frej Haj Messaoud, 39, was charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault Sunday morning after he allegedly lit his ex-partner on fire in Quebec City.

Victim’s father says suspect had an 'aggressive character'

The suspect is expected to appear in a Quebec City courthouse Monday. (Radio-Canada)

Frej Haj Messaoud, 39, was charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault Sunday morning after he allegedly lit his ex-partner on fire in Quebec City.

The incident took place Friday evening on Arago Street. Several neighbours saw the victim, a 27-year-old woman, on fire and screaming in the middle of the road. 

The suspect is expected to appear in a Quebec City courthouse Monday.

The victim's father said she had separated from Messaoud two years ago and had taken her two children with her. 

"There were always problems with him because of his aggressive character," the victim's father told Radio-Canada. 

'Like a human torch' 

At the time of the incident, some neighbours ran to the scene to try to help the woman. Martin Allard was one of them. 

He was on his balcony when he heard her screaming. 

"I saw a person in flames," Allard said. "It was like a human torch." 

Allard called local police, then ran toward the woman. Seeing that her clothes had caught on fire, he ripped them off. Other residents tried covering her with blankets. 

At the time of the incident, some neighbours ran to the scene to try to help the woman. Martin Allard was one of them.  (Radio-Canada)

According to witnesses, the victim's mother and two children saw the incident unfold. The three of them were treated for shock. 

After allegedly escaping on foot, Messaoud was arrested by Quebec provincial police in Drummondville Saturday, about 150 kilometres southeast of Quebec City. 

The victim was still in critical condition Sunday afternoon. 

Police said the victim had sustained severe burns to her face, hands and back. 

With files from Radio-Canada