Coronavirus: French bus driver left brain-dead after confronting gang not wearing masks

Philippe Monguillot’s wife said she was ‘living in a nightmare’ after the brutal assault over mask-wearing in Bayonne

epa08510602 A hostess wearing a face mask guides passengers at Orly airport, near Paris, France, 26 June 2020. The Paris airport resumes its activity after more than three months of closure since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in France.  EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
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A French bus driver has been left brain-dead after he was viciously attacked by five drug abusers who were not wearing face masks and who refused to pay for their tickets.

Father-of-three Philippe Monguillot was dragged from the driver’s seat and repeatedly punched in the head in Bayonne, in south-west France.

His wife, Veronique, said she was “living in a nightmare”.

"He can't leave us like this, he was going to be 59 years old soon. No, you don't do this over a bus ticket. You don't kill for free like this!" she told the French newspaper Le Parisien.

“Philippe was going to retire in a year and we thought we were going to buy a motorhome in September,” she added.

Bayonne’s Mayor, Claude Olive, said it was a “barbaric attack”.

It’s believed Mr Monguillot had argued with the group earlier in the day for dodging the fare.

Prosecutors described the gang as being renowned in the town for taking drugs and drinking alcohol.

Mr Monguillot was a “decent and hard-working man who always looked after passengers”, according to an unnamed colleague.

“There has been a lot of tension over masks because they are the law, but bus staff are not police and we should not have to enforce the law,” the colleague added.