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Luka Magnotta arrives at Montreal’s Mirabel Airport. (Handout from Montreal Police)
Luka Magnotta arrives at Montreal’s Mirabel Airport. (Handout from Montreal Police)

High security marks Magnotta's return to Montreal Add to ...

Luka Magnotta was led handcuffed from a Canadian military plane outside Montreal just after 7 p.m. on Monday, returning to face justice in an alleged murder and dismemberment that horrified the world and set off an international manhunt.

Mr. Magnotta was accompanied by six Montreal police investigators on a high-security flight from Berlin, where he was captured on June 4 after fleeing Canada.

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Montreal police say Mr. Magnotta is set to appear in court Tuesday by video conference.

His return to Canadian soil to face charges in the death of Chinese university student Lin Jun was shrouded in heavy police security. A large convoy of marked and unmarked vehicles drove up to the Royal Canadian Air Force Airbus CC-150 Polaris on the tarmac at Mirabel Airport.

Shortly afterward, the door to the plane opened. Mr. Magnotta, his hair trimmed and wearing dark pants and light-colored long sleeved shirt, emerged from the doorway. He was surrounded by four officers who escorted him by the arm down the stairs and into a waiting van as police stood guard with their weapons drawn.

Police said preliminary checks with private airlines suggested it would be difficult to use a standard commercial carrier to get Mr. Magnotta home. Among the problems: the airline would have had to vacate “a complete section” of seats around the accused body-parts killer.

“We made checks and there was no interest from commercial airlines,” said a Montreal police spokeswoman.

The scene was captured by a helicopter crew from a TV network. The police van took Mr. Magnotta to an undisclosed detention centre.

“We are happy to tell you that [Mr. Magnotta] is on Canadian soil,” Commander Ian Lafrenière of the Montreal police told reporters soon after the plane touched down.

Mr. Magnotta, 29, could be arraigned on charges including first-degree murder as early as Tuesday, but Commander Lafrenière emphasized to reporters that police still consider their investigation open.

Police are eager to interrogate Mr. Magnotta because the head of Mr. Lin is still missing.

“Our investigation is not over,” Mr. Lafrenière said. “We hope to help the [Lin] family complete their mourning, by telling them where the head is.”

In fact, with Mr. Magnotta's return to Montreal, his path will briefly intersect with that of family members who came to the city to mourn their slain son and settle his affairs. Mr. Lin's grieving parents, sister and uncle arrived in Montreal on June 5. They have expressed a wish to recover Mr. Lin's body.

They said last week they would like Mr. Magnotta to face justice in Canada as quickly as possible.

Police are also investigating a graphic video posted online that they believe depicts Mr. Lin's killing.

Mr. Magnotta fled Canada, first to Paris, and was caught at an Internet café in Berlin where he was reading about the international manhunt for him. A café worker recognized Mr. Magnotta from newspaper reports and flagged down police.

Mr. Magnotta faces charges of first-degree murder, committing an indignity to a dead body, publishing an obscene matter, mailing obscene matter and criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said Mr. Magnotta was removed from Germany in the custody of Montreal police officers.

"It is important that Canadians can have confidence that those who are accused of serious crimes will face the full force of the law," Mr. Nicholson said.

 

With a file from The Canadian Press

 

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