‘He would scream like a maniac at all hours’: VIA Rail terror suspect was a nightmare neighbourPosted: April 26, 2013
Source: news.nationalpost.com(TRISTIN HOPPER)
National Post, with files from Graeme Hamilton and Joseph Brean
Before Chiheb Esseghaier became one of two suspects in a plot to bomb a VIA Rail passenger train, the doctoral student was known to the tenants in a Montreal apartment building as a neighbour from hell, according to a report by La Presse.
“He would scream like a maniac at all hours,” remembered a man identified only as Michel, who lived in the same 20-unit Rosemont complex. “Near the end, I couldn’t take it anymore.”
Mr. Esseghaier’s Kijiji-recruited roommates appeared to concur. According to the building’s concierge, “hygiene issues” at one point forced one of them to leave in a huff, slamming the door on his way out.
The concierge added Mr. Esseghaier was a “very religious man, very devout.”
Others simply remembered him for his penchant to endanger the building with fire.
One time, he set off the smoke alarm after cranking up all four of his stove-top elements to dry a shirt. Another time, he moved his charcoal barbecue inside, alleging it was too windy outside.
“He lit briquettes. There were flames,” a tenant told the newspaper.
Tunisian-born and only recently granted permanent residency status in Canada, Mr. Esseghaier remains officially registered as a doctoral student at the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), a research arm of the Université du Québec.
His erratic tenancy record is part of why, when officers finally arrested Mr. Esseghaier Monday, he was effectively homeless.
La Presse writer Fabrice de Pierrebourg compared Mr. Esseghaier to the main character in the 1985 French film Subway. In the movie, Fred, a gangster, evades police by taking refugee in the murky depths of the Paris Métro.
Wearing a substantial length of beard and dressed in a faded ski jacket, he offered no resistance as four Mounties led him away.
The whole affair was “very calm,” said a witness.