The family of a bus driver beaten and left brain dead by a gang after demanding they wear face coverings said today they “have no more tears”.
Hardworking family man Philippe Monguillot is pictured today for the first time after the sickening assault left him with catastrophic injuries.
The 58-year-old was savagely beaten by a group of passengers who refused to wear masks after getting on his bus near Bayonne train station in France.
Mr Monguillot’s 18-year-old daughter Marie told Sud Ouest : “It’s not my father breathing, it’s the ventilator… we know that it’s over.
“We are empty… we have no more tears.”
The bus driver was close to retirement and leaves behind three daughters aged 18, 21 and 24.
While his wife Veronique Monguillot said: “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.”
Speaking to Le Parisien, she added: “I don’t want to face the facts. I feel like I’m living a nightmare.”
She added that her family’s lives had been “destroyed in seconds.”
With her husband, Mrs Monguillot had planned to buy a motorhome in September ahead of his retirement next year.
Two men have been charged with attempted murder over the attack which took place around 7pm on Sunday.
Prosecutor Marc Mariee told a press conference that three men had boarded the bus with a dog.
When they were joined by a fourth person at a later stop Mr Monguillot went to check his ticket.
This is when the driver asked them to put face coverings on, as is in line with the current law aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus.
The prosecutor said: “There were insults and then shoving. The bus driver was pushed out of the bus.”
Mr Monguillot suffered an “extremely violent attack” with two of the men allegedly punching and kicking him.
Some of the men fled and the driver was left critically injured on the pavement and was found unconscious by emergency services.
The prosecutor’s office said one person was arrested at the scene and four detained in an apartment in Bayonne.
A minor was later released by police.
Two, aged 22 and 23, have been charged with attempted murder. They are believed to have been known to police previously.
Two more have been charged with failing to assist to a person in danger – a crime under French law – and one of the group is also accused of attempting to hide a suspect.
All suspects are in custody.
In France, face coverings and masks are compulsory on all public transport.
A colleague of Mr Monguillot described him as a “decent and hardworking man who always looked after passengers.”
He added: “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.”
Many of Mr Monguillot’s colleagues have said they will not work until his funeral.
Local media reports there have been three other assaults sparked by rows over face masks.
Claude Olive, the Mayor of Bayonne, said discussions were ongoing on improving security on buses.
He said: “This was a barbaric attack. Philippe was a wonderful person who should have been protected.”