A French woman is prison-bound after a poisonous battle between neighbours in the idyllic Quercy valley turned deadly over a pure source: a mountain spring splitting their properties. Hélène Issakhanian began her 12-year jail sentence last week for shooting her neighbour’s house guest at the height of the long-time feud. According to The Guardian, Issakhanian and her American husband, Robert, were attracted by the spring water river that flowed into a pond when they purchased their home in 1995. But when Thomas Nieste and his wife moved in next door in 2001, relations between the two couples quickly deteriorated, especially over the spring water that flowed between their properties.
Escalating physical aggression and death threats came to a head in August 2008 when Issakhanian knocked on the Niestes’ door after the water supply to her house was interrupted. After arguing with Johannes Van den Oudenhoven, a guest of the Niestes who had nothing to do with the feud, Issakhanian retrieved a pistol from her home and shot him in the head. After years of failed mediation, Didier Doriac, mayor of nearby Montcabrier, told reporters the crime was inevitable: “Everyone in the village knew it was going to come to this. There was nothing we could do.”