A Champagne producer with far right-wing connections violently attacked a regional journalist in Reims yesterday.

Patrick Bourson, a winemaker and personal friend of National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, punched and kicked local journalist Jean-Francois Scherpereel in the entrance hall of regional newspaper l’Union.

The altercation is believed to have occurred following the publication on Friday of an article by Scherpereel. The journalist reported a violent break-in and theft at the Boursons’ home last week, saying that although not politically-motivated, the incident was ‘dodgy’.

According to to Scherpereel, Bourson attacked him in the entrance hall of the newspaper’s offices in Reims.

‘He recocgnised me and shouted “Are you Scherpereel?” I said “yes” and he punched me in the face,’ he said.

According to l’Union, Scherpereel attempted to flee to the lifts but was cornered by Bourson who continued to punch and kick the journalist as he fell to the floor.

‘He didn’t stop insulting me and kept saying “I’m going to kill you, I’m going to kill you”,’ said Scherpereel.

Bourson is also reported to have threatened the newspaper, saying he would send over his ‘friends’. Scherpereel is said to be suffering from shock.

Both he and the newspaper are to press charges.

Bourson could not be reached for comment.

Bourson is well-known for moving in far right-wing political circles. His wife is a National Front regional councillor for the Marne department and he shares interests in Champagne negociant François Daumale with National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Written by Oliver Styles