Rare cello returned after knifepoint theft in Paris

An 18th-Century cello has been returned to a French musician after an appeal following her knifepoint robbery.

Ophélie Gaillard was robbed of the instrument and her mobile phone outside her home in Paris on Thursday.

After putting an appeal on Facebook, she received an anonymous call saying it was in a car outside her home. She found a window smashed but the instrument in "good condition".

The rare instrument is worth about €1.3m ($1.6m; £1.2m)

Made in 1737 by Italian instrument-maker Francesco Gofriller, it was loaned to Ms Gaillard from Crédit Industriel et Commercial (CIC) bank.

The instrument was stolen in its case, along with a bow that was itself almost 200 years old.

The 43-year-old award-winning cellist told police her attacker forced her to hand the instrument over at knifepoint before fleeing on foot in the north-eastern Paris suburb of Pantin.

"The theft was very violent; I have not been able to sleep for two days. I am so relieved to have found it. I'm coming out of a two-day nightmare – it's a miracle," she told the AFP news agency.

Her original post was shared almost 10,000 times in just two days.

Confirming the instrument's return on Facebook, Ms Gaillard thanked everyone who helped with the appeal, and called its return an "incredible dream".

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