Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame married his partner Marielle hours before his death

A police officer who was killed after switching places with a hostage during Friday’s terror attack in France was married on his death-bed.

Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame has been hailed a hero after he voluntarily handed himself over to terrorist Redouane Lakdim in exchange for a female store worker during a siege at a supermarket in Trebes.

The 44-year-old officer died in hospital after being shot three times by the radical Islamist in the southwest France town.

It has emerged this morning that Lt Col Beltrame married his partner Marielle hours before his death in a ceremony in the hospital in the city of Carcassonne.

According to reports, the couple had been planning a church wedding in June after they met during a tour of an abbey in France in 2016.

A photo of Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame placed on a bunch of flowers at the main gate of the Police headquarters in Carcassonne, France, 24-03-2018. Image: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

Father Jean-Baptiste said the couple had spent some 30 hours preparing for their marriage ceremony.

He said: "I gave him the sacrament of marriage, and the sacrament of the sick."

A national tribute is to take place at a later date for the police officer, who President Emmanuel Macron said had "died a hero" and deserved "the respect and admiration of the whole nation."

The officer's brother, Cedric, said he had given his life "for strangers" and knew he had "almost no chance" of surviving. "he did not hesitate one second," Mr Beltrame told RTL radio.

"He did what needed to be done and thanks to him, many lives were saved and yes, I think the word hero is very appropriate."

His mother said he she was "not surprised" by her son's actions, saying: "He's always been like that."

"It's someone, since he was born, who gives everything for his homeland."

A mass is underway in Trebes this morning, paying tribute to the victims of the attack.