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7,866 thoughts on “Not Forgetting the al-Hillis continued

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  • Good In Parts

    Peter – Q – michael norton

    It is good to see some old hands commenting again.

    The state of play in this case has progressed, the new ‘proc’ states that all pistes are still under consideration however the team have clearly shifted the priorities of the investigation, with the murder of the Al Hillis being viewed essentially as ‘the elimination of witnesses’.

    The belated discovery of LMC and his ‘95% elimination’ caused me to go local as well. I have no doubt that the investigation team, being the professionals they are, shifted paradigms well before I did.

    Despite the reduced probablility that state actors were involved I hope you all will stick around and contribute your thoughts.

    Over the next few days I shall try to write up and post everything I have got.

  • Good In Parts

    The worst possible outcome.

    Is the current impass the worst possible outcome ?

    It may seem so, but what if it is not ?

    Consider the perspective of the putative ‘person who is living in fear’.

    Informing les flics could have catastrophic consequences for them, their loved ones and other totally innocent parties. Les gendarmes seem to have at least partially woken up to the possility. Their apparent ‘assurances of witness protection for the fearful’ telegraph this.

    But assurances of physical protection may not be sufficient. This is Banjo Country after all and if you listen carefully you can hear it from here… the wall of silence.

  • michael norton

    For some time the French have been requesting information from the Swiss, about the weapon used in The Slaughter of The Horses, four and a third years ago.
    Have the Swiss responded?

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Sounds like the expected Wild Goose Chase to me.

    Recall when the Swedish police were looking for the gun which assassinated Palme.

    Were scraping the bottoms of all kinds of water, but came up with nothing ultimately.

    • michael norton

      It is strange, that almost straight away, it was said, that almost all the recovered bullets had gone into / through a victim.
      Only a few of the recovered bullets did not hit a victim.
      All the bullets were fired from the same gun.
      Hence the idea of only one shootist.
      After they had determined which gun had fired the shots.
      They asked the Swiss for help to identify the history of that gun.
      Four and a third years have now gone by, yet no more information is let out?

  • Good In Parts

    Gone Loco.


    You rightly hold me to account;

    “Officially, the investigation team still maintain an open mind … The assertion that they have “gone local” merely is unsubstantiated hearsay”

    My bad. It was a moment of madness. I should have noticed it was a J-MD article.

    In my defence I can only say that I was seduced by the accompanying infographic with it’s Phong shaded Luger, it was so cute !

  • Good In Parts

    Trigger Discipline


    “…increasingly difficult to believe that such an incredibly violent person should not have found himself in another situation triggering a similar outburst of murderous rage…”

    Sure, but it could be masked by his job… if say his role required a ‘mad minute’ on occasion… maybe he was already being treated for PTSD…

    Having said all that, my intuition is that there would likely have been a very personal grudge against SM, the circumstances of which would be unlikely to re-occur.

    Also, in my humble opinion, the full-on berserker mode was triggered by his plan going wrong. I think that if SAH had managed to drive away down the combe, the killer simply could not have made a successful escape.

    “…I am more and more inclined to believe that this hypothetical local perpetrator has either committed suicide or is already in custody for an unrelated offence.”

    That, or the perp is still on duty.

    I would add that any suicide may be categorised as an exceptionally unusual, tragic, accident of the sort that often happens amongst the montagnards.

  • michael norton

    La communauté de brigades d’Albertville poursuit son enquête pour définir les circonstances exactes de l’accident qui a coûté la vie, dimanche, à un automobiliste du Val d’Arly, Nicolas Mollier-Thomas. Il n’y aurait pas eu de témoin et le conducteur était seul à bord de sa voiture quand celle-ci a quitté la route avant d’effectuer plusieurs tonneaux. Le père de famille, 39 ans, originaire de Saint-Nicolas-la-Chapelle et domicilié à Héry-sur-Ugine, circulait sur une petite route de montagne au lieu-dit Flumet d’Aval, au-dessus du pont de Flon, à Saint-Nicolas-la-Chapelle, quand l’accident s’est produit. Il a été éjecté de son véhicule et était décédé à l’arrivée des sapeurs-pompiers et du Smur d’Albertville.

    • michael norton

      Not sure, quite how close to Sylvain Mollier, Nicholas was.
      Quite remarkable circumstances.
      He lives locally, although has a flat in the secret service area of Paris, he drives to his mother, his childhood, home for Sunday Lunch on the way back to his young family he crashes off the gorge.

      • michael norton

        “Apparently” no other person or vehicle was involved and Nicholas was not drunk.
        Yet he would know these roads like the back of his hand.

        • michael norton

          Nicholas Mollier Thomas died two years after The Slaughter of the Horses.
          I wonder if he was investigating and got too close to …….

      • Good In Parts

        michael norton

        He lived close enough.

        Héry sur Ugine, is only approx 4 Km North-East of Ugine. Thus it is possible to spot SM begin his cycle ride, drive home, kit up then drive to Chevaline before SM arrived.

        • michael norton

          I was also meaning, genetically close, as well as physically close
          but possibly they both worked for one of the French Secret Services?

  • michael norton


    Situated in the Val d’Arly, it is the family ski resort of Ugine.
    The resort allows a learning ski for children and adults.
    Héry-sur-Ugine is more a place of recreation and relaxation in family, where one goes to spend a pleasant afternoon, offering the free one for the children of less than 16 years, and reduced rates for the Students, unemployed, school groups, clubs, associations, etc.
    The plateau offers a cross-country ski trail, and ski hikes are organized with an agent of the National Forest Office, to explore the area.
    Life is concentrated in the city of Ugine

    Interesting, I wonder what they mean by with an agent of the National Forest Office?

    • michael norton


      The village of Héry-sur-Ugine is located at 928 m altitude, northeast of Ugine, on the right bank of the gorge dug by the torrent de l’Arly5.
      It is located near a waterfall. The mountain village is located on the old road between Ugine and Flumet (D 109), before the construction of the road of the gorges of the Arly (former national road 212 became D 1212),
      facing the slope where the village is installed Of Cohennoz.

      The commune of Héry / Heri-sur-Ugine loses the slope where is the village of Cohennoz, became common on January 22, 1798
      Cohennoz had already been erected as a parish in 1789. Héry-sur-Ugine was reunited at Ugine by a prefectural decree on 18 February 1971 (J.O. of 12 March 1971).

      In 1972, the Rafforts alpine meadows host a small ski resort consisting of two ski lifts and three tracks – Wiki

      You would have thought that a very local man living in a mountain settlement would know the roads and conditions
      and be rather careful, especially if he had a young family.

  • Good In Parts

    This is a Local Timeline. . .

    SM is assumed to have been the principal target and that he was observed by the killer on the cycle track approx halfway between Ugine and Chevaline.

    This example gives the killer approx 25 minutes to get ‘home’, prep-up and return.

    N.B. ‘home’ need not literally be the killers place of residence . It could be a lock-up, workshop or allotment where the killer secreted his Luger. As an example, it seems that the ringleader of the NCT home invasion and murder had a workshop in Arnand but lived elsewhere.

    The track referenced is the one from the second hairpin up the (un-named) zig-zags to the ridge line above Le Martinet parking from where it seems to be initially named “Chemin Rural des Replens dessus a Giez”, then changes into “Chemin Rural des Replens aux Bovets”. It eventually meets up with “Chemin de Scies” near Rovagny and La Crosaz.

    The whole Giez area does not seem to be part of the ‘Parc de Bauges’. The implication of which is that a vehicle could drive up this track without infringing any regulations. There would be no reason to stop the vehicle, in fact the area may not even be patrolled.

    The timing in this example assumes that the killer drove up in a high clearance vehicle (though a normal car could probably manage it), then left it near the ridge line and descended on foot. The return climb would be quite exerting. The killer would need to be pretty fit.

    Obviously it would be easier to use an off-road motorcycle and coast silently down the zig-zags, then later slowly and quietly ride back up. This would save a lot of time (maybe 15 minutes) exiting the combe. But that would mean entering the ‘parc de bauges’ and risking being heard or otherwise noticed.

    14:10:00 – SM sets off from Ugine along the cycle track

    14:45:00 – X spots SM somewhere near Faverges then heads home to prep-up

    15:00:00 – LMC starts his ride up the combe

    15:10:00 – X turns off main road towards Giez
    15:11:00 – ONF2 meet LMC at second hairpin
    15:12:00 – WBM spots SM crossing the T junction ahead of him
    15:12:30 – ONF2 start descent from Martinet parking
    15:15:00 – X arrives at start of track east of Giez
    15:19:00 – SM passes the old mill going up

    15:20:00 – WBM passes the old mill going up
    15:20:00 – ONF2 pass the old mill going down, exiting the combe
    15:20:30 – TBR passes the old mill going up
    15:21:30 – TBR overtakes WBM
    15:22:00 – SAH passes the old mill going up
    15:25:00 – X reaches ridge line – starts descent down zig-zags on foot
    15:27:30 – ONF1 spots the TBR just below Le Martinet parking
    15:29:30 – ONF1 crosses SAH (the 4×4 seen by Zainab)
    15:29:30 – ONF1 crosses SM

    15:30:00 – ONF1 crosses WBM (the 4×4 seen by WBM)
    15:32:00 – SM phone call
    15:34:00 – ONF1 passes the old mill going down, exiting the combe
    15:34:30 – ONF1 passes PB after exiting the combe
    15:35:00 – SAH arrival at Le Martinet
    15:35:00 – X arrives at the bottom of the zig-zags
    15:35:00 – WBM crosses TBR heading down
    15:37:00 – TBR rides up side track
    15:37:30 – SM arrives at Le Martinet parking – shooting starts
    15:39:00 – X leaves Le Martinet parking – runs back up towards zig-zags

    15:40:00 – WBM arrival at Le Martinet
    15:42:30 – WBM departs
    15:44:59 – First emergency call
    15:47:00 – WBM and PB return to Le Martinet
    15:48:00 – Second emergency call

    16:06:00 – Emergency services pass old mill

    16:10:00 – X reaches ridgeline, collects his vehicle and starts down
    16:13:00 – Emergency services arrive at Le Martinet

    16:20:00 – X reaches bottom of track near Rovagny and La Crosaz
    16:25:00 – X reaches main road near Giez

    16:35:00 – X reaches ‘home’

  • Good In Parts

    Living in Fear . . .

    That would be ONF1 – fearing les gendarmes had sussed he was a fabulist.

    He needn’t worry, they are more embarrassed than he is.

    Or they should be.

  • michael norton

    In the aftermath of the indictment for murder of Anthony Denerier, Marie-Florence Britten, Geoffrey Bellir’s mother, took the services of a lawyer and decided to join the civil party: “I need to have Access to the record and know what he said. I learned that he had been arrested at Valencia when I was burying my son. ”

    The funeral of Geoffrey Bellir, soldier of the 93rd RAM of Varces, took place Saturday in Chambéry before an impressive crowd: “There were friends of the army, capoeira, music. Some of his old friends came from far away, they wanted to make the trip, “said his mother, still very moved.

    Geoffrey Bellir, 24, died on Saturday 14 January after being stabbed in the middle of a fight with a homeless person near Chambéry train station. Anthony Denerier was the number one suspect since the incident and he had fled before being arrested this Saturday in Valencia. He was placed in pre-trial detention after being charged.

    I am sure the mother of the dead soldier is correct, you don’t want the wrong man being convicted for killing your son, she needs to keep in the know.

  • Good In Parts

    Clearing the stage.

    Going from one victim to another – obsessive or just clearing the stage ?

    Don’t pick up the brass ! – time constrained or best practice ?

    “the specific type of violence inflicted, i. e., aimed headshots, his signature.”

    His signature or his training ?

    • Peter

      @ GIP
      Going from one victim to another – obsessive or just clearing the stage ?
      It takes a rather unique kind of person to do all that, especially pistol-whipping a little girl, when all that would have been required to deter pursuit would have been to demand the car keys and/or disable the car. I’m not sure whether I like the term “obsessive”, as it appears to insinuate that the killer suffers from some kind of OCD, but the violence was certainly way over the top and is only explicable in terms of a personal grudge and/or a deep-seated personality disorder.

      Don’t pick up the brass ! – time constrained or best practice ?
      Quite a few journos have argued that a “true professional” would have picked up the spent cartridge cases. In my opinion, that is nonsense. Unless the killer had also collected the fired bullets – an impossible task – doing so would have been nothing but a waste of time. The bullets alone would have enabled forensics to identify the type of gun used with a high degree of confidence. Firing marks left on the cartridge casings would have enabled forensics to match those cartridge casings to a specific P06, e. g., one found in the possession of a suspect. However, the P06 involved was not on file, therefore had never been used in a major crime before, and the killer almost certainly disposed of it immediately afterwards. Hence, the killer would have stood to gain nothing from hanging around the scene of the crime, picking up brass.

      His signature or his training ?
      His signature. I cannot overemphasise how unusual this pattern is. The only “professionals” on whose curriculum I should expect to see this type of shooting are self-styled “elite” police units. For example, see the pattern of shots here:
      and the entire article:
      In my opinion, neither a regular French cop (who gets to shoot at most twenty rounds or so annually) nor a soldier (who is taught to aim at his enemies’ centre-mass first, and who, unless he is trained as a sniper, has no idea how car windows are going to deflect his shots) would have gone about this in that particular way.

      • Good In Parts


        Rigorous as ever, glad you are back.

        “Don’t pick up the brass !” is an admonition. Apocryphal stories have cops bending down to pick up spent shells in the middle of shoot-outs because they over-learned range proceedure. Habits can be difficult to break, so these days they are taught not to tidy up.

        I am with you on “explicable in terms of a personal grudge and/or a deep-seated personality disorder” and OCD seems the most likely in my view. Possibly in combination with something more anti-social.

        Whilst the hopping from one to another seems ‘overchecking’ and ‘completist’ in nature (thus an aspect of OCD) it occured to me that it could be an aspect of a certain kind of practice or training regime.

        And I agree with you about the kind of “professionals” that regime would apply to. Or should apply to anyway. Whether you call it ‘tactical’ or ‘practical’, it’s popularity seems to be spreading rapidly, including to shooting clubs.

        EM is quoted by Parry p175 thus “The last shot fired at Sylvain Mollier was a bullet between the eyes” he said “I have not said this before but it was what we call, in military terms, an execution shot.”

        Shot in the face. That last shot seems deeply personal, call it a signature if you like.

        I am doubtful that the killings of those in the car by headshots are equivalent. My take is that training, practice and sheer necessity were involved. After all, what else would you aim at ?

        • Peter

          @ GIP
          And I agree with you about the kind of “professionals” that regime would apply to. Or should apply to anyway. Whether you call it ‘tactical’ or ‘practical’, it’s popularity seems to be spreading rapidly, including to shooting clubs.
          Au contraire. That is just my point. In recent years, gun laws within the EU have been tightened so drastically that even practicing shooting at dummy human targets has been completely outlawed in most places. In order to weed out would-be IS recruits, range stewards and other shooting club functionaries have further been encouraged to report anybody who so much as looks as if he might be secretly imagining his bullets hitting actual people – and they do. Until a few years ago, recreational “combat shooting” flourished, but that is no longer the case.

          Even if the Chevaline killer had originally acquired his shooting prowess in a now-disbanded combat-shooting club, they would not have taught him about shooting through car windows, as such knowledge would have been considered too esoteric. In my opinion, he is either largely self-taught and “got lucky” on that score (which I believe is overwhelmingly likely), or he has had some really specialised training not available to most policemen or soldiers.

          Shot in the face. That last shot seems deeply personal, call it a signature if you like.
          Indeed, I view it as a personal signature, the ultimate expression of his hatred for his fellow man and his overall callousness, but that is not the sole potential explanation. Even on danger of muddying the waters and inviting pointless speculation, do read this article on “canoeing”:

    • michael norton

      If the PO6 was a very old untraceable weapon, this is unlikely to have been held in a single family since the inter-war years.
      This weapon has been held by a State organization for untraceable assasination.

      • Good In Parts

        michael norton

        Or kept in the back of an evidence locker in case someone needs a ‘planter’.

        You know how things get ‘misplaced’, anyone want a couple of passports ?

        • michael norton


          several points.
          This shootist was exceptional, special forces level and above.
          Special forces like the SAS would not be expected to use an eighty year old untraceable Luger.

          So, my thinking is more on the grounds of MI6 or the French / Italian / German /American / Israeli / Russian / Chinese equivalent.

  • Peter

    @ Good In Parts, January 26, 2017 at 13:24

    Paintball! That idea had completely eluded me, but it is an excellent one. Yes, paintball arenas are the only place left where one can acquire that kinds of hand-on tactical shooting experience against multiple targets. No joke, even ISIS recommends paintball practice to terrorists in training.

    Insofar as combat shooting proper is concerned, I have experienced the difficulties involved first-hand. Recently, I was looking for a shooting club where I could practice with a 9 mm pistol. Most clubs do not accept any new members at all, because they have been overrun by concerned citizens seeking to arm themselves. Of the few clubs offering anything that even remotely resembles combat shooting, many have been closed down or hounded off their (leased) ranges. Even the cops have trouble finding suitable shooting ranges nowadays. In many German cities, they do all their required training on simulators, firing blanks.

    • michael norton

      Actually, all the PO6 does not have to be eighty years old to throw investigators off the scent.
      They have the bullets, the cases and a fragment of the grip.
      Plus they have five gun shot victims, four dead and one alive. So they could tell, it was all from one weapon, the PO6, they could tell if the slugs were normal and if charges were normal.

      But the body of the gun could be much younger, with perhaps
      just the barrel and firing pin, 80 years old.
      This would give the impression that an 80 year old gun had been used, but the more modern gun, would be more reliable.
      Nobody would expect the actual bullets to be 80 years old.

      However, if a fragment of the grip had been recovered …. what would that show?

      If the recovered grip fragment was much more modern, that would be a “pointer”

      • Peter

        We have been there before, and these arguments don’t make any more sense now than they did when they were first aired. What is “untraceable” even supposed to mean in this context?

        Unless a specific gun has been used in a crime before, the bullets and cartridge cases fired from it can be matched only to the make and model of gun, not to any individual weapon. By contrast, an “untraceable” gun would be one the history and provenance of which could not be established even after the cops laid their hands upon it, for example because it bears neither serial numbers nor national proof marks. Paradoxically, such a hypothetical “untraceable” gun would be quite easy to trace at least in a general direction, because the absence of serial numbers and proof marks would scream “shadowy state actors involved”. Such unmarked guns do exist, but they are extremely rare and only make sense for missions where their state-agent users face a high risk of capture. For all other kinds of missions, it makes more sense to use a mass-market gun and destroy it immediately afterwards.

        The P06 used in the Chevaline murders evidently evidently has not been used in a major crime before or since. Thus, it is impossible to trace it to another offence and thereby, indirectly, to its owner(s). If the gendarmerie were ever to find it, they might or might not be able to trace its provenance. Its age might make that process more difficult than with more recent models, but they would probably manage anyway.

      • Good In Parts

        michael norton

        I’m with Peter on this one. I’ll just add that I did, myself, wonder whether it was actually a Swiss P06 or a different 7.65 cal Luger. At the time I was considering some of the weapons made in the UK by Vickers under licence.

        If I remember correctly the P06 made under licence by the Swiss had some minor differences in the bolt and/or extractor sufficient that witness marks on the spent cartridge should identify that particular model.

  • michael norton


    Let’s try and think through the “idea” behind using an eighty year old gun for The Slaughter of the Horses.

    Peter has said, being untraceable, is not really the point.
    However, it may (in my mind) be part of the point.
    What is then the real point?
    It must be to make a point.
    What would that point be?
    I suppose if the only intended victim was Sylvain Mollier, it could be a family / group point, to be made, from either the First World War, the Inter-War period or the Second World War. But why nominate Sylvain for something his grandfather may have been involved in, why not one of his brothers, his Dad or Dad’s brothers, why wait so terribly long?
    I do not think this really pans out, even for a family / group vendetta.
    Although the Hapless Eric did say , it may be a blood feud.

    If the sole target, was to have been, Sylvain Mollier, what in his life, could cause execution by 80 year old Swiss gun.
    The Savoie is an area of daily commute for some between The Savoie and Switzerland, no papers needing to be shown.
    However we have been told that Sylvain was a local man who did not venture far from The Savoie.
    BUT his back story is missing.

    I think clues would lie with his back story.

    Why would his family and The French State be so reluctant to tell the back story of Sylvain Mollier?

    • michael norton

      If Sylvain had been a criminal ( in the ordinary, accepted view) I am sure we would by now have heard of it but there has not been one sniff of written implication, published, therefore, I think we can dismiss the idea that Sylvain was a criminal.
      Was Sylvain a University student.
      No one has written that Sylvain went to University but if he was a metallurgist in the Nuclear Industry of France,
      he would have attended University.
      No one has written that Sylvain was ever a member of the armed services.

      He is a man without a back story.

      • michael norton

        Why would an assassin choose to use an eighty year old Swiss made gun, if not to make a point?
        Why would you assassinate a man with no back-history.
        Why would you also assassinate three other adults, shoot a child and bash her head with the gun butt?
        How could you get clean away , without the French Authorities apparently having a clue?

        Where would such an amazingly accurate, ruthless killer train with his eighty year old Swiss made gun?

        The only answer would seem to be an extremely efficient State – Killer.

        • Good In Parts

          michael norton

          OK then, how did such a “extremely efficient State Killer.” target SM ?

          Perhaps information supplied, that SM was going out on his velo ? If so, supplied by whom ?

          Or purely observation ? If so how long had be been stalking SM or was it just happenchance ?

    • Peter

      @ MN

      Personally, I don’t subscribe to the hypothesis that SM was the sole intended victim, but let us assume for a moment that he was. If so, the killer must have held some sort of deep personal grudge against him. In this rustic, close-knit environment, quite a few people would have known about that grudge, and would have put two and two together after SM’s death. Yet the killer was not to be deterred, he felt that he simply had to kill SM.

      So, how would he go about that? Given his shooting prowess, he is almost certainly a registered firearms owner. As someone known to harbour a grudge against SM, he realises that he will be amongst the first people whom the police will question after SM’s murder. Not only will they question him, they will seize at all his registered firearms and have them lab-tested. Thus, what he needs to whack SM is an unregistered firearm that nobody knows about. The P06 fits that bill perfectly. As it hails from an age predating firearms registration laws, it has probably never been registered, anywhere. As it is a valuable collectors’ piece that many collectors would never dream of firing for fear of spoiling it, an antique rather than a killing instrument, the seller would probably not have bothered reporting the sale to the authorities anyway. After all, the buyer of this lovely, expensive piece was hardly likely to go and knock over a bank with it, right?

      Getting hold of this unregistered firearm in an unrecorded cash transaction, from one gun enthusiast to the other, would have been step one for the killer. Even so, he is smart enough to realise that his known grudge against SM will put him at the centre of the police investigation, requiring him to account for his whereabouts on the day and so forth. His plan therefore requires a second element to deflect attention away from his motive: some random stranger(s) whom he will murder along with SM in order to muddy the waters, creating the impression that the deed was about them rather than about SM …

      • michael norton

        Peter, good.
        If the assassin knew the authorities would come for him, quickly,
        so he set this up a long time before, getting hold of the very old Swiss made gun.
        If it was known within the mountain fraternity that this terrible grudge would out, how does our local killer hide from forensics, the fact he has fired a gun.

        • Peter

          If it was known within the mountain fraternity that this terrible grudge would out, how does our local killer hide from forensics, the fact he has fired a gun.

          He would have needed to hide more than gunshot residue: blood spatters from Zainab on his clothing, shoe imprints that he left at the scene of the crime, and so forth. However, if he was/is a policeman or has had any other previous contact with the criminal justice system, he would have known how to erase his traces: by wearing gloves, by wearing brand-new boots without any discernible wear marks (a size or two too large if he really aimed for perfection), and by soaking his entire outfit plus the gun in concrete cleaner or drain cleaner afterwards, before dumping it into Lake Annecy.

      • Good In Parts


        “Yet the killer was not to be deterred, he felt that he simply had to kill SM.”

        This, a compulsion to act.

        Now, I am no trick-cyclist but I am willing to go full Dunning-Kruger on this one. I think that preparatory steps or dry runs could have assuaged his compulsive drive for quite a long time, maybe even years. Assuming that he has not committed other murders, he possibly felt that he could ‘manage’ his murderous compulsion until it burned itself out.

        So, something may have tipped him over the edge. A fancy velo and three years cycling-leave perhaps ?

        The fancy velo would have made SM much more visible and noticeable, an insufferable provocation and perhaps the final straw. The route and the destination may have influenced the killer as well.

        The “second element” to deflect attention away from his motive could be simply that he felt that his motive would be trumped in the eyes of les gendarmes by the motive of the in-laws, who must have been spitting nails. The very currency of their beef and their vocal tirades to friends on the council (and almost certainly family members if Parry is accurate) would place them at the top of the list. They would unwittingly provide the mask.

        And they did ! Their wall of silence stands to this day. They built it for their own purposes but it also protects the killer.

        P.S. you are spot on about the gun.

        • Peter

          @ GIP

          The “wall of silence” is not exclusively due to the Schutz-Morange families. The local economy is highly dependent on tourism. The notion that a psychopath randomly attacking tourist families might still be on the loose would be very, very bad for tourism. I believe that this thought was also von Eric Clouseau’s mind when he blithely asserted that the root-causes and motives for the murders were to be found in the UK: “nothing to do with us, it is safe here”. Even so, Chevaline locals complain about property prices having fallen and ghoulish amateur detectives flooding the place.

          At least on the face of it, I don’t think that the Schutz-Moranges would have had a sufficiently strong motive for zapping SM. First, he was not actually their son-in-law (at least not yet), secondly, their daughter had just borne his child. Granted, they will have viewed him as a lazy scrounger, not nearly good enough for their daughter, but such attitudes are hardly uncommon. Taking paid leave from work was the sensible thing for him to do in the circumstances, and by no means an unusual thing. The law encourages it, after all, and the Schutz-Moranges must have been glad that he did. The alternatives would have been for the Schutz parents themselves to continue working in the pharmacy for another few years, to hire a qualified pharmacist as a locum for the daughter, or to hire a full-time nanny. None of these alternatives would have been more appealing to them than having SM around as a “manny” paid for by his employers, with a nice bike thrown in in order to sweeten the deal for him.

          As I wrote before, I do not really believe that the AH family were deliberately used by the killer to muddy the waters in an Agatha-Christie-style plot akin to the “ABC Murders”. However, I could imagine SM being the primary target and the AHs being collateral victims. If so, I would imagine that the motive for his murder was something that had happened quite recently, an insult still fresh and raw. For example, many expectant mothers and new mothers go off sex for a while, and it is not uncommon for their partners to go astray during such time. Now that, SM having an affair with a married woman while Claire Schutz was pregnant with / had just borne his child, would be a good and proper motive: for said woman’s jealous husband to whack SM, and for the Schutz-Morange parents either to actively connive in that deed (less likely) or retrospectively cover it up and shield the perpetrator by feigning ignorance regarding potential motives for SM’s murder (more likely IMHO).

          • Peter

            PS: The notion that SM might have had an illicit affair with another woman, although pure speculation, could help explain a few things: 1. The killer knew that SM was going to arrive at the Martinet at that particular time because SM was there for an assignation with the killer’s wife. 2. The wife left the Martinet (in a BMW X5?) before SM arrived because she had seen her husband loitering there and knew that she had been rumbled. 3. SM had used his solitary cycling tours as an excuse for meeting up with said woman at the Martinet before. This was their usual place, secluded yet conveniently close to the village. When he found that she was not there, he simply waited for her. 4. As an experienced adulterer, SM had never given that woman his mobile number. Thus she could not warn him of the impending danger. 5. The Schutz-Moranges assumed that he was “lost” at the Martinet because he had previously told them that he would be going somewhere completely different. 6. The wife has not shopped her murderous husband because they have made up and/or she lives in mortal fear of him.

          • Good In Parts


            You noted that “The “wall of silence” is not exclusively due to the Schutz-Morange families”

            In that you are correct. Their partner in the project was SM’s employer. They are the party funding the legal attack dogs – see Parry page 184.

            Think about the ‘chilling effect’ that is going to have in a ‘local’ town like Ugine. What if you were a colleague of SM and had some information that was very pertinent but embarrassing, what would you do ?

            Risk the wrath of ‘the works’ ? Legal letters from your employers ! Pariah status ?

            I have previously posted my modest proposal that CS should ‘endorse’ a public appeal. See URI below. It looks like any such appeal would be wasted unless la proc also wheels out the site director to disavow their ‘unfortunate’ policy.


          • Good In Parts


            I agree with your assesment that SM taking paid leave from work was the sensible thing for him to do in the circumstances. However you noted that “. . . the Schutz-Moranges must have been glad that he did”.

            They should have been glad but allegedly they were not (Parry page 168).

            P.S. Is von Eric a gunsmith like von Dutch ?

  • michael norton

    Sylvain Mollier and Nicholas Thomas-Mollier, were the same age, they lived in the same neck of the mountains.
    Even if they were not very closely related, it would be strange if they had nothing in common or had never met.

    I suspect they were both involved with French Intelligence.

    • michael norton

      Sorry his name was Nicholas Mollier-Thomas.
      The Ugine area has a population of 43,000.
      I wonder what the odds would be of two same age Molliers both becoming dead through violent causes.
      One shot with an 80 year old Swiss Luger seven times, the other multiple barrel rolling off the bridge a few metres from his childhood home after having Sunday lunch with his mother, before driving the mile back to his young family, in daylight?

  • michael norton

    Just remembered:
    Eric Devouassoux, after he lost his job in Haute-Savoie, with the police.
    He commuted between Haute-Savoie and Switzerland.

  • Good In Parts

    Random thoughts about ‘the research department’.

    By now it is clear where their strength lies, e.g. tracking down all the CCTV betreen Savoie and La Manche and check it for vehicles following SAH, also tracking down the entire production run of a particular model of motorcycle helmet.

    Their latest wheeze is to track down all 40 something thousand P06 Luger pistols.

    The word I would use is ‘ambitious’.

    It is generally good to play to ones strength(s) so, is there an approach to solving this that could utilise them effectively ?

    Large scale DNA testing immediately springs to mind. But that would require political backing.

    Er, that’s it, pretty much.

    • michael norton

      One might wonder, why it took more than a year to track down the mysterious motorcyclist?
      One wonders if there was only ever one motorcyclist or if there were more than one motorcyclist?
      One wonders why the French Authorities have not been specific, on the “only ever one motorcyclist / more than one motorcyclist” question.

      The French Authorities apparently were given descriptions of a very special, side opening helmet, which they spent, some time on.
      When they had, at last identified, the mysterious motorcyclist, he was reported by the French Authorities as claiming
      “never to have owned, nor worn a special side opening helmet”

      Further more “They” reported him as saying,
      “not to have seen anyone, not William Brett Martin, not the shootist, not the little girl, nor, not Mrs. al-Hilli, nor the mother of, nor the very small girl, nor the BMW, no other motorcycle nor either of the ONF teams
      and particularly, he did not see Sylvain Mollier”

      How come the mysterious motorcyclist did not see anything, if he was actually there?

      • Good In Parts

        michael norton

        Because of the insistance by ONF1 and I paraphrase, that they (ONF2) had seen the same MC ten minutes later above Le Martinet. We have been here before :-

        “This whole ‘hash-up’ concept has further merit in offering an explanation as to why LMC was not discovered much earlier. The gendarmerie, having settled on their incorrect timeline would have derived an earliest possible cut-off time for LMC to be visible on the various CCTV feeds available to them. Similarly an earliest possible time to re-logon to the local cell base station would have been derived.

        Unfortunately the CCTV cut-off time would have been too late by a minimum of 10 minutes. In fact it would likely be nearer 15 or even 20 minutes. If I am correct it is no wonder that they did not find LMC for so long and some small credit is due to whichever gendarmerie officer had the insight or persistance to work backwards through the logs until they hit paydirt.”

  • Good In Parts


    Who knew a heavyweight programme like that could be so unbalanced and well, misleading ? They certainly threw Zaid under the bus.

    Still, it did lead to the release of the portrait-robot.

    Not to mention the international appeal for the X5 featured on crimewatch.

    Oh, wait. . .

  • Good In Parts

    Maintaining the fiction

    About that … the international appeal for the X5

    They never actually got round to formally cancelled it did they ?

    They would need to find another ‘secret husband’ to cover up that announcement.

    • michael norton

      The French Authorities
      have not yet said, “no need to keep looking for the E-FIT-ROBOT, it is an exact likeness of the mysterious motorcyclist who did not see anything”

      However a mysterious motorcyclists, was spotted by William Brett Martin on his way to fin The Slaughter of the Horses.

      • michael norton

        Could any contributor hazard a guess, why The French Authorities have not yet explicitly said,

        “No longer search for the person who resembles the E-FIT-Robot, for it is an exact likeness of the mysterious motorcyclist, who was up The Combe but who saw nothing”
        we have dismissed the story of William Brett Martin, who claimed he saw a mysterious motorcyclist, descending The Combe
        as William Brett Martin was ascending The Combe, to discover the scene of The Slaughter of the Horses, we nowq think W.B.M. imagined a motorcyclist, we have come to this conclusion because the motorcyclist we have identified, who we can not introduce to the public for security reasons, has told us he saw bugger all.
        We also now want you to stop looking for side-opening helmets because the witness who told us that story is a liar.
        Thank you for believing us”

  • Peter

    Good In Parts, January 30, 2017 at 19:04

    A small provincial town such as Ugine is probably composed of perhaps a dozen “leading families”, plus another dozen grudgingly-accepted families of “incomers”, plus lots of transient riff-raff. Both the established families and the incomers will be keenly aware that they will somehow have to get along in the decades to come. In my view, that awareness is the single most chilling effect insofar as witness statements regarding the potential motive are concerned. Even if the actual murderer were to be convicted following a tip-off, there would still be 20+ of his relatives hanging around the place, giving the informant the evil eye and plotting revenge. No witness protection scheme could possibly remedy this situation, unless the entire clan of the witness(es) agreed to be uprooted from their community, which I don’t consider particularly likely.

    Compared with that prospect, having the biggest local employer against you seems fairly insignificant. Yet it would also be in such an employer’s interest to avoid any potentially harmful rifts among the workforce, avoiding a potential scenario where vying factions of the workforce would battle it out during their lunch breaks with bats and knives. (Particularly so if the employers knew or suspected something that we do not, i. e., that SM was “seeing” the wife of a colleague at his factory. A few thousand Euros in legal fees would be a small price to pay for keeping the peace in that situation.)

    • Good In Parts


      All of the above.

      I understand the employers position. The gendarmes must too. They must surely realise that there is a good chance that such a climate is constraining people from coming forward.

      They must have realised this quite some time ago.

      So, why have they and la proc, not put a stop to it ?

  • Good In Parts

    Assuming SM as principal target, what can we infer ?

    Below is my summary of the killer Please critique and/or post your version.

    He could recognise SM and his fancy velo.
    He is aware of at least one of SM’s habitual cycling routes.
    He has local knowlwdge.
    He is reasonably fit.
    He is forensically aware.
    He is an excellent shot.
    He has some level of practical or tactical experience.
    He could change magazines on a Luger rapidly.
    He owned or had access to a P06.
    He was a man with a plan.
    He had transport.
    He had a ‘home’ base in the valley and surrounding mountain hamlets.
    He was not missed by colleagues or family that afternoon for whatever reason.

    • Peter

      @ GIP

      I would add to that list, principally to account for the (presumptive) fact that the encounter at the Martinet was a now-or-never moment for the killer, that he had to kill SM there and then despite multiple witnesses being present:

      – He and SM knew each other
      – He feared that SM might recognise him even if he wore a mask
      – He knew that SM would cycle to the Martinet on that day
      – He knew that, once SM had seen him at the Martinet, SM would realise that he was after him and would take steps to protect himself in future

      Also, merely “having access” to a P06 would not suffice. Surely the rightful owner of that P06 would have come forward immediately if he had nothing to do with the murders. No, the killer must have acquired (i. e. bought or stolen) that P06 on the sly, even forgoing the opportunity to show it off to fellow gun nuts. He probably acquired it with malice aforethought.

      It is furthermore not certain, but probable that he is:
      – aged 30+, i. e., mature enough to keep his mouth shut and not go to pieces after such a terrible deed
      – a self-employed labourer or craftsman with a vehicle that he uses for work, i. e., no fixed workplace and no colleagues to worry about. A gardener, for example.
      – has been through the criminal justice system before, a process during which he acquired his forensic awareness
      – not a career criminal and does not associate with such; otherwise, he would have been able to source something like a reactivated AK 74
      – legal gun owner who regularly practices with pistols on a shooting range, i. e., his previous conviction was fairly trifling and is long spent
      – a loner who “keeps himself to himself”
      – neat and tidy, probably quite good at his job
      – neither a drunk nor a drug freak

      • Good In Parts


        All of the above – well almost all of it anyway.

        “He knew that SM would cycle to the Martinet on that day” I tend to agree, the question is when did he know this and how ? I think that he could infer it, as being likely, merely from SM being on the cycle track.

        However, if it were simply a probabilistic inference, then a ‘checkpoint’ near Chevaline would seem desirable. This would affect ingress routes and timings. One possibility I explored was the 15:08 group portrait taken in Chevaline by the reticent photographer who, in this scenario, was hanging around waiting for SM to appear.

        Maybe he knew SM well enough to know that it was all but inevitable that having headed in that direction, he would cycle up the combe, so no checkpoint was needed (this is my current view).

        There are also obviously more unpalateble options involving information leaking from, or being leaked by, family and/or pharmacy staff.

        The question also arises as to how the killer knew the likely cycle routes. Was it just because he lived and worked in the area or was he a cyclist or runner himself ?

        Remember those skin flakes on the front bumper ? Presumably they are the source of the DNA found at the scene. Even allowing SAH to sideswipe the killer as he reversed, it is difficult to understand how skin flakes could be shed through say, heavy jeans.

        But through lycra cycling gear or a shell suit it would seem possible. Perhaps such thin clothing fits with your ‘soak and dispose’ method.

        • Peter

          @ GIP

          Shooting is a fairly expensive hobby, and a P06 is a fairly expensive gun. I would therefore assume that the killer is quite busy with his work and does not have the time to hang around deserted mountain roads on the off-chance that SM might turn up.

          Racing cyclists who enjoy conquering tough ascents have different training patterns. Some have their “own” ascents that they do several times in a row on a training day, ascending, coasting back down, ascending again, and so forth. Others would die of boredom cycling up and down the same stretch of road. SM appears to have been the kind of cyclist who liked a bit more variety, whose choice of route would rather be influenced by factors such as the strength and direction of prevailing winds, overall time available, how good his “legs” felt on the day, and spur-of-the-moment decisions. If so, his route would have been quite hard to predict even for himself – unless he had a standing appointment to meet up with someone at the Martinet every Wednesday at around three o’clock.

          Be that as it may, the skin flakes on the BMW’s front bumper can only have come from a (girl’s?) bare leg rubbing against that bumper whilst squeezing past the car or whilst sitting on its bonnet. Even gossamer tights would have prevented skin flakes from being deposited there; there is no difference in that regard between lycra and heavy denim twill. Likewise, the person leaving those traces cannot have worn trousers, a long skirt, leggings, stockings or tights, because, even if these garments had been worn through or torn in a collision, they would have left a shed load of textile fibres on the bumper. Thus, those skin flakes almost certainly have nothing to do with the case.

          Even if I do say so myself, my “soak and dispose” method (which is not really mine, but merely borrowed from some highly capable criminals) lends itself to the task in hand. Soaking the incriminating evidence in acid or some caustic solution will eliminate all DNA and blood traces within minutes. A little longer will also dissolve all textile fibres, and yet a little longer will start corroding the lands and grooves inside the barrel, the hammer and so forth, to a point where they are no longer forensically useful.

          • Good In Parts


            There are two traces associated with the BMW that we know about. One was under a mat, possibly blood, EM suggested it may have been left by a “detaileur” or “garagist”. The other is the skin flakes but neither match any of the victims.


            Then there is the DNA available to les gendarmes that allows them to eliminate suspects. Presumably that comes from the skin flakes, unless they have another source. Thus one could infer that the flakes are ‘fresh’, not dessicated or covered with road dust, and their disposition is not inconsistent with being left by the killer.

            Sure, they may have another source but they have not been shy of indicating that they have eliminated suspects using DNA evidence e.g. Eric D. so they must think there is a strong connection between the killings and at least one sample.

            I do accept what you say about skin flakes and lycra etc – leaving textile fibres makes total sense. So could we be looking at this kind of outfit:-


          • Good In Parts


            “an ‘expert’ working for a police forensics team ‘accidentally contaminated’ crime-scene material with his own DNA. – Highlighting the confusion involved, Mr Maillaud has nevertheless ordered DNA samples to be taken from up to 100 police and emergency workers who visited the murder scene, to make sure their DNA is potentially not confused with the killer’s.”

            It would be darkly ironic if one of those 100 were a bad apple, who is now not confused with the killer.


          • Peter

            I am not sure how relevant the DNA on the bumper is. Granted, the gendarmerie have claimed that they were able to rule out Eric Devouassoux on that basis, suggesting that they have found male DNA that is highly likely to be the murderer’s. Perhaps that was a tactical exaggeration, though, because neither the skin flakes on the bumper nor beneath the floor mat would seem to fall into that category. Unless there is something that they are keeping to themselves, for example that those skin flakes were commingled with blood from one of the victims …

            Likewise, it is unclear how good the DNA traces on the bumper are. Even a very incomplete trace would suffice to rule out a suspect, but not to rule anybody in. Conversely, if they had complete DNA, they could work out the hair and eye colour of the person who left it, plus a few other things.

  • Good In Parts


    “a self-employed labourer or craftsman with a vehicle that he uses for work, i. e., no fixed workplace and no colleagues to worry about. A gardener, for example.”

    Certainly. The bonus could be that with such a vehicle, if identified or stopped, he could fall on his sword and fess-up to fly-tipping shredded garden waste in le forêt.

  • Q

    Momentarily switching gears with a lone wolf mass murder over the pond.

    A university student armed with a restricted weapon, namely an AK-47, he was radicalized by Marine Le Pen, according to reports. (Shades of the unwelcome interference by De Gaulle in another era:

    Also reported previously was Alexandre Bissonnette’s partipation in Cadets Canada, a national youth leadership program that teaches many skills including marksmanship (using Daisy air rifles). He was shown in the Army Cadet uniform. I guess those skills are transferable. Today, however, no media outlet is discussing the army cadets or the AK-47. Unlike our gun-toting neighbors to the south, most Canadians prefer to avoid this topic. Weird Al Yankovic mocked the situation in his “Canadian Idiot” satirical song. We don’t take guns to the mall. We’re proud of that. We’re not like St. Louis, Missouri, where home invasions regularly feature the AK-47. How did he get hold of one here?

    Also missing in today’s coverage is the initial report that the perp is a terrorist. Police now say they charges against him are based on the evidence at hand so far. The evidence doesn’t support terrorism charges, not yet anyways.

    The Montreal massacre of 1988 targeted women. This time it was Muslim men.

  • Q

    The lone wolf was a member of a gun club. Average Canadians do not carry weapons, nor do they buy AK-47s. Cross the border in some places and you see billboards advertising guns and ice cream for sale in the same store. It’s a different culture.

    The man who was arrested as a suspect but later released said he was actually applying first aiid to shooting victims when the police arrived on scene. He saw a man with a gun and thought the shooter had returned, so he panicked and ran away. The man with the gun was a police officer. The shooter phoned police 20 minutes later and turned himself in on a bridge.

    Instinct takes over, flight or fight.

  • Q

    Daisy manufactures CO2 cartridges for the P08 airsoft Lugers. BTW, this particular airsoft gun seems very popular on online sites, often sold out. Any 16-year-old with proof of age can buy one. Parents buy them for younger kids.

    A peculiar thing is the tendency of some people to be natural marksmen, from the first time out. Especially peculiar is the ability of some of these naturals to be very adept with a weapon sighted for a right-handed person.

    • michael norton

      There ought to be a deep clue
      in the use of an eighty year old Swiss gun, and the daily commute without papers that people undertake between the Savoie and the land of the Swiss. The most likely place to obtain an eighty year old Swiss manufactured gun would probably be Switzerland.
      Guns are kept at home in Switzerland, especially in the mountains.
      Now remember that Eric Devouassoux kept a number of weapons, at his various homes, Eric is rather well off.
      After he left his job as a policeman, he got a job in Switzerland.
      It has been said that a previous Mollier and a previous Devoassoux were famous mountaineers.
      Now, did Eric Devouassoux KNOW Sylvain Mollier?
      Did Eric obtain the killing gun from Switzerland.
      Did Eric hold a grudge against Sylvain.
      What was the underlying reason Eric was removed from his police job, he had been held in regard for his bravery, he has been described as a taciturn mountain man.

      Eric has a home in Lathuile, his gun nut friend also lives in Lathuile, W.B.M lives in Lathuile, the campsite woman was shot dead in Lathile, just after the E-FIT-SKETCH was released.
      Eric’s in-laws live in Chevaline, he used to be a brave local policeman, he looks like the E-FIT picture.
      After being got rid of from the police, he commuted between Haute-Savoie and Switzerland, he owns many properties,
      he was in the vicinity at the time of the slaughter.

      If a well off, brave, quiet, very local, ex-policeman, a super gun enthusiast, were to be involved, he might have the knowledge, to not leave DNA at the scene.

      However i do not think Eric did it.
      But why did they release him so quickly, he would seem to tick every possible box?

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