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7,910 thoughts on “Not Forgetting the al-Hillis continued

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  • Q

    Tyvek coveralls are used by some criminals to avoid leaving DNA at crime scenes. One recently ordered all the gear for murder online, with a credit card. He obtained a false identity, credit cards and bank cards from a dead person for the sake of murder. There is always a digital trail for this kind of thing.

    Those tyvek suits could fit under other clothes easily enough.

  • Good In Parts

    CSI Bordeaux

    Looks like EM brought in an outside lab after the contamination incident. From the Daily Mail article on DNA contamination :-

    “The contamination is believed to have happened at the IRCGN headquarters at Rosny-sous-Bois, north of Paris.”</em.

    “Now Mr Maillaud insists that no ‘significant’ DNA clues were left at the scene, despite work on samples still being carried out by the IRCGN, and by Christian Doutremepuich, a professor who runs a state-of-the-art laboratory in Bordeaux, in south west France. “

    The professor with the outlandish name is certainly confident of his own ability :-

    And a prolific author of posibly relevant papers too.

    “…the laser microdissection, is used in complement of classical method to analyse contact cells… …One to ten cells are sufficient to obtain a DNA profile”

  • Peter

    @ Good In Parts, February 1, 2017 at 18:03

    No other scientific field could possibly be as rife with frauds as forensics. That includes academics working in gender- or media studies, who, on the whole, have comparatively benign intentions, do not pretend to be “hard” scientists and do not need to eke out a living helping to put other people behind bars. I have not looked at the work of Professor Doutremepuich in any detail, but something tells me that it would be a real field day for the defence to have him on the witness stand, explaining what he exactly it is that he does, how he does it and how statistically robust his results really are. Helping the defence rubbish the prosecution’s expert witnesses is a little sideline that evolved from my own modest efforts as a crime writer, but I have found it to be both incredibly easy and richly satisfying.

    Insofar as the 100 (!) first responders whose DNA Eric Clouseau ordered to have collected are concerned, what can I say? It is standard practice to keep the DNA profiles of police forensics personnel (“authorised trace originators”, to give a clumsy translation of the German-language technical term) on file in order to distinguish them from those of the perpetrator (the “unauthorised trace originator”) – but, damn, 100 people who did or could have waltzed through that crime scene are 90 too many. IMHO, that circumstance just underlines that this is a provincial police force that is or was completely out of its depth in dealing with this incident.

    • Good In Parts


      Totally. All of it.

      At least they are not administering polygraphs !

      Those ‘authorised trace originators’ should already have been on file but presumably were not…

      I wonder whether they got a sample from that recovery truck driver ?

      One reason I wonder, is that the trace could have been from the ‘inside’ of the bumper where he may have secured the tarp. It’s discovery was announced a long time after the contamination crisis. So it probably was not picked up in the first round of testing.

      And don’t get me started about the tarp.

    • michael norton

      I thought you were meaning a representative of the gun maker came from Switzerland to Canada.

      Do we think it is the grip fragment, which has pointed to the Slaughter of the Horses weapon being pre-war?

      • michael norton

        It would be stunning if the lead slugs were eighty years old.

        It would be stunning if the cases were eighty years old.

        It was be stunning if the powder was eighty years old.

        • Good In Parts

          michael norton

          Approx 30 years ago I was asked to ‘look at’ the stability of some old ammunition. Approx late 19th century stuff in completely disintegrated thick cardboard boxes. The question being, was it viable ?

          This turned out to be boxes of large calibre copper rimfire cartridges similar to these

          The primer was indeed viable. Being rimfire, shoveling them into a skip would not have been a good idea !

  • Good In Parts

    Cherchez la femme.

    Persistent seducteurising has it’s risks, not only irate husbands but also, to put it plainly, the odd bunny boiler now and again.

    So, she dumped her merely adequate husband to be with him and now he doesn’t want her !

    Maybe her new, crackhead, boyfriend got fed up with her obsessive ranting every time she saw a certain velo go past their trailer park…

  • michael norton

    O.K. let us imagine an eighty year old Swiss manufactured Luger, with ammunition of the same vintage.

    As far as we know, this gun had not been used in a crime, it all worked well.
    Where had this weapon and ammunition been stored.
    Why was it held in readiness, all these decades.
    Where would the assassin practise, with out anyone knowing or finding it strange, he was using an 80 year old gun with 80 year old ammunition.
    This assassin must be an exceptional shootist, with the most unusual weapon.

    Where in the world, would an eighty year old gun, with 80 year old ammunition, be used with such accuracy and such deadly force in such a short time
    and no trace, left of the assassin.

    It is the stuff of legends
    or make believe.

    • Peter

      The probs and stats say that this was indeed new ammunition. In the light of Eric Clouseau’s remarks about “Serbian assassins”, it was probably made by Prvi Partizan, a Serbian company and the largest manufacturer still producing ammunition of that calibre. The calibre is so unusual nowadays that I believe the police stand a better chance of tracing the killer by following up regional purchases of this type of ammunition than by trying to find out where he bought the pistol.

      Where would the assassin practise, with out anyone knowing or finding it strange, (…)
      Or without anyone asking him for permission to pose for a selfie with that gun, I might add. Anyway, a very good question. Before getting down to practising moves such as swift magazine changes, the killer would have needed to reassure himself that the pistol would not blow up in his hands, for example by clamping it into a vice and tying a length of string onto the trigger. Doing so on a public shooting range would have raised eyebrows … Therefore, I would presume that the killer has some kind of workshop or “man cave” that is either soundproofed or so isolated that he can test-fire pistols there without attracting undue attention.

      • michael norton

        Thank you Peter.
        I had not really considered it likely that 80 year old ammunition would be used.
        You are right, if the ammunition is very modern and from Užice, better to trace the ammunition, after all they have the lead slugs and the shell cases. I am sure they must have done that in four years?
        During the 1990s Užice’s economy shrank rapidly due to war and instability in the region.

        In 1999 the city was bombed multiple times during the Operation Allied Force.
        The largest scale bombing occurred on May 6, 1999 when NATO forces bombed many roads and highways,
        the airport, civilian buildings and government buildings.
        After this, thousands of people turned out at the city’s main square to protest the bombings and destruction of the city
        and killings of civilians.
        This town only seems to be sixteen miles from the border with Bosnia.

        • michael norton

          Wasn’t there a Balkan looking man, sniffing around one of the campsites and engaging Mr. al-Hilli in animated conversation?

  • michael norton

    For two consecutive days, the 27th BCA Alpine hunters trained last week in the Bauges, near Cusy. The interest of this exercise was to review the tactical bases in the mountains. It is all the know-how of the Alpine hunters that the section of Lieutenant Stéphane has implemented. On this occasion the corps commander, Colonel Vola, came to observe the chalet du Trousset.

    By 7 o’clock the warriors of the 4th Company were on the war footing. The waxed skins, the sealskins ready, the Famas on the shoulder, the white uniform and the battle vest, the hunters were concentrated on a fictitious but well prepared mission: terrorists on the way to taking action on Annecy had to Being near a refuge in the Bauges.

    Objective: to apprehend them alive, to seize their weapons and documents that can inform about their intentions and their possible accomplices.

    At nine o’clock, the blue devils got into trucks and headed for Cusy. The temperatures were around -6 ° C, the mist did not let any ray of sunlight pass. Arriving in the area, the section was divided into three groups. The soldiers put on the skis and took the snowy path that climbs towards the objective. The groups were protecting each other along the road. The troops advanced without making a noise, not a word was uttered except the head of section who regularly gave his orders to the radio.
    Spy the enemy zone

    At noon, the section of 35 hunters, was near the cottage of Trousset. It was time to leave the skis to sink into the vegetation and spy on the enemy zone. The reports dated back to the lieutenant. Three people were actually in the vicinity of the cottage, with no weapons in sight. But prudence remained. One group was in charge of the assault. He was supported by another, who remained on the edge to support them, while the 3rd group had descended further down to intercept a possible fugitive.

    The assault was given, the Alpine hunters approached the refuge, encircled it before entering the building and apprehending the three suspects. After searching and preventing these individuals, a group inspected the site. The search proved useful: three pistols were found on the men, and two assault rifles were hidden in the cottage. The terrorists had not had time to retaliate or to flee. None of the wounded were to be deplored on the side of the Alpine chasseurs.

    The mission was a success. The exercise ended at 2 pm. Colonel Vola came to give his verdict. The foundations were good, but collective coordination was still needed. This will require reiterating this type of training, to the delight of the military. They were at the heart of their specialty.

    I wonder if the Slaughter of the Horses assassin could be a person who has served in the 27th BCA

  • Q

    I wonder why people who get involved in spying end up dead in their vehicles due to heart attacks (!).

    Then again, I wonder why we’re wondering where the weapon at Chevaline originated, when one of the easiest places on earth to find unregistered antique weapons and suitable ammo is probably the USA. Antique collectors (!) might have the fast track on how to get just about any weapon for a price. Trophies were taken by soldiers on both sides in WWII. Many of those soldiers have passed away by now, and their trophy weapons sold in estate sales or otherwise. To get an undocumented weapon into France, ship a vehicle shipped from overseas, preferably by a nice elderly couple. Or something.

    • Peter

      @ Q

      The Swiss did not fight in WWII, did they? The only combatants who would have used Swiss ordnance pistols in WWII were French resistance fighters. They were a lot of them in the Savoie region, and it is possible that a local inherited that P06 from his maquisard grandfather. It is also possible that it trickled down to later paramilitary groups such as the Service d’action civique before ending up in somebody’s loft.

      It is no coincidence that Eric Devouassoux illegally owned a shed full of WWII weaponry. The arsenal used by the maquisards never left that region; even today, the mountains must be dotted with arms caches. In short, the idea that someone would have had to re-import that P06 from the US seems rather far-fetched.

      • Good In Parts


        You wrote:- “even today, the mountains must be dotted with arms caches.” Indeed, I seem to remember that the investigation brought one to light, that of Eric Devouassoux’s compadre Jean-Luc Falcy.

        When I wrote upthread “He owned or had access to a P06” such caches were the kind of thing I was thinking of. The bonus would be that even if the untraceable weapon had recoverable DNA, it would not be his !

        Maybe someone is consciously not checking his cache for fear of what he might not find there.

      • Q

        Way, way back before anyone else had thought of it, I was the one who pointed to the Maquis, the caches and the caves on the original thread. 🙂

        I wanted to point out that this is a popular item for collectors overseas. Not all antique dealers deal in little dolls and trinkets, right Jim?

        Knowing that right in this area, the FBI had found an elderly couple who smuggled jewels into the country in their big American vehicle, it isn’t that farfetched at all. This is the land of (bodies in) lakes, of international fugitives being hunted down by the long arm of the law, of a mysteriously placed man in the Chevaline massacre on the Mount with the name of a WWII Operation Mincemeat fictional character.

        Ordinary Airsoft afficionados are also very found of that particular metal replica weapon, so a younger generation of history buffs is continuing the legacy. Weapons skills from different but still lowly air rifles are apparently transferable to all manner of other high-end automatic guns. (Witness video posted by one of my country’s politicos at a gun range in Florida at the time of the mosque massacre).

      • Q

        They don’t know its provenance through time. It’s all speculation. All we have is historical records showing ranges of when and where that type of weapon was manufactured and general records about the use of that make and model. There is zero information about that particular weapon, unless the authorities are lying and actually have it locked away in an evidence storage locker.

        Or, it may have been reported stolen. Sometimes people report break-ins and stolen weapons which were not actually stolen. You know, sell a weapon under the table without paperwork, find out it has been used in a crime, then suddenly “discover” it missing to cover your tracks. Cars are sometimes “stolen” too, when they get in a hit and run while the owner is intoxicated.

        This was stuck in moderation, so I have reposted it.

  • michael norton

    Would it be possible for somebody to explain the thinking behind,
    1) the gun used came from Switzerland
    2) the gun used was pre-second world war

    thank you

    • Q

      They don’t know its provenance through time. It’s all speculation. All we have is historical records showing ranges of when and where that type of weapon was manufactured and general records about the use of that make and model. There is zero information about that particular weapon, unless the authorities are lying and actually have it locked away in an evidence storage locker.

      Or, it may have been reported stolen. Sometimes people report break-ins and stolen weapons which were not actually stolen. You know, sell a weapon under the table without paperwork, find out it has been used in a crime, then suddenly “discover” it missing to cover your tracks. Cars are sometimes “stolen” too, when they get in a hit and run while the owner is intoxicated.

    • michael norton

      Very interesting Q,
      so for one thousand Euros, you should be able to pick up a fully functioning original 1920’s Luger,

      • Peter

        That is still twice as much as you would pay for a 9mm Glock with an extended 21-round magazine. The trouble is that, unless you count the kind of people who rob gun stores amongst your friends, it is impossible to get hold of an unregistered Glock. By contrast, the killer could easily have bought the P06 from a local collector or traded it for another type of gun without any kind of paperwork.

        • michael norton

          Surely, it would be a criminal offence, in France, to sell or buy a gun, without documentation.
          Don’t the Authorities in France care about gun crime?

  • Q

    Something has bothered me about the aerial surveillance aspect of the al-Hilli story. Why did’t we hear about the clients of this business or specific projects undertaken? Not relevant, or not to be revealed?

    In my country, a murder trial is underway, with a key piece of aerial surveillance footage as evidence. A company unwittingly captured images of the bodies of three murder victims in a field. This surveillance was being done as part of a road construction project, I believe. It was dumb luck, considering the victims disappeared without a trace and their bodies were not recovered.

    • michael norton

      I thought it quite strange, a very, very, very local, recognized brave police officer, would be dismissed for fuel “miss-direction” it sounded like a reason to explain to the public, why he was let go. No charges, though.
      This is a well off man, with multiple homes, and at least one Luger and at least one motorcycle.
      There are connections between Devouassoux and Mollier, both similar age, both very, very, very local, both very, very fit.
      Both with local history, of which we no next to nothing.

      • michael norton

        I’ll have a go at a conspiracy theory.
        Mollier was going to be bumped off.
        First set up a fall guy.
        Devouassoux, could be made to fit the bill, especially if he had been let go from the police and felt slighted.
        So, the fuel stealing thing was a set up, to give a reason, without fuss to have Devouassoux dismissed.
        This would make him narky. No doubt it would be known by some that Jean-Luc Falcy & friend Eric did some dealing in interwar -war time weapons.
        Have an E-FIT-SKETCH made up to look like Eric.

        Kill a other innocents at the same time.
        Put an imbecile like Eric Clouseau in charge.
        Don’t release the E-FIT-SKETCH until a year has gone by.
        Immediately have a very local person killed.

        These four factors would so cloud the waters as to excite, scare, confuse everyone.

    • Q

      How well equipped was Saad al-Hilli’s aerial survey company? I am following a trial right now involving aerial images that are being presented in a triple murder case. The images were produced by a camera that costs $1.5 million. It’s hooked up to all the latest satellite technology, GPS, LIDAR, etc.

      If SHTECH was really doing this kind of work, a considerable investment in technology had to have been made. These cameras are so effective that they may have captured images of three victims with their killer standing nearby.

      Or was SHTECH just flying over farms, snapping souvenir photos for farmers, or doing nothing at all as a shell company?

      • Q

        Following up on the latest from the trial, the images of bodies weren’t discovered until the year after they were taken, from 2600 metres above the scene. The survey company made the discovery and contacted police. The police hadn’t contacted them.

        The survey was done to discover new infrastructure for the municipality, for tax purposes. A shiny roof à la Chevaline might be a giveaway. Bodies were never on the agenda.

  • Good In Parts


    Upthread on February 3, 2017 at 11:27 michael norton posted a story from Le Dauphine.It includes a minor detail that made me think, to wit, the exercise was focused on “du chalet du Trousset” also described as a “refuge”.

    A couple of weeks ago I posted a nice timeline in which, co-incidently, the track used by the killer passes near a chalet :-

    Unless I am wrong and am looking at some old barn on the satellite imagery, it is this one :-

    Depuis le parking du Martinet de la Combe d’Ire, monter en direction des Chalets de l’Eau Froide.
    Vers la côte 1420m, une piste remonte nord-est en direction du Chalet des Barbus, situés à 5 minutes à peine.
    La Fontaine se situe à proximité immédiate du chalet et a un très bon débit.
    ATTENTION : le chalet des Barbus est privé et fermé, merci de respecter ces lieux.
    La fontaine est libre d’accès.
    Le lieu est aussi parfois utilisé par l’ONF.
    Le débit semble assez régulier toute l’année.
    Il reste à vérifier si elle coule malgré tout en hiver.

    Pour le nom de la fontaine, l’origine est (très certainement) liée au physique des 2 très sympathiques propriétaires, qui portent tous les deux une barbe très bien fournie !

    It is a private, locked, chalet however it is sometimes used by the ONF !

    So, presumably they have a key then.

    Anyways, I started thinking that maybe I was over-constraining my timeline by requiring the bad actor to collect his ‘killin kit’ from ‘home’. Perhaps he had pre-cached it.

    It is not so far-fetched (literally as well), after all the killer went to a lot of trouble to do this and get away with it.

  • michael norton

    Much of this story is in the quite local area of Lathuile/Arnand/Chevaline.
    The combined populations of these villages is one thousand people.
    The in-laws of Eric Devouassoux live in Chevaline.
    Eric Devouassoux was a recently dismissed local police officer, who owns multiple properties, he has/had a property in Lathuile, he
    has/had a motorcycle, he deals/dealt in old munitions as does his mate
    Jean-Luc Falcy, who also lives in Lathuile.
    The woman who was shot dead, Nicole Communal-Tournier, was shot dead in her home in Lathuile, one week after the release of the E-FIT-Sketch, which was a likeness of Eric Devouassoux. Eric Devoussoux was proved by his cell phone to be in the vircinity at the time of the Slaughter of the Horses.

    Now, I don’t think Eric Devouassoux did it.
    But in a place of only 1,000 persons, he would almost certainly be the only patsy who would suit a fit-up.

  • Good In Parts


    I seem to remember that the off-the-shelf company that was allegedly doing aerial survey work was called something like ‘AMS nnnn’ (where nnnn was a number e.g. 1234).

    Although I am still open to all pistes, including SAH and/or other members of the SAH party, the probabilities I assign to each one have shifted as a consequence of my own interpretation of evidence and my understanding of the state of play within the investigation.

    There are still pistes relating to SAH that are unresolved (that the investigation seemed unwilling to proceed with or discuss publicly).

    If overhead shots are your ‘thing’, why not focus on access to satellite imagery ?

    • Peter

      @ GIP

      Explosive ordnance disposal is a rather benign activity, and it is easy to see why people in that line of work would want an axe that is not electrically conducive. Then again, my letter opener is a carbon-fibre EOD knife that is so lightweight that I could wear it taped to my forearm all the time without even noticing it and that I could take on any passenger airplane if I wanted to (which I don’t). Thus, these EOD tools cut both ways, as it were 😉

      • Good In Parts


        Surely it would get in the way of a forearm magazine carrier, now that would be embarassing to be still wearing at check-in.

        A while ago I floated my opinion that the killer probably had a reserve weapon such as a boot knife. This was in the context of possibly running out of ammunition. My view then was that he had qualms about using it on a young girl and thus resorted to a blunt instrument.

        Perhaps an axe would be easier to explain away. It would need to be light though.

        • Peter

          A while ago I floated my opinion that the killer probably had a reserve weapon such as a boot knife. This was in the context of possibly running out of ammunition.

          This is one point (or at least one of the points) that any scenario framing SM as the sole intended victim must satisfactorily account for: why-oh-why would the killer feel the need to carry that much ammunition, plus, as you suggest, a boot knife, if all he intended to do was to kill a single victim? And why would a local killer have bothered acquiring a vintage P06 pistol for the purpose, if he could have simply used his trusty old shotgun (a weapon that is not even considered a weapon in those parts, but rather a ubiquitous household implement)? Surely two loads of shot to the chest, in and of themselves forensically unusable, should have sufficed to finish off SM?

          I obviously do not know the answer, but, at least in my view, this is a key question: why do it like that?

          • Good In Parts


            I am certainly happy for any and all of my humble proposals to be critiqued. Without feedback it is all to easy to go off down the rabbit hole.

            Currently, my preferred scenarios have SM as the principal or primary target but not necessarily the only person the killer was willing to shoot, or shoot at, that day.

            So, to address the quantity of ammunition; simply contingency, preparedness for unforseen events. The shooter carried the maximum reliable quantity of rounds in each of the three magazines that were included with the P06 when issued. The ‘cost’ in the form of a weight penalty would be minimal.

            A ‘darker’ answer could be that the killer intended to confront and ‘toy’ with his victim, not just shoot him in the face. There might be an indication of such a confrontation in ‘the shouting’ that preceeded the shooting.

            As to pistol rather than shotgun; larger capacity, ease of concealment, lightweight and practical to run and fight with. With a shotgun there would also be a ‘danger’ that the victim would be killed instantly and painlessly.

            The arguments in favour of a P06 versus a modern weapon have been well rehearsed, not least by yourself !

            The shooter had a plan (however delusional or drug-addled). He must have considered certain eventualities. My opinion is that he would have a reserve weapon in keeping with whatever backstory he had prepared if challenged at some point.

            A ‘woodsman’ may carry a knife or axe. A ‘carpenter’ doing some maintenance on a refuge may have a number of sharp pointy things, any one of which may happen to be tucked into his belt.

            A ‘hiker’ may have a trekking or hiking pole, which would be useful if he climbed up the zig-zags, or through the woods, as he made his escape. Some of those poles are collapsible, not to mention having extremely sharp retractable tips.

          • Peter

            @ GIP

            A ‘darker’ answer could be that the killer intended to confront and ‘toy’ with his victim, not just shoot him in the face. There might be an indication of such a confrontation in ‘the shouting’ that preceeded the shooting.

            Yes, that makes sense. In wartime, shooting one’s foe twice in the head might be the most humane way of despatching him, but doing the same to unarmed women trapped inside a stuck car like fish in a barrel has a certain sadistic quality to it. I had not considered this before, but perhaps the killer really wanted to make SM suffer.

            I would also suggest that shooting his victim(s) very precisely with a pistol might hold some intrinsic appeal for the killer. As he obviously is a very good shot, he is likely to consider precision shooting a thing of beauty in and of itself. This is what he does, this is what he is really good at, perhaps the only thing that he is really good at. A thought that occurred to me just now: perhaps he wanted to leave his personal signature with a few well-placed shots, either to flatter his own vanity and/or to leave a message to others? After all, any old rube could have finished off SM with a double-barrelled shotgun, but this was *his* way of doing it … (Alas, this line of thought leads me back to Patrice Menegaldo. This is how I would expect an ex-sniper to think, not some randomly-selected member of the public.)

  • michael norton

    SAVOIE Montmélian: a woman killed by a bullet -crime of passion?
    09 H 07: This Wednesday morning, just before 7 am, a shooting occurred in the industrial zone of Montmélian. One person was killed and one seriously wounded who was transported by helicopter to Grenoble. The gendarmes are there. The circumstances of the shooting are still unknown.
    10 M 06: The gendarmerie’s criminal identification technicians are still there and are investigating. The men from the research brigade are also on the scene. A security perimeter was established around the crime scene. The facts occurred in the industrial zone of Montmélian along the Paul-Louis Merlin road.
    14: 37: The person killed this morning is a woman. According to our information, it was his companion who shot him before turning the weapon against him and seriously injuring himself. So it could be a crime of passion.

    • michael norton

      The Flon Bridge over Gorges de l’Arly, was were Nicholas Mollier Thomas did barrel rolling to his death.

      UGINE Il a failli être écrasé par des rochers dans les gorges de l’Arly
      Fabrice swings between anger and relief. Monday evening, on the RD 1,212 in the Gorges de l’Arly, while returning from his job (the construction of a new hotel in Megève), this Chamberer carpenter had the fright of his life.

      “Shortly after 6:30 pm, with my passenger, we had just dropped off my other colleague in Praz-sur-Arly. When I passed the level of the Flon bridge, with the deluge falling, I said to my colleague: “Tomorrow you will see, if it happens it will have fallen in the Gorges”. Less than ten minutes later, at the level of Moulin-Ravier, it was in front of his car that blocks fell. Blocks, not simple stones.
      “I could not do anything, I climbed the rocks”

      “A first car avoided a block, but other rocks fell between her and me. I could not do anything, I climbed on it. “The balance of the shock, the grille damaged, the underside of the vehicle torn, a damaged wheel and a punctured tire.

      “While we were still in the middle of the pavement, three other cars arrived and also had damage: torn tires, sprayed casing. Nothing was to be seen! With my colleague, we were able to push a big block that hindered the upstream direction to avoid another accident. Then two TDL gear arrived and cleaned everything up. “But no one asked us how we were going. My call to the gendarmes, knowing that there was no victim, remained in vain. I would have liked them to see the damage, the size of the blocks. ”

      Thanks to her assistance, a tow truck from the Palau garage came to get her car. He and his passenger returned to Chambéry by taxi.

      “I have a car ready until the weekend, but I do not know how I will get to work on Monday. The expert will only pass by Friday, but at Jean Lain’s in Albertville, I have already been told that my car was wrecked. We will give me 2 000 € of my Honda Civic of 2006 with 200 000 km! ”
      “This road continues to collapse and becomes a real danger”

      Fabrice also wants to be positive: “I was lucky in my misfortune. I prefer to have typed in these rocks rather than fallen on the roof. But what should we say in front of this road that is constantly collapsing and becomes a real danger? ”

      No one forgot that on January 25, 1992, a 20 tons rock had three-quarters flattened a 4×4 leaving his driver miraculously unscathed.

  • Good In Parts


    My guess is that he wanted SM to know who and why ! Plus a little time to reflect on his transgressions (whilst writhing in pain). The shooter could have killed him with the first volley.

    A spent cartridge was found an undefined distance beyond the taped-off area. The first shot was most likely fired after the shouting started but before the killer reached the bridge.

    My view of the sightline of the approach from the first hairpin is that SM would be, let’s say, more prominent at the very least. Throw in a rushed approach plus seeing-red induced tunnel vision.

    Remember, SM was certainly shot before SAH.

  • Good In Parts

    michael norton

    We, here, cannot be sure.

    We can only take the view expressed by the experts, as mediated through EM, on trust.

    Check out the first photo in this link – – it is a top view showing different extractors used. Presumably the different extractors leave different marks on cartridges. Thus an 06 should be distinguishable from an 00 model.

    Also this link – – This has side views of “Le modèle 1906 W-F” and two variants of “Le modèle 1929”

    One could also infer that the broken pieces of wooden plaquette imply it was not one of the later tranche of weapons produced however parts could have been replaced.

    P.S. production at WF Bern for the Swiss military finished in 1946 and for commercial sales in 1947.

  • Good In Parts

    The schedule

    15:35 SAH – not predictable unless lured.
    15:37 SM – predictable to the minute from an earlier observation.
    15:40 WBM – predictable by the time he reaches Chevaline.
    15:44 PB – predictable days in advance but arrival time fuzzy, unless observed picking up the key.

  • Good In Parts

    Shot in the street.

    Anyone remember the ‘amour’ of SM who was interviewed by some french hack and quoted by Parry?

    She allegedly stated that SM had told her words to the effect that he had to be careful because he was afraid of being shot in the street.

    Let’s say that again … shot in the street

    Les gendarmes were champing at the bit when they heard that SAH had expressed fears for his life.

    And the wreckless Eric burbled at length about just how easy it was to investigate SMand his life, what with him being local and everything.

    • michael norton

      Has the new Prosecutor in Annecy, actually said they are now focusing their attentions on the back-story of Sylvain Mollier?

      If they are not delving into the life of Sylvain Mollier, they will not catch the assassin.

      • michael norton

        If they do not delve into the back story of Syvain Mollier and those associated with him, there will be
        no intention to discover the assassin!

        Hence government or deep state involvement.

  • Peter

    Off-topic, but I simply cannot help myself: They did it for the lulz!
    Unbelievable as it may sound, I am genuinely inclined to believe that the two women who recently poisoned Kim Jong-nam honestly did not realise that they had been recruited to carry out a hit (rather than a “prank” or, more likely, a punishment attack such as spraying a mildly caustic substance into his face). I can think of no other explanation for both of them turning up at the same airport again two days later, trying to catch a flight home. Whoever recruited them is probably back in Pyongyang already, *lol*ing his head off.

    • Good In Parts


      I shall join you ‘off-piste’ by pointing out some parallels between the MH370 and Chevaline investigations.

      Having previously noted here that “we have been deep in ‘outlier’ territory for some time now”, those following the MH370 search seem only now to be arriving at the same conclusion.

      See MH370: Triumph of the Weird over at

      A brief quote:- “Where does that leave us? … For one thing, with radically altered probabilities of what might have happened.” Well now, that sounds familiar . . .

      Another, more subtle, parallel between the cases is the apparent ‘constructed identity’ of a core participant in each investigation.

      I believe it was yourself Peter, writing here, who originally put forward the idea that SAH had been vehemently telling his ‘side of the story’ to friends and particularly family, perhaps in an attempt to use ‘community’ pressure to sway the outcome. Or to paint a picture of his brother as a bad man.

      In the MH370 case, Shah seems to have posted up strange youtube videos that ostensibly showed that he was a good family man and just how helpful and caring he was. It has been suggested that these may also contain cryptic messages presaging the disappearence in the form of carefully selected newspaper cuttings in the background.

      • Peter

        Now we are getting somewhere …
        The two women were said to have stayed in China for between one and three months to get to know a certain male individual. During this time, they also worked as female escorts, reported China Press. It reported that the man they befriended was a spy who introduced Doan to the four men, whom police are hunting down in connection with the assassination.

        I consider it unlikely in the extreme that an NK intelligence officer could have hatched this scheme in China without the Chinese authorities learning about it early on and nipping it in the bud. Moreover, I consider it unlikely in the extreme that an NK agent would have recruited a bunch of amateurs when he could have had the pick of NK’s female commando units.

        Hence, this leads into rather interesting territory. As it happens, I know NK quite well. The country’s only export articles are slave labour and crystal meth, which is extremely prevalent inside NK. At least every third adult regularly consumes “the ice drug”. The surplus is exported over the porous border into China. (The border at the Yalu river is nothing like it is described in Western media: every morning, more than 100,000 North Koreans go to work in Chinese factories; vice versa, thousands of Chinese traders come to NK to peddle their wares there. The only – perfunctory – border controls are on the Chinese side.) Anyway, vast quantities of crystal meth are smuggled into China, Changchun being the distribution centre. There is a lot of rapidly-acquired wealth and lots of extremely bad teeth (“meth mouth”) in Changchun.

        The trade is conducted with the connivance and on behalf of various arms of the NK state. (Just as is the case in China, the Armed Forces run their own show, as does the Party, as do the various intelligence agencies.) However, they need outside help with acquiring precursor chemicals and with spending their money abroad, purchasing luxury goods to be shipped into NK. Kim Jong-nam lived quite well for a man with no ostensible sources of income … Let’s just say that I could well imagine him performing that role of a “fixer” based abroad. Perhaps he ripped off the wrong people – on the Chinese side of these deals?

  • michael norton

    Does any contributor think that the parlous state,
    that “The State of Emergency” of FRANCE,

    would give the “Authorities” in the shifting sands of French governance,
    a good chance to slip the Slaughter of the Horses case/s under the sod
    and let it quietly go to rest?

    • michael norton

      What I am saying is FRANCE is in turmoil,
      this turmoil, is quite unlikely to end, with the forthcoming presidential elections, whoever takes the helm.
      The Slaughter of the Horses was four and a half years ago, we are now into the term of the second prosecutor, nothing new has happened, probably since Patrice Menegaldo, was found dead?

  • Peter

    To complete my little digression off-piste, I would be prepared to bet that this was the poison used
    Unlike the other agents suggested (e. g., ricin or tetrodotoxin), it matches the reported application method, pressing a handkerchief soaked in the stuff onto the victim’s face. Unlike the other agents, it is absorbed through intact skin and especially through the eyes. Eye pain is one of the first symptoms of VX intoxication, and precisely what Kim Jong-nam complained of before he died. Its low volatility explains how the LOL-assassin was able to walk away from the deed even though she did not wear any protective gear other than a glove.

    She must have known that the “prank” she had been paid to perform upon Kim Jong-nam cannot have been entirely harmless, though, because her masters must have instructed her to take off that glove without ever touching its outside. If she had touched it, she would have ended up in hospital or next to her victim inside the morgue. To my mind, the fact that her masters evidently wanted her to survive is another piece of evidence that they do not belong to any intelligence service. The assassin dropping dead immediately after completing her mission would have been considered a boon by professionals.

    Manufacturing VX should be well within the reach of any competent crystal-meths “cook”, and I am happy to find that I am not the only one who thinks that Kim Jong-nam may have been taken out by non-state actors

    • Good In Parts


      We have been here before…

      Maybe it was a test run of a family specific designer toxin, I suggest that he was probably the only one they could get at. The toxin may not be easily identifiable if they managed to find a competent “disgraced cycle team medic”.

      The Malaysian authorities seem to be requesting family DNA samples ‘for identification purposes’. A perfectly reasonable request, it could easily be someone unrelated.

      • Peter

        @ GIP

        I beg to differ on that one. NK’s ruling family are hardly recluses and frequently travel abroad

        Moreover, the man himself, Kim Jong-un, gets all his routine medical treatment in China and has leading Western doctors flown in for anything major. Thus, at least the Chinese state could quietly do away with him any time it wanted. Other states might need to find noisier ways, but would they really want to? For all their rhetoric, even the South Koreans have done some calculations on the back of an envelope and found that their ostensible dream of reunification with NK would bankrupt them if it occurred overnight. Rather, they would prefer to see some kind of transitional arrangement lasting at least one generation – and it is difficult to see how any such interim solution could not involve NK’s ruling family.

        Until the case of Kim Jong-nam is resolved, my assumption shall remain that the apparent involvement of North Koreans in his murder merely reflects wage differentials within the Asian underground economy. Just as the Japanese Yakuza frequently rely upon imported Chinese enforcers to do their dirty work, Chinese gangs often use cheap NK muscle. Displaced North Koreans have quite a fearsome reputation across all of Asia, doing the “jobs” that nobody else would touch for relatively scant payment.

  • Good In Parts


    Almost a month ago I rashly wrote “Over the next few days I shall try to write up and post everything I have got“. Every time I think I’m done a little voice in my head says, But wait there’s more !

    Anyways, I’m getting down to slightly nebulous points that niggle away at the back of my mind but are difficult to nail down. Here’s one :-

    Rushed arrival or constrained descent ?

    When the killer came round the first hairpin, was it the earliest time he could get there ? Or was his ‘advance’ to Le Martinet parking (from, say, the second hairpin) delayed by a constraining factor ?

    Whilst accepting that there might have been a necessary ‘pause’ somewhere in order to change clothing or otherwise prep-up, it has always seemed to me that there was some constraint on his arrival that contributed to the tragic outcome.

    Initially the ONF(N)/MC combination seemed likely, with the MC whizzing around off-piste and the killer thinking that an ONF vehicle would hear and drive back to give chase. After the ONF swap was reversed and ‘all vehicles identified’, any such constraint in the mind of the killer has to come primarily from the TBR with a secondary contribution from ONF1.

    If the killer intended to escape through a forest trail rather than a paved track, then the only actor who could give chase would be the TBR, and being a kid he may have been rash enough to do it. The ONF would, in my view, be more cautious and probably just call les pompiers directly using le radionet.

    Thus the killer would delay his final ‘advance’ until he was sure that the TBR was not able to return and interrupt his revenge or give chase, either by the main track of via the parallel track.

    So, assuming the TBR is not being economical with the truth, this would be when the TBR crossed the Ire to the other side of the valley, where he claimed to hear the shooting.

    The killer should, in my humble opinion, have been able to hear the TBR from his elevated position but, crucially, unable to hear SAH arrive, because the BMW was being conservatively and quietly ‘driven’ by Zainab.

    The killer had local knowledge, he knew that once the TBR was on a track on the other side of the valley, there would be enough leeway. Having said that, I suspect he had less time than he would otherwise have expected. This may have led to a precipitative ‘advance’ to Le Martinet.

    • Peter

      @ GIP

      One big question in this regard (to which I don’t know the answer) is what kind of bike the “gentle giant” was riding at the time: the killer would certainly have heard a full-size ≥ 125 cc MX bike, which is as loud as a chainsaw and would almost certainly have alerted the ONF as well. Albeit to a lesser extent, the same goes for a two- or four-stroke “junior” MX bike. However, the same does not apply to any of those heavily-muffled 5-BHP made-in-China four-stroke kiddies’ bikes that doting dads buy for their kids to ride around the garden without waking up the parents. The last time that I checked his Youtube videos, the gentle giant was riding one of those. Too small for him, admittedly, and not cool at all, but veeeeery quiet and highly suitable for taking a spin inside a nature reserve without alerting the ONF.

      Vice versa, I find it difficult to imagine how he could have heard shots in the distance if he had been riding a full-size MX (unless he happened to take a break at this particular moment). These bikes are so loud as to drown out everything else at full throttle. Then again, if he had been riding one of them, regularly stopping, killing the engine and listening out for any eventual pursuers would have been the only way to go for him. In short, I am undecided on that point.

      • Good In Parts


        Taking your last point first, it would not hugely surprise me if the TBR were able to hear the shots even on a larger MC (though I accept your point about a motorcrosser at full throttle).

        For a start, he might not have been wearing his helmet.

        Secondly, if we accept his initial statement to the press, he was on the other side of the valley and one can infer that he was up the side of the valley (say 100-150m higher than the valley floor). Thus he could be quite close, very possibly under 500m away, as the crow flies, and crucially with almost no forest cover between him and Le Martinet parking to attenuate the high frequency components of the shots (which effectively would start out as a square wave).

        If the killer were in fact listening out from near the second hairpin, approx 75m up from the valley floor, then he would have an even better unobstructed ‘audio path’ across the valley to the TBR. As a bonus he would not be close to the white-noise generator known locally as the Ire.

        Initially there were vociferously expressed doubts about witness claims to have heard, or not heard, the shots. The re-enactment should have confirmed those claims.

        Back to your question (to which I don’t know the answer either), however WBM apparently claimed that a ‘small motorcycle’ came past him heading up the combe and I think EM described a motorcycle seen by WBM as (and I am paraphrasing here) ‘a large capacity mobylette’.

        I think that may have been Eric’s euphemism for an unrestricted MC which laddo should not have been riding on the road.

        • Peter

          @ GIP

          By now, you are more au fait with the details than I am. At least in my interpretation, both descriptions of the gentle giant’s bike, ‘small motorcycle’ and ‘a large capacity mobylette’, quite accurately characterise the quiet 4-stroke miniature MX that I remember seeing him ride in a Youtube video. These bikes are physically small and have large-capacity 4-stroke engines quietly but inefficiently running at low revs. I have no trouble whatsoever believing that distant gunshots could be heard by somebody riding one of those things, an assumption that I would struggle with in the case of a real MX bike.

          • Good In Parts


            One for you. Police chief Khalid Abu Bakar quoted in a story posted today (22 February 2017 4:20am).

            Yes, the two female suspects knew that the substance they had were toxic. We don’t know what kind of chemical was used,” he said. “They used their bare hands,” he said, adding they were instructed to wash their hands afterwards.


            both women wiped a liquid, containing an as yet unidentified toxic substance, on Kim Jong-nam’s face.

            Sounds like a binary to me.

          • Peter

            @ GIP

            Concerning that matter, it looks, alas, as if I am about to lose a bet or two. I am not sure whether the reports that you mention really imply that the poison used was a binary (if it had been, at least the second assailant should have felt the full effects of it), but the drawn-out and hitherto-unconclusive toxicological screenings strongly suggest that it was some previously unknown “research chemical”, perhaps cooked from commercially available insecticides.

            Why the NK government, if they are indeed behind this murder, should have chosen this particular way of doing it, rather than using their own female suicide commandos, their stockpiles of VX and their tried-and-trusted assassination weapons
            ist beyond me. Yet, at least on the face of it, the evidence that they are behind this accumulates.

            For my own part, I am rather grateful to the perpetrators, whoever they may be, for the basic idea of somebody persuading a naive woman to participate in a murder that she believes is no more than a harmless prank. With a few added twists and turns and red herrings, it should make for the plot of a riveting crime novel 😉

          • Q

            A simple trip to YouTube shows tricks for making a mini bike quiet. Some suggest steel wool. A careful kid shows how to make aother silencer with a tin can and adhesive…

            BTW, these bikes are widely used at an annual equestrian event where I live, for competitors to go between the barns and practice arenas. The bikes they use are almost silent and don’t spook the horses. They’re easy to stuff in an SUV to take to competitions.

  • Good In Parts


    These bikes are physically small and have large-capacity 4-stroke engines quietly but inefficiently running at low revs.

    Do you have a link ? Are these ‘chinese christmas-bikes’ ? The sort that rapidly end up siezed-solid and clutter up inumerable sheds. Back in the day (my day that is) they were all two-strokes, hawked around pubs and markets by scousers.

    Thinking about it, what you suggest certainly fits the WBM sightings better than my idea of an unrestricted MX.

    As to a potential binary, that was idle speculation on my part, prompted by the police chief stating that “They used their bare hands

    Possibly the assasins were building up some tolerance to the less toxic ingredients during the preparation time, which seems sufficiently long.

    Another binary option could be your bog-standard reversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitor plus a compound that slowed the hydrolysis reaction, producing the effects of an irreveversible inhibitor without one being detectable.

  • Good In Parts


    Looks like I shall be without regular internet access for a few weeks.

    I shall try to braindump some more ill thought-out ideas before I go off-line !

  • michael norton

    I am still stunned how perfectly Eric Devouassoux fitted the slot of assassin or facilitator of the assassin,
    yet it would seem he is without fault in the incident of
    The Slaughter of the Horses.

    This should tell us something of great import.
    Eric Devouassoux.

    That there was an attempt by people in the employ of the French State
    to stitch him up.

    • michael norton

      If the French State attempted to weave Eric Devouassoux into the roll of assassin or facilitator of the assassin,
      they have a much deeper involvement in
      The Slaughter of the Horses.

      They know

    • Q

      Aren’t the paid informants of those who compile dossiers at far greater risk for minimal reward than the compilers themselves?

      Was anyone on the mountain a paid informant meeting a handler? Same old question, still unanswered.

      • michael norton

        this all happened on the watch of Francois Hollande, he only has a couple of months to get it cleared up, do you think he asks for regular briefs, after all, he said everything would be done to solve this crime.

        • michael norton

          From the United Kingdom perspective:
          Dominic Rennie Raab has been the conservative member of parliament for Esher and Walton (Claygate), since 2010,
          not too far from Saint Theresa May’s constituency of Maidenhead.
          Theresa May was Home Secretary at the time of The Slaughter of the Horses, she is now Prime minister, they are both in the conservative party, so can easily chat.
          Perhaps they also get briefing updates on The Slaughter of the Horses?

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