We are close to reaching the 12th anniversary of the Annecy shootings, (or the Chevaline killings), in France. These brutal murders occurred on the 5th September 2012. Three members of a British/Iraqi family who were on a caravan holiday and a local French citizen were shot to death in the vicinity of a small parking area, (Le Martinet), an established and frequented beauty spot on the Route Forestière Domaniale de la Combe d’Ire in SE France just south of lake Annecy.

These murders are still unsolved but they have attracted a great deal of attention from the media. The international nature of the victims and the location has drawn out a great deal of bizarre, speculative opinions. In actual fact and very sadly, it was all very simple. These type and style of killings have been perpetrated time and time again all over the world, they were not unique.

In this particular blog I have also featured throughout the narratives of a number of comparison gun murders that have taken place in France and the UK. This includes the reopened case of Paul Bellion and Lorraine Glasby who were mysteriously shot to death whilst on a cycling holiday in Brittany in August 1986. I visited the murder location to the east of Dinan on 17 Sept 2023.

I became interested in the tragic Annecy event in 2015 when I discovered a work colleague was a neighbour of the al-Hilli family in Claygate in Surrey. I have since visited the location on three occasions; I have studied and re-enacted Saad al-Hilli’s attempted escape, the cycle approaches of the first victim and the first witness and the perpetrators departure and escape options. I have met and interviewed Brett Martin, the first witness at the scene and Zaid al-Hilli, Saad’s brother. I have spoken to the Surrey Police investigation team and I have obtained a wide view of the area and details of other incidents that have occurred in the broader vicinity before and since.

I have written a total of four blogs linked to this tragic affair.

The northern entry for the start of the forest route that leads to this location is well marked off a sharp bend close to the small village of Chevaline near the southern end of Lake Annecy. Motorised traffic can only drive 3.3 km / 2 miles up the ascending route from the north to the Le Martinet parking area. The entire route extends for 12.3 km and concludes at a small village called Precherel. The image below looking south is how the murder location looked in 2012. The VW car is parked in the same position as the murdered family’s red BMW tourer was initially positioned.


Beyond this parking location the route is closed to motorised traffic except forestry vehicles. It is open however to walkers and cyclists. It continues for a further 6 km on a mixture of tarmac and gravel surfaces through a series of hairpins before it reaches the spectacular Col de Cherel at 1495 metres / 4,900 feet.

The route then descends south 3 km to the villages of Precherel and Jarsy and the D608 road. The image below is looking north from the car park on the edge of Precherel. The Col, partly obscured by cloud is visible.

The perpetrator has never been identified or caught. The four people killed were Iraqi born Saad al-Hilli, 50, his wife Iqbal, 47, (they lived in Claygate, Surrey). Iqbal’s mother Suhaila al-Allaf, 74, who held a Swedish passport. They were staying at Camping Le Solitaire du Lac in St Jorioz beside Lake Annecy. This was 17 kms away. The local 45 year old French cyclist, Sylvain Mollier was 24 kms from his home in Ugine. The al-Hillis’ two daughters, Zainab, 7 and Zeena, 4, both survived the attack but Zainab al-Hilli was severely injured.

The intense speculation that resulted from these murders has only served to distort what actually occurred. From the evidence available it was not a complex attack. The entire event was a brutal cowardly act that has been manipulated into something far removed from the reality of what actually occurred. My first visit to the site was in October 2015. I was impressed by the sheer alpine beauty,  and welcoming atmosphere in the region which is in complete contrast to what happened.

The 2016 image at the start of this blog depicts a harmless advertisement for a murder mystery play to be performed in Claygate, Surrey. The irony of this fictional portrayal was the still unsolved real life murders of two Claygate residents, Saad and Iqbal al-Hilli just four years before.

In 2019 scrawled graffiti on the site of the murders described the event being perpetrated by the ‘Lachement Assasine’, (Cowardly Killer). It was certainly an accurate description.

I interviewed Brett Martin at his home in Brighton in September 2020. It was a long and in depth conversation and it features in my blog narrative, The Key Witness. Brett gave me a very detailed objective view of what he found and witnessed that day and this included his experiences with the French investigators. Brett Martin deserves more credit than he was given at the time. He is a very astute and methodical character with a developed sense of keen observation and acute attention to detail. What Brett saw and experienced at the scene reveals how the initial case was handled. What I found on my first visit in 2015 and the reaction of the French investigation authorities when I alerted them just compounded it. There has never been a mention of this in the media.

Channel 4 featured a 3 part documentary from 26 June 2022 – ‘Murder in the Alps’. Produced by Blast Films, it was put together to establish a fresh look at this mystery as it approached the tenth anniversary. Recording and filming in the UK and France started in June 2021. Brett Martin did not appear in this 2022 Channel 4 production. He does however feature via 2012 media footage.

French investigators and local magistrates returned to the scene of the murders on 29 September 2021. Their aim was to re-evaluate the killings, the witness statements and timings in a fresh bid to solve this ongoing mystery.

In October 2021 a collaboration between My Story Media and the Sun newspaper revisited the lines of investigation viewed in 2012. Their efforts focused on Brett Martin, the first witness to arrive at the murder scene. They concentrated on the motorcyclist who Brett Martin met coming down the access route just a short time before Brett came across the murder scene in the parking area.

Media reports have always assumed and implied that this would indicate that the motorcyclist would have come from the site of the murders. An inspection of the vicinity reveals from the labyrinth of paths and routes that he didn’t have to be anywhere near it.

The French authorities had some difficulties finding this motorcyclist after the 2012 murders but he was eventually traced in Lyon, 185 kms west. After questioning him he was eliminated from their investigation. He was the biker with the rare design helmet. He had always claimed to be a paraglider pilot looking for launch sites. Forestry staff had already stopped him earlier in the forest on the day of the murders when he had ventured onto routes banned to motorised traffic.

In January 2022 after regenerated media interest and pressure on the authorities this biker was approached and questioned again by the police but once again released from the ongoing process.

I have studied these killings very closely and I have visited the murder scene and surrounding locations over three detailed visits. I returned again with my son in July 2022 to reconstruct the Mollier/Martin cycle approach and investigate the labyrinth of potential perpetrator escape route paths and tracks, (and approaches), south from the murder site. It has been largely assumed that the perpetrator drove to the murder scene and escaped by the only vehicle return route. Every single documentary ever staged around this event focuses on this theory. This merely distracts from the other possibilities which I have always found frustrating.

What if the perpetrator was on foot or on a mountain bike. The region is a haven for walkers and cyclists. Like Brett Martin and Sylvain Mollier, my son Sam and I are keen cyclists and I was keen to evaluate their routes and timings.

As well as Brett Martin I have spoken to official investigators, journalists and Zaid al-Hilli, an initial suspect and the elder brother of Saad al-Hilli. I re-staged and filmed Saad al-Hilli’s desperate vehicle escape attempt on the actual site of the murders in October 2019 with Chris Powell, a personal friend and professional photographer. This features in the accompanying blog.

All avenues of investigation have to be considered. Whilst the killer has not been identified the nature of the attack was not unique. Some elements of the media still persist with the view that it was a targeted professional killing. My personal experience of armed conflict, vehicle ambush drills, teaching anti-hijack techniques, blocking escapes and weapon handling concludes that these murders were not planned in a targeted sense at all. 

This attack action was actually a complete shambles and had all the indications of a disorganised thrill killer. I would draw your attention to a simple fact that is always overlooked – Saad al-Hilli who was driving his family 5 series BMW car almost managed to escape.

Our cinema and living room diet of Bond, Bourne and Ethan Hunt leads us to imagine that we understand what occurred. The perpetrator was a very disturbed individual with a twisted personal agenda that decent normally balanced people cannot be expected to understand. Looking for tangible reasons is not always the answer. When random slay murderers are caught, dispatched at the scene or commit suicide we are forced to see and accept the result of their diabolical actions. Any mystery or speculation of a targeted killing or assassination is immediately confirmed or in the case of random attacks immediately dissipated or at least something to grasp prior to an investigation. When the perpetrator escapes and remains undiscovered as in this case of these killings we don’t want to look into that dark abyss. We don’t like chance and random, we crave for a tangible reason we can understand.

The Annecy Murders have wasted so much investigation time and wild speculative searches looking for so called professional assassins who had a directive or reason to kill these victims. The story persists in clinging to it and actually continues to. Not one shred of evidence has come of it.

The perpetrator’s ‘success’ was down to the fact that he was armed with a semi-automatic handgun and he attacked defenceless adults and children. He had chosen his killing ground and he set out to trap his victims who he was easily able to anticipate would be completely defenceless. There was no doubt he knew how to handle the murder weapon and he was prepared to kill children. If he was a so called professional however, he was bottom of the class.

These blogs, (along with accompanying narratives including a comparison with the start of the 1987 HUNGERFORD MASSACRE), is a close study of this particular event. These type of killings always attract a great deal of speculation and the inevitable conspiracy theories. I start with some history.

The Annecy murders have been compared to a number of other shootings, the first of which was the ‘Dominici Affair’, a triple murder which took place in France in August 1952. The location is 250 km south of Chevaline near the small town of Lurs on Route 96, (now the D4096). This was the roadside shooting murder of a prominent British couple; Sir Jack Drummond and his wife Lady Anne. Their 10 year old daughter Elizabeth was bludgeoned to death with the murder weapon, an American war surplus .30 M1 rifle carbine.

The Drummond’s were also on a camping holiday. The circumstances have some similarities with the Annecy killings and the Dominici roadside murder location is virtually unchanged. We investigated this site during the 2019 visit. Blog site :- THE DOMINICI AFFAIR – 67 years on.

Random spree gun killings have occurred in France and the UK before; they are certainly not unique and they follow patterns.

In 1979, Belgian teachers Marie-Christine and Andre Van Herpen were on holiday in rural Brittany, France. They were both coerced or abducted in circumstances that are unclear and shot in the back of the head in their own car. This was in or close to the small village of Vilde-Guigalan which is just to the west of Dinan. No motive was established. The killer has never been identified or caught. 

In April 1986 Peter Thurgood 47, and his partner Lindy Benstead 49, were shot to death in a wooded area off the A3 in Sussex between Rake and Liphook. They had parked in this beauty spot in their hired car. They were found by another motorist. The killer had used a shotgun and there were no witnesses. The case remains a mystery and is still unsolved. The location was a wooded area which at the time could be accessed by car. The wooded area remains the same to this day but can only now be accessed by bridleways and footpaths. This case has attracted conspiracy theories but the circumstances just point to a random killer.

Just over a year later and just 60 miles away Michael Ryan perpetrated the start of his gun rampage in Savernake Forest and then moved on to his home town of Hungerford. The start of this killing spree was perpetrated in exactly the same manner as the Rake and Annecy murders. 

On 27 July 1986 two teachers from Norfolk set off from the UK on a cycling holiday in Brittany. This would be their third trip together to France. Paul Bellion, 29 and his fiancé Lorraine Glasby, 28. failed to board their booked ferry on 24 August 1986. They had been in regular contact with their families through postcards but after this date nothing was received written after this date. After a period of weeks the family and friends grew anxious so Lorraine’s mother, Pauline Glasby travelled to France. On 23 September 1986 she entered a police station in St Malo and expressed her concern. A missing persons notice was issued and a formal search investigation began.

Witnesses in the village of Saint Solen reported seeing the couple on their bikes on 23 August 1986 setting off west for Lanvallay and Dinan in very wet conditions. That was not the most direct route to St Malo, in fact the most appropriate route on cycles was directly north from St Solen on minor roads, a distance of (32 kms/20.5 miles).

However, they might have been planning to find a final night’s accommodation in Lanvallay for instance. Sometime after this sighting they met someone who eventually abducted them. The circumstances leading up to that are unknown. Whoever it was may have started by offering them help or shelter from the rain; transporting them and their cycles for instance. A simple friendly gesture; these occasions happen all the time when one is travelling like this. Unfortunately this event was perpetrated by someone or by persons intent on murder. Logic doesn’t trend, argue the case or accompany these events, which makes it all the more horrendous to follow and understand.

Their bodies were found on 01 October 1986 in a maize field near the the very small village of le Bois Fougere just north of St Solen by a man out hunting with his dog. They were tied together back to back and shot in the back of the neck. Lorraine Glasby had also been shot in the leg. The killer had used a hunting rifle but despite suspects and some bizarre theories this murderer has never been identified. Their money and some traveller cheques were not taken but their other belongings and cycles were never found.

I visited the vicinity on 17 September 2023. It is unlikely to have changed much in 37 years. The crop fields contained within a gentle undulating landscape north of St Solen extend north to le Bois Fougeres. Maize is the predominant crop here with the fields rotating with manure crop and root and vine produce. Maize by the way is the crop that’s grown, corn is the produce sold. Most references to where the couple were found get this confused. Bois Fougeres simply consists of a farm in a traditional yard layout at the end of a short road and a single separate property.

This murder location is just 14 km/8.6 miles from the 1979 Van Herpen shooting murder site, west of Dinan. Some theories have sought to connect the two incidents. They may well be of course but there is no confirmed evidence. 

Just over a year before the Annecy murders on 19 July 2011, Xavier Baligant a 29 year old Belgian was returning home from a camping trip in France with his two young children. He stopped at the Aire-de-Malvaux rest area on the A31 just south of Nancy in the early hours to use the restroom. He was mysteriously shot and killed in front of the facility whilst his children slept in the car. His killer used a Swiss Schmidt- Rubin 7.5mm bolt action rifle and both the killer and weapon have never been found. This was also compared to the Annecy murders especially as the killer used a military surplus Swiss firearm. No connection other than the style of the murder has ever been established.

In November 2013 two masked men entered the house of a man and woman who owned a popular campsite in the village of Lathuile. This was just 3 km north of Chevaline. They shot and killed the woman and badly beat her husband.

In October 2014 Jean-Francois Hauteville, 47 was shot dead while he sat in his van alongside a quiet road near Neuvecelle, 100 km/60 miles to the North East of Chevaline. An associate was implicated but he hanged himself whilst in police custody.

Just 29 km to the east of Neuvecelle is the village of Ballaison. On 27 March 2019 the body of Daniel Forestier, 57 was found in a parking area close to this village. He had been shot five times in the head and torso. Married with two children he ran a café and wrote spy thrillers. He lived in the village of Lucinges 20 Kms to the south. He had worked for the French external intelligence agency, the DGSE for 14 years. There is a great deal of speculation surrounding this murder.

Close to Chevaline, two men have both disappeared, never to be seen again and are presumed dead after leaving an annual rock festival. This is held at the old Fort de Tamie which is just 8 kilometres from Chevaline.

Ahmed Hamadou, 45, arrived at the festival on 08 September 2012 with a friend in his car, just three days after the Annecy murders. He left alone, set on hitch hiking home to Chambery. He has never been seen since. Jean-Christophe Morin, 22, left the same festival the year before to hitch hike home on 10 September 2011. He too has never been seen again. The initial Annecy Murders prosecutor, Eric Maillaud, would have known about these missing individuals but never volunteered a word to the press about them during the murder investigation. He set out to positivily deflect the origins of the Chevaline shootings to the UK. His region is a beautiful part of France but there is history there, both before and since and there is no escaping it.

In February 2022 Nordahl Lelandais, 39, and ex soldier was sentenced for the 2017 murders of Maelys de Aravjo, 8, and 23 year old soldier Arthur Noyer near Chambery. This serial killer has been investigated about other disappearances and murders including Ahmed Hamadou, Jean-Christophe Morin and the Annecy shooting murders. Lack of evidence is the issue. Chambery is just 55 km/33 miles from Fort de Tamie.

The Annecy murders attracted a great deal of global attention because of the nationalities involved. The circumstances and the initial rhetoric from the region Prosecutor, Eric Maillaud served to prompt conspiracy theories and wild speculation. Maillaud’s approach and attitude diverted rational thinking. He initially insisted that the origin of the murders came from the UK. He was arrogant but adroit. He was like a well groomed and polished actor and looked the part on TV; the media swallowed it and so did we. In fact he was heading up a totally incompetent initial investigation. 

There has always been an official view that the attacker was possibly a spree killer just waiting to ambush random victims. We don’t know for sure but the nature of the attack, the victims and the evidence available points in that direction. Unfortunately this viewpoint has always seemingly been the least favoured, perhaps more media driven than from official sources. The problem is we’ve soaked up so much distortion over the last 12 years the speculative theories have been turned into a twisted reality. These monsters do exist and they don’t just reside in the USA. The facts point to it and it is difficult to ignore.

Do these type of gun killers have anything in common even if their diabolical and evil motives might differ slightly from case to case. Is location more significant than we realise. LOCATION……..

The HUNGERFORD MASSACRE occurred 36 years ago when a local man, Michael Ryan shot and killed 16 innocent people on 19 August 1987. Most of his victims were murdered inside the Berkshire market town. Ryan was a poorly educated, troubled loner, suffering with psychotic tendencies. His quiet and private demeanour concealed his inner frustrations. At two gun club ranges where he used his legally licenced firearms he was seen as a safe and trusted shooting enthusiast. Outside this environment he was the antithesis of the responsible shooter; carrying firearms in his car and on his person at work locations.

Hungerford and Annecy, 25 years and 750 miles apart would initially not appear to have anything in common. A closer look however reveals some features of interesting similarity. These are simple factual characteristics that might provide an insight into the Alps killer mystery. The Annecy murders have prompted so much speculation and stimulated so much intrigue and opinion. Conspiracy theories have been rife, drifting away from the simple facts. The Hungerford Massacre might provide a clue. I have closely investigated both murder sites.

The circumstances surrounding Ryan’s first victim is often lost in the descriptions and image of Ryan stalking around the streets of Hungerford, killing his victims with a semi-automatic assault rifle. His first victim however was 7 miles from Hungerford; 35 year old Sue Godfrey from Burghfield Common near Reading who was by chance picnicking in Savernake forest park with her two young children. She had entered Savernake on Grand Avenue, a tarmac road that runs the length of the forest close to the small town of Marlborough.

Looking at both cases :-

Both murder scenarios were perpetrated in the summer months, on weekdays in fine weather within forest parks known and promoted for their beauty. Both locations offered signed and easy public access on tarmac roads. The two images above are views of the Savernake and Combe d’Ire parking locations.

Both victim’s cars were parked in the small roughly hewn parking areas to the side of a tarmac road. The locations were quiet but not remote. All the victim groups had not visited the locations before and had simply gone as a result of friendly suggestion; the al-Hilli family by their camp site manager, Sylvian Mollier by a friend and Sue Godfrey by her father.

The al-Hilli’s had taken happy family photographs in Doussard village, just a small distance from Chevaline and just a short time before they reached the Combe d’Ire forest route. Sue Godfrey had stopped to purchase fuel in Froxfield on the A4 just short of Savernake and had briefly passed the time of day with the fuel station proprietor, Kakboub Dean.

Michael Ryan knew Savernake Forest, he had frequented the place before, sometimes dressed in camouflage, stalking unsuspecting visitors on fanciful military style clandestine missions. He had set out in the late morning on the day of his shooting spree with firearms and ammunition in his car. He had spotted Sue Godfrey and her children and decided to target her.

The Combe d’Ire killer was positioned where his victims would have to stop at the end of the public access road. Despite all the speculation of an assassination there is no evidence proving that the al-Hilli family or Mollier were on site to meet anybody or they were lured or being followed. Both locations would as a matter of course attract innocent visitors on each respective day. On that basis, the killers had absolutely no control over who would appear and at what time let alone the volume of traffic. Their attack opportunities were slim and they took the chance

The Combe d’Ire route has sometimes been inaccurately described. It is not a road that you can take by mistake, the route is clearly marked off a sharp bend. Once on the route, there are options to turn around, nobody is trapped on it. One could turn a lorry around there, let alone a car.

All the victims were shot multiple times at close range with a handgun. Both perpetrators made no attempt to retrieve the spent cartridge cases ejected from their semi-auto pistols. Although it is thought that Ryan might have intended to rape Sue Godfrey, he didn’t. Both Saad al-Hilli and Sue Godfrey made desperate attempts to get away once the attacks were underway. Nothing was taken or stolen from any of the victims. The French cyclist, Sylvain Mollier was shot 7 times and this has prompted investigators to consider that he was the main target. I would suggest that Mollier was the first to realise what was about to occur and being a lone fit male he made a desperate attempt to block the attacker and protect Saad al-Hilli and his young children. Perhaps the killer recognised that Mollier was the greatest threat to him and delivered an escalated evil and fanatical response.

The children present at both shootings were spared despite Zainab al-Hilli being badly hurt.

A British cyclist, Brett Martin, an ex RAF pilot and originally from New Zealand was first on the scene at the murder site; he had not heard any shots. He had a holiday property in nearby Lathuile and he knew this forest route. As he approached the location the first thing he noticed was a bike in the middle of the road adjacent to the parking area on his left. He then saw seven year old Zainab al-Hilli stumbling across the track in front of him; initially he thought she was just playing in front of her parent’s car which came into his view as he continued to approach. As he got closer he realised she was actually badly hurt. Sylvain Mollier was lying dead in front of the car, the engine was still running. Initially he thought there had a been a serious vehicle accident.

Myra Rose was the first to reach the vicinity of Sue Godfrey’s demise, she found her two children wandering around confused and alone. She had not heard any shots. She was visiting friends in Marlborough and had simply set out alone that morning to enjoy a walk in the woods.

There were no direct witnesses to either killings. Both killers were easily able to make their escape and they had a choice of direction. They were both long gone before the police arrived.

Once the authorities discovered it was Michael Ryan who murdered Sue Godfrey it was accepted that he had sufficient knowledge to use a semi-auto 9mm Beretta, (pictured above), to kill his victim. Sue Godfrey was defenceless but Michael Ryan was no ‘professional’. Speculation has fuelled the view in some quarters that the Annecy murders were perpetrated by a so called prepared assassin but questions the use of an old 7.65mm P06 Luger, (below).

Whoever the perpetrator was this semi-auto hand gun was extremely efficient, the Luger in all the formats produced and refined is ergonomically comfortable to handle and very accurate especially at close quarters. The Annecy gunman overwhelmed and attacked his defenceless victims in the same brutal manner that Michael Ryan killed Sue Godfrey. 

The killings in both circumstances were disjointed and messy. Sue Godfrey had tried to flee, she was shot 13 times in the back and was found face down across a wire fence. Saad al-Hilli had parked forwards into the parking area and had got out of his car with his daughter Zainab. Perhaps the killer, obscured from immediate view was waiting for a random target and was positioned in natural anticipation of a left-hand drive car. The al-Hilli’s right hand drive BMW momentarily confused him when Zainab stepped out; he was initially positioned on the wrong side of the car. By the time he had rushed forward to reach the far side of the BMW he encountered Sylvain Mollier who had arrived at the same time. It was perhaps Mollier who first realised what was about to happen and he made a desparate attempt to alert and shield Saad al-Hilli and his family. He was shot along with Zainab al-Hilli, who was hit in the shoulder.

Saad al-Hilli turned and ran back to his car but the attacker managed to shoot him in the back. Saad got into his vehicle and reversed his car in a panicked 180 degree arc but continued too far and rammed his car into the soft bank. He engaged drive but the BMW was rear wheel drive and his desperate efforts bogged the car down in the soft sandy earth. The killer then approached and shot him, his wife and her mother through the windscreen and side windows whilst they sat trapped in the car with the engine still running. Four year old Zeena remained in the car and was eventually found unhurt and concealed in the rear foot well. Sylvain Mollier was shot a total of 7 times. This has prompted some investigators to consider he was the main target. Perhaps the killer was so enraged at almost failing in his ‘mission’ because of perhaps Mollier’s brave intervention he vented his fury and decided to really make sure.

It was oddly assumed that the killer failed to see Zeena al-Hilli; he may well have been totally aware of the child but chose not to harm her. Equally he may well have attempted to kill Zainab, first by shooting, which failed and then by severely beating her. Thankfully she survived but the attacker gave no indication that it was the outcome he wanted. 

Perhaps Ryan’s random attack in England’s Savernake forest and the way he cruelly murdered his victim in this location is a clue to what happened in the forest south of Lake Annecy in France. Ryan was comfortable in Savernake and knew the location, perhaps the Combe d’Ire  killer felt the same. Whilst totally unconnected there is perhaps an interesting trend apparent here. Had the al-Hilli group not arrived the victims might well have been the cyclist Brett Martin and the 3 French walkers in a car who arrived behind him.

When I first heard about these murders in 2012 it was immediately the location that intrigued me. Media speculation has led us away from this important and significant aspect.

By 2015 we were already aware of the gross errors the French authorities had made with this investigation. Their failure to find Zenna al-Hilli in the immediate stages, their lack of security at the murder scene, visitors and media were trampling over the location within a couple of days.

On my first visit in October 2015 I found evidence of gunfire damage and bullet debris on a steel forestry sign structure just 30 metres from the murder site. I was astounded. I photographed the structure and promptly reported it to Surrey Police on return. There was a joint British and French investigation team. I was instructed not to report my findings to the Press. The French team moved quickly when Surrey Police informed them. The Combe d’Ire structure was removed and sent to a French forensic facility in Paris. The gunfire damage perpetrated on this feature by two different firearms was determined to have taken place before the murder in 2012 and the embedded bullet debris did not match the murder weapon.

This came as no surprise to me, I never considered it was directly connected to the murder, it was the fact that it was there and had been overlooked. The French authorities considered it important enough to remove and investigate but this never got to the media. During this visit I found more roadside gunfire damage in the vicinity and during my 2019 and 2022 visits I found a great deal more. Despite the violence of these ‘signatures’ they in no way automatically link to gun threat or murder but they reveal a type of gun culture. Prosecutor Eric Maillaud would not have been happy divulging this common and widespread practise in his region.

This often obscure type of gun crime was not a mystery to me. I had closely studied it and continue to. I had a book published on the subject in 2012. Michael Ryan was an active roadside shooter as was the psychopath Clyde Barrow, (Bonnie & Clyde), in 1930’s USA. Another example was Thomas Dillon, an American serial killer who shot random victims in rural locations in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan between 1989 and 1992.

The Annecy Murders site structure you can see below was subjected to damage by firearms and it had been overlooked throughout the entire period of the official investigation. The immediate area had supposedly undergone meticulous forensic investigation and searches. Lengthy media reporting, filmed TV documentaries employing professional investigators and public interest visits soon followed. It stood there only partly obscured by foliage, right alongside the experts and journalists offering and reporting their professional and calculated opinions.

This perhaps begs the question; what else was missed and overlooked throughout the important initial investigation. The location contexts were different for the killers and their victims but the common link was the fact that they were chosen killing grounds. We know Michael Ryan frequented Savernake; perhaps the Chevaline killer had done the same.

What does history reveal :-

The Sengoku period, (1467 – 1600) was a period in Japanese history marked by social upheaval and near constant conflict. Japan’s chaotic civil war, the Sengoku Jidai fostered murderous warriors and bandits who would ambush and slaughter innocent and unarmed victims on the roadside. This lawless environment encouraged the act of Tsujigiri, or “crossroads killing”.

These merciless and bloody murderous acts sought random victims on which to experiment and test skills with swords and blade weapons. When Japan emerged from this dark period and the Edo era began, such attacks became a capital offence.

These images have never appeared in any other narrative or report. I returned to the region and the murder location in October 2019 and July 2022. There was more to find and consider.

See – The ANNECY MURDERS – revisited 2019.

The ANNECY MURDERS – Brett Martin, the key witness. Interview 2020.

The ANNECY MURDERS – The wider view, revisited 2022