THE ANNECY MURDERS – now 10 years

We are now approaching the twelve year anniversary of the still unsolved Annecy Murders which took place on 05 September 2012. These brutal killings took place in the alpine Haute-Savoie region of south eastern France. This feature is a result of my third visit to the location in July 2022 and reflects my involvement in the three part documentary produced for Channel 4 by Blast Films, entitled, ‘Murder in the Alps’ which was first shown in June 2022.

The Channel 4 documentary primary objective was to try and motivate some response from anybody who knows anything that hasn’t already come forward. The perpetrator was known to someone, his actions before and after the event might have alerted some unease. We will never know unless there is a positive response and as more time passes that might unfortunately become less likely.

My objective is not to just reiterate where this investigation has gone over the last 12 years, the Channel 4, ‘Murder in the Alps’ documentary reminded us; and you have heard it all before. The story has sustained an embedded obsession with the victim’s nationalities, personal lives, where they worked, and the subsequent attempts to link them to family feuding, money squabbling, relationship issues and even global espionage. This has created the general view that it was a planned direct attack on the al-Hilli family, Sylvain Mollier or indeed on both.

My objective is to draw your attention to elements of the story and investigation that failed to inspire the press to cover or broadcast at all and a broader look at the region it occurred in. My previous blogs have detailed some history.

The most recent professional analysis comes from a British psychologist brought in by the French investigation team. This expert has concluded that the perpetrator was essentially a spree killer, male, local and aged between 30 and 40. That deduction, the ‘lone psychopath’ theory has been in the mix for eleven years.

If you have established the view that this was a planned killing and either the al-Hilli family or Sylvain Mollier, (or both parties), were the intended  target, you are of course entitled to your opinion. In this feature I am going to take you on a journey. Together we are going to look at the facts, the circumstances, the murder site above the village of Chevaline, and further searches in the near region.

In my previous blogs I have outlined what I found at the murder site and in the near region in 2015 and 2019. The first feature – The Annecy Murders 05 Sept 2012 gives you a comparable outline of similar events and some specific and relevant criminal history in this part of France.

I am just interested in alerting you to facts, historical comparisons and trends. The Annecy murders are laden with them. These brutal, senseless and cowardly murders were not unique in the manner they were delivered. These type of gun slayings have happened before and there are plenty of examples. It had all the signs of a spree killing and not a targeted assassination.

I would encourage you to read the works of the True Crime researcher and author Christopher Berry-Dee. In particular his most recent book, Mass Murderers and Spree Killers. I know Berry-Dee, he is a fascinating, no nonsense tell it like it is researcher. As an author he has had more face to face meetings with incarcerated murderers than anyone and he tells it how it is. The Annecy Murders have all the grotesque ingredients of a random spree murder.

My accompanying specialist on this occasion in July 2022 was my youngest son, Sam Rigsby, a very fit and capable cyclist.


The initial response to these four murders and a seriously injured 7 year old child was exemplary. First on the scene was a cyclist, Brett Martin, a 54 year old New Zealander. Brett and his wife had a holiday home in the nearby village of Lathuile but he is also a British citizen and the couple live in Brighton. On this occasion Brett was alone in France. He works in the airline industry and has been a commercial pilot, a training captain and a crew training specialist. He had formerly served as a fast jet pilot in the RAF. Brett was a lot more than just the first person on the scene as my interview with him in 2020 revealed. He was a very good observer with a keen attention to detail. See key witness 2020.

Minutes after Brett arrived at the scene a group of three young walkers arrived in a car, a male and two females. They and Brett helped the injured child and alerted the emergency services. Paramedics were first on scene and Brett described their actions as impressive. Once the police arrived, (after the paramedics had already waded in), the very important process of initial investigation soon descended into a leaderless, uncoordinated shambles. As the process became established and the local prosecutor was brought in the investigation soon deviated away from the local facts source and became a personality driven showcase.

The prosecutor, Eric Maillaud brought immediate attention to the fact that the al-Hilli’s were of Iraqi origin despite their family naturalisation in the UK since 1973. His emphasis on this point caused the investigation to glance away from the location. His early assessment of the killings influenced a specific focus, that it was from a sinister UK origin. It was sufficient and forceful enough to influence the world press. It kicked off and this ludicrous discourse has hung over the investigation ever since.

The French judicial system requires the basis of the investigation to remain secret. That can’t be blamed on Maillaud but this created a news vacuum. Conspiracy theories normally manifest themselves well into an investigation process, 9/11 is a good example. Eric Maillaud created a conspiracy theory from the start because of his accusing stance towards the UK. He should not have done it. Perhaps it wasn’t his intention but that is what he succeeded in doing.

Let us look at the difference between a spree/serial and targeted shooting. I have also included the description of a spontaneous shooting attack. I was the victim of such an event in Spain in 1975 and I was lucky enough to escape unhurt. On that basis perhaps I have some qualification to write about this subject. I know what the shocking and mind numbing panic feels like when a complete stranger suddenly starts shooting at you.


A spree killer kills victims in one instance with no cooling off period. A serial killer slaughters victims or victim groups on separate occasions. Spree killers normally perpetrate in daylight in a public place. Serial killers are more clandestine. Victims are preoccupied, unsuspecting and completely defenceless. They are felled indiscriminately. These aspects are very important to these types of killers because they are fulfilling some twisted ‘mission’ or ‘act’. They are actually spineless cowards and want to be safeguarded from any resistance during the attack. A spree killer may commit suicide after an attack or be killed when police involvement escalates. An escape route may or may not be planned. There is no set answer, situations vary.


Day or night. Perpetrated in a specific place where the target is lured to or a study has concluded they frequent or are about to visit. Whilst this might be a public location some attention is made to just fell the target. The victim might be preoccupied, unsuspecting and defenceless like John Lennon in 1980 or VIP protected like JFK in 1963. The perpetrator might well suffer with the same narcistic delusional outlook of the spree killer but they have a pre identified target. They will risk resistance.


Day or night. Perpetrated in a specific location where the criminal perpetrator feels threatened by an identified or unidentified person or persons approaching them. The victim is preoccupied, unsuspecting and defenceless. The perpetrator is concealing and reckless and is prepared to use overwhelming force on an unknown who has inadvertently wandered into their space which they are furiously guarding perhaps for criminal purposes.


The Lake Annecy region is a alpine paradise. The turquoise and deep blue waters of the lake are surrounded on three sides by steep mountain peaks clothed in forest. Vertical granite cliffs extend from the tree lines. Around the lake villages and small towns blend with the scenery and serve to accommodate visitors in hotels, holiday apartments and camping sites. The entire region is spotlessly clean and inviting. It is truly a wonderful place to visit. The location caters for water sports on the lake, paragliding on the high slopes and cycling. The French love their cycling and provide extensive well prepared tarmac cycle routes away from the roads.

The al-Hilli family were accommodated on a camping and caravan site in St Jorioz right alongside Lake Annecy. This was Camping Le Solataire du Lac, a clean well organised camping ground with its own private beach to the lake. On this particular day Saad al-Hilli had casually asked his 7 year old daughter Zainab what she would like to do that afternoon. Perhaps a shopping visit to Annecy or an afternoon walk somewhere nearby. She opted for a walk. Saad al-Hilli in conversation with one of the site staff established an option. This was the Route Forestiere Domaniale de la Combe d’lre. The route is a 3.3 km / 2 mile tarmac road route climbing into the forest just south of the village of Chevaline. It is easy to find and well marked off an acute bend. The woodland route twists and turns uphill following the route of the d’Ire river, crossing it at intervals over 11 narrow bridges.

It is a well used route by car visitors, walkers and cyclists. It is pleasantly isolated but not remote. The permitted driving route concludes at the Le Martinet parking area. At the time these were two roughly hewn gravel areas on the left hand side at the top. The tarmac route continues uphill from here but is only open to motorised forestry traffic, walkers and cyclists. This is clearly marked.


Sam and I arrived in the region on 07 July 2022. We had a tent pitch at the Solitaire du Lac. My plan was to reconstruct the Martin/Mollier cycle route just as they had done on the day and note the timings and separation process. In addition we would complete a sound test. It was questioned why Brett Martin failed to hear any of the 25 shots despite being relatively close to the murder site. I also wanted to confirm the driving times up and down the Combe de I’re. Then back on the bikes I wanted to complete the entire 14 km route going beyond the murder site parking area and south up to the Col de Cherel in order to investigate the other significant approach and escape route to and from Precherel and Jarsy. No other documentary or commentary touches this.

The test drive time up the route in a car to the murder site on 08 Jul 22 was 10 minutes. That was at a steady pace avoiding or straddling the damaged sections of tarmac. There is an ongoing repair schedule which addresses this aspect. The damage to the tarmac as well as wear and tear is likely to be caused by ice expansion during the winter months. When I visited in 2015 and 2019 the state of the route was exactly the same, only the damage locations were different. The precautionary style drive down was actually 11 minutes. Absolutely flat out with no consideration for the surface the climb could be completed in well less than 5 minutes. Brett Martin remembers the al-Hilli BMW calmly passing him. I have estimated that that point would have been somewhere between Bridge 4, (the halfway stage), and the intersection at 2.8 km. The intersection is a large and significant left hand turn.

The al-Hilli’s set out sometime after 14:00 hrs, the start of the Combe d’Ire route was just 15 km away from St Jorioz. Zainab al-Hilli was in the front passenger seat because she suffered with car sickness. Meanwhile Sylvain Mollier had set off from Ugine on his new road bike, that was 21 km away and Brett Martin departed sometime later, but he was just 3 km away. There was no connection between these three parties, they were merely three people cycling or driving to the same location.

Let me make something very clear here. You cannot turn into the Combe d’Ire route by mistake or find yourself on it by chance. It is a very distinct access, it’s a tarmac road and it is well marked. The media in the past has toyed with the idea that the parties involved found themselves there in error. Clearly any such opinion is manifested by people who have never been there.

Saad al-Hilli and his family had initially stopped in the pretty village of Doussard just 2 km from the start of the route. Here they took family photographs which were printed in the press after the murders. They started the climb at approximately 15.30 hrs.

By this time Brett Martin and Sylvain Mollier were ahead of them and already established on the Combe d’Ire route. Facing the start of the route Mollier and Martin were on a converging course, Sylvain Mollier had approached from the left on the Route du Moulin via the village of Arnaud, Brett Martin from the right on La Grande Combe via Chevaline. They arrived at the same time but Mollier was slightly ahead of Brett as they started the climb and in my interview with Brett he explained that his initial competitive instinct was to use Mollier as a pace and attempt to keep up with him. He soon concluded that Mollier was faster, (he was younger, probably fitter by age and on a road bike). The image below is the view Brett Martin would have seen with Sylvain Mollier just ahead of him.

Brett was on a mountain bike. After a couple of hundred metres he gave up the chase and slackened off to his comfortable climb pace; Mollier started to slowly pull ahead. Sylvain Mollier did not overtake Brett Martin at the beginning of the climb, this is an inaccurate description, he was in front from the onset as you can see in the image. It saved Brett’s life although at this stage he had no idea about what was to happen. Somewhere around the halfway point but not far beyond the al-Hilli BMW passed Brett Martin. It was estimated that the shooting attack started at around 15:45 hrs.

On the 09 July 2022 in similar weather conditions to 2012, dry and warm, Sam and I reconstructed this portion of the event. Although Sam was on a full suspension enduro mountain bike he is fitter than me. He played the role of Sylvain Mollier. I was on a standard hardtail mountain bike fulfilling the roll of Brett Martin. I considered the combination cycle approach exercise to be a reasonable comparison and I was interested to see what our separation would be when Sam reached Le Martinet. We were on a radio link. Sam started off 50 metres ahead of me slowly pulling away but out of sight after 300 metres, just as Brett Martin had described Sylvain Mollier had done. He reached Le Martinet in 26.5 mins and called me on the radio. I reached the location 7 minutes behind him at 33.5 minutes. 

It is of course impossible to ascertain exactly where Brett Martin was on the route when the shooting started but we know that nothing alerted him to it and he didn’t hear the shots. Once we had reached the top we carried out a simple sound test. I used a whistle. That wasn’t going to exactly replicate a 165 dB pistol shot but an initial test on an open alpine meadow in nil wind conditions left the listening recipient able to hear a 120dB whistle from 600 metres so I was interested to see what would happen here.

How far away a gunshot can be heard depends on the ammunition, the firearm, the direction it is fired, the surroundings and the air temperature. Sound travels faster in lower temperatures. From the Le Martinet car park Sam, a young man with perfect hearing set off back down the route. He could hear nothing after a mere 300 metres. Clearly the acoustic deflection and how this very dense woodland was able to absorb sound was very apparent. Our calculations placed Brett Martin between 5 and 7 minutes behind Sylvain Mollier, which in distance would have been between 600 and 900 metres away when the firing commenced. He was actually much further away than we are lead to assume.

It is has been almost an obsession in the eyes of the public as a result of the media influence that either the al-Hilli’s or Mollier or both were an intended target. Well if it was, the ambush site at Le Martinet was the worst possible location.

There was far more chance that it could be witnessed there because it was a natural pause point where people would park, congregate or loiter. This is where the parkland maps are along with information signage.

If indeed it was a targeted assassination there are far better locations for an unhindered attack. A so called ‘professional’ had a lot of choice as to where they could lay an ambush on this route.


Anywhere in the region that Mollier was known to frequent. On the day he set off alone on his cycle, the wooded 1 km section of the Route de Moulin minor road from the village of Arnaud to the start of the Combe d’Ire. The Maquis/Resistance war memorial location 500 metres up the climb. The minor pull in areas for the next 1 kilometre and the intersection at 2.5 km.


Somewhere in the UK before they even set off. On the day the family group set off in their BMW, the very quiet 600 m wooded road route, La Grande Combe from Chevaline village to the start of the Combe d’Ire turning. The Maquis/Resistance war memorial location 500 metres up the climb. The minor pull in areas for the next 1 kilometre and the intersection at 2.5 km.

At these locations there was far less chance of witnesses and other visitors stopping or loitering. There was also better options for a rapid escape. The Le Martinet parking area was the worst possible choice.

It is what occurred and actually what didn’t happen that provides the clue. The perpetrator had undoubtedly planned the attack including the approach, the exact location, the weapon he was going to use and his means and direction of escape. He was prepared to risk being seen and later identified by witnesses, (that would have been potential victims he was unable to kill or he failed to see). There was actually a very high chance of that occurring. This type of spree killer can be a dormant monster. He doesn’t need a criminal record that you can look at or refer back to and he isn’t somebody who has just been discharged from some mental health clinic as was so naively suggested. He is the most unpredictable worst nightmare.

There are numerous examples of these grotesque people, often harbouring an assortment of conditions. Extreme fantasy and narcistic tendencies, overwhelming anger, schizophrenia. Michael Ryan, (Hungerford 1987), Thomas Hamilton, (Dunblane 1996), Thomas Dillon, (Eastern Ohio 1989 – 1992), are just three examples. Dillon wasn’t so much angry, he just had a passion for killing strangers with a hunting rifle.

The vast majority of spree shooter killers offer little or no overt warning of an attack and nothing to refer to. Our perpetrator here clearly wanted to establish a location that was more of a challenge for him to get to, perhaps choosing one of the more difficult approaches and or escape route. This was perhaps a military fantasist, perpetrating an ‘operation’ style of attack not unlike Michael Ryan in Savernake Forest in 1987.

Whilst the killer had a plan which he might have rehearsed, his targets were going to be random. The victims were just first come first destroy. Despite its somewhat detached location Le Martinet was a risk because it was a central position, a pause point. It might be descended upon by a host of transiting visitors from a number of directions. However that might have appealed to the killer, who was possibly ‘high’ on the risk factor.

His attack was cowardly, (Le Lachement Assassin); prosecuted on a defenceless family and a lone cyclist. Perhaps the only resistance he briefly encountered was Sylvain Mollier who was the first to realise what was about to happen. It was perhaps Mollier’s desperate and brave actions even perhaps attempting to lunge at the perpetrator that provoked the gunman’s wrath and fury and thus he was shot 7 times. I think there is a likelihood that Sylvain Mollier was trying to protect Saad al-Hilli who now realising what was happening desperately attempted to get back into his vehicle to save his family which included two young children. How did Saad al-Hilli and his daughter Zainab even manage to get out of the car and walk up to the information board before the firing started? perhaps the killer was naturally positioned to attack a left hand drive car, (eliminating the driver first). When the al-Hilli’s parked their right hand drive car he was momentarily confused and angry about his mistake, running around the rear of the car to start his attack.

Mollier’s action temporarily thwarted the attacker but the killer managed to wound Saad al-Hilli with one shot in his back as he reached for the door. Back in the driving seat Saad almost managed to get away. The attacker was no professional, (or if he was in the past he was suffering from acute skill fade); his actions were a total shambles. He was the last person I would select for a vehicle ambush team. He only succeeded because he had a gun and he faced totally unarmed and unprotected victims. He was the worst example of a spree killer, he was even prepared to kill children. A psychopath, a hapless loner, tortured in his own demented mind. Voices imploring him to destroy unprotected citizens who in his festering bruised grey matter were portrayed as his ‘enemies’. 


The official investigation has never been able to conclude which option route the killer used to get to Le Martinet and by which way he escaped. The logical conclusion was that he drove up the 3.3 km route, waited for his victims, shot them and then drove back down and disappeared. Brett Martin in one of his interviews mentions a vehicle coming down the route forcing him to get out of the way. Suspicious? perhaps, but not evidence or firm link; innocent drivers do daft things. There was mention of a right hand drive BMW X5 coming down the route but it’s never been traced. Just because a vehicle is coming down the route whether that is today or in 2012 it does not mean it has or had reached and turned around in the Le Martinet parking area. There are locations you can stop, park and turn around in up the route. Nobody is committed to reach the top.

Was that the only way to reach the murder location? Not at all. In 2015 I set off on foot from the edge of the golf course near Giez to the east and climbed up through the woods to a location above Le Martinet. It was steep and tough going and the woodland is without clear paths and very dense but it is an option.

After 2.5 km up the tarmac route there is the ‘intersection’ which departs east and then turns south and joins up with the routes that head south towards Jarsy. IMAGE BELOW. Sam and I investigated the start of this gravel track option off the 3.3 km tarmac route as a survey. We then returned to the main route and cycled up the remaining 0.8 km route to Le Martinet. We then continued up the remaining 6 km hairpin route to the Col de Cherel. It was a tough climb in hot conditions, still tarmac for the first 3 km and gravel for the remainder of the climb. The route down from the Col to Precherel and Jarsy is an easy 3 km gravel track descent.

The following day we drove around to the car park in the village of Precherel and walked the 3 km up the path to the Col. It begs the question, why would the killer be in a car, he would blend in perfectly on a mountain bike. During his escape he may have decided to dismantle his damaged Luger and throw the parts into the dense mountain woodland realising that it was now very specific evidence and perhaps difficult to get repaired without arousing suspicion.


If you have studied this case you will know that it became a joint investigation between a Surrey Police team and the French Police authorities. The French naturally led the process and much to the frustration of the UK team they revealed investigation failures from the start. We know about their failure to initially find 4 year old Zeena al-Hilli, she remained hidden in the car for 8 hours. They only closed the murder site for 72 hours and after that short period the media and public were tramping all over it.

The ‘missing’ passports that were still actually in the al-Hilli’s clothing pockets and found after the autopsies. You might recall the local prosecutor’s initial press conferences and early influence prompting investigation teams to research and investigate Zaid al-Hilli in the UK and connections in Iraq, Romania, Switzerland and the USA. Zaid al-Hilli was eventually arrested in 2013 and bailed until 2014. Brett Martin despite being thoroughly interviewed, finger printed and DNA tested did not have his blooded cycle clothing taken off him.

During my first visit in 2015 the gunfire damage and bullet debris I found in a partly obscured steel sign structure close to the murder site had been totally overlooked by the forensic teams. I reported it to the Surrey Police who relayed the information to the French who immediately went to the site and removed it. The structure was analysed in a Paris laboratory and quickly concluded it was nothing to do with the murders. That was no surprise to me, I never considered it was in the first place. It was fact that they had failed to spot something that was so potentially significant. There was no mention of this to the press.

So what else did they miss?

Of course to be fair to the French they have always seriously considered the spree killer option but they have influenced thinking away from it.

When Jill Dando was murdered in Fulham in April 1999 an extensive investigation eventually found a perpetrator, local Barry George. He was convicted in 2001 but released in 2007 after a ‘miscarriage of justice’ retrial. Since then theories that have been created about underworld criminal hitmen and Serbian assassins. They are laughable and devoid of evidence. The media persistence however keeps it glued in place.

The Channel 4 documentary did eventually manage to effectively discount the Zaid al-Hilli involvement despite drawing it out. What they did however was shift the suspicion on a hit aimed at Sylvain Mollier, this was even endorsed by DCI Mark Preston, the now retired head of the Surrey team investigation. I think he did a great job for the documentary, he had presence, he was articulate and he was a natural choice to lead the show. Such a shame about the subtle reference to Sylvain Mollier because it has now continued to narrow the focus of attention once again instead of widening it. Every person I have spoken to since has made reference to it, many now absolutely convinced as a result. The Mollier and Schultz family’s refuse to talk to the press and did not appear on the documentary. Unfortunately that has aroused more suspicion.

On 10 July we completed a regional drive. Gun ownership and hunting is popular and widespread in France, far more than the UK. With similar sized populations the UK suffers between 30-40 gun deaths a year; accidents, homicides, suicides and police actions. The French are annually over 2,000.

Hand guns were banned in the UK after Dunblane in 1996 although an unknown number of illegal weapons exist and still get into the country. Handguns are legal to own and be licenced in France  The murder weapon was identified by the 7.65 mm ammunition shell casings and the broken grip that was left at the scene.

The perpetrator shot 7 year old Zainab al-Hilli in the shoulder and then pistol whipped her, fracturing her skull. It was concluded that a portion of the grip broke off at this stage. The weapon was a 7.65 mm PO6 Luger, a very efficient semi-auto pistol with an 8 round magazine. This model was built from 1901. It was favoured by the Swiss military and was issued to the Swiss army and home defence forces into the 1960’s. The Swiss border is just 30 km north of the lake Annecy region so it is of no surprise that these weapons have found their way into the user system whether that is legal or otherwise

We remain aware that the USA has a very insistent relationship with firearms. We refer to Americans as being immersed in a ‘gun culture’. That is true but it is not the full picture. Only 40% of Americans legally own guns. The biggest problem threatening the US population is availability. I am not anti-gun, the people I share my shooting interests with are decent law abiding and responsible citizens. The UK has very strict gun laws and licensing requirements, the French are somewhat less restrictive. The USA have very little at all and they pay the price.

A bad gun culture is a sinister and threatening sub culture existing within a legal, compliant and legitimate environment. This is not necessarily a large body or group it can be isolated individuals. They hide amongst legitimacy. They might be loud overt, even eccentric characters who turn into hideous uncompromising gun killers like Albert Dryden in 1991 or John Cooper 1985 -1998. They can also be quiet devious outliers like Michael Ryan (1987), and Derrick Bird (2010). A high proportion of these evil people can emerge when firearms are available to them, (acquired legally or illegally). That is why there is such a high frequency of gun deaths in the USA, (with actually higher proportions occurring in South American countries).

Dangerous individuals who lurk amongst legitimate pro-gun elements in society with every intention or inclination towards prosecuting threat or causing harm feel a lot more comfortable, camouflaged and secure when they are surrounded by both legitimate and undesirable gun users of any description.

It can happen anywhere, and it will continue to. It is all about proportions and firearm availability that dictates it. Simply put, if bad people can get hold of firearms there is no control over what they will do with them. Describing lone wolf psychotic spree killers as extremely rare doesn’t discount them from existing – anywhere.

Since the 2012 Annecy Murders there have been numerous gun homicides and mass shootings around the world; over 2000 spree shootings in the USA. France has seen a lot more than the UK.

In 1982 two American social scientists, James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling produced an article that established the ‘Broken Window Theory’ – BWT. In criminology this theory states that visible signs of crime, graffiti, fire and structural damage, vandalism, vehicle damage etc creates an environment that encourages more to occur.

Throughout the USA and South America where gun deaths and gun crime outstrip the rest of the world by a huge margin there is plenty of BWT evidence in the form of roadside gunfire damage. It is a form of violent and threatening symbolism and it is proportional with the volume of a nations gun crime and homicidal gun deaths. These are steel/alloy road sign structures struck and penetrated by gunfire.

We have it in the UK but there is more in France. After a long study I had a book published on this subject in 2012, Gunfire Graffiti, published by real crime specialists Waterside Press. The Haute-Savoie region close to the murder site as I have described is an alpine paradise but herein lurks the antithesis because this symbolism exists here and it doesn’t look right at all. In 2015 I easily found 3 locations, one on the murder site, an 18 mm shotgun slug penetration, handgun penetrations and bullet debris. An 18 mm shotgun slug penetration on the D1508 near Doussard, and a 9 mm penetration near Seythenex to the east.

In 2019 I found another 7 locations to the south in the national reserve parkland near Jarsy. On this 2022 trip we found a further 5 locations. One of them south west of Fort de Tamie was very fresh, two 12 bore 18mm slugs fired through a sign structure, one projectile also passing through the steel upright. An 18mm shotgun slug is a heavy, powerful and very destructive bit of ordnance. Another structure, (above), penetrated by four handgun rounds was outside properties in the village of Samuaz.

How would Prosecutor Maillaud explain that? Well in my experience dealing with officials they just glaze over unbelieving and stare blankly back at you. I suspect Eric would shrug and suggest it has nothing to do with anything.

There is a threatening gun sub culture in the region. If you visit the Haute-Savoie to admire and experience the mountain peaks and forest parks, the alpine meadows, the clean environments, the beautiful architecture, you won’t notice it, why would you? If you look at bit closer, it’s there, a gun-fest and like the Annecy murders and all the other killings and disappearances in the region it doesn’t seem to fit with the surroundings. I can’t explain it, I just find it. Does this have anything to do with the Annecy Murders? I don’t know, but it just doesn’t sit right with me.

The structure below is on a minor road traversing an alpine meadow just a few kilometres southwest of the Col de Cherel. You can see the actual col in the bottom right of the image. The bullet penetrations are strangely and coincidentally representative of the Sept 2012 murders on the reverse slope of that very feature, namely the 3 + 1 victims.

I’m not a criminologist or a detective but I can find things that many people don’t notice or they overlook. The media have just trampled around the murder site staring into the trees. There is a lot more to see if you care to look. Part of my military career was dedicated to detailed reconnaissance and surveillance on anti-terrorist operations. Even away from the military I know what it’s like to be suddenly threatened with a firearm and shot at. Whatever you think of the Annecy murders you have never been given the full story. The media has always failed to look at the bigger picture. Herd reporting chews the grass in the same corner of the field. The finer detail has always been there for all to discover.