One year and three weeks ago the fatal shooting of the Iraqi-born Brit Saad Al-Hilli, his wife and her mother, as well as that of Frenchman Sylvain Mollier took place in France on a lay-by in a forest near to a hamlet named Chevaline. The Al-Hilli couple’s eldest child, a daughter named Zainab, was also […]

One year and three weeks ago the fatal shooting of the Iraqi-born Brit Saad Al-Hilli, his wife and her mother, as well as that of Frenchman Sylvain Mollier took place in France on a lay-by in a forest near to a hamlet named Chevaline. The Al-Hilli couple’s eldest child, a daughter named Zainab, was also shot and she was also badly beaten over her head, but she survived.

Without it having been my intention I have started this on-line discussion about this foul slaughter of ‘innocent’ people which, alas, remains unsolved.

One of our commentators – Lars – has done a most informative summary of the case, known here in France as ‘L’Affair Chevaline’. You will find it here.   Do read it.

You will not be able to comment on any of the past 13 threads, but would have to come to comment here on this thread. I am sure you would want to come and talk to us about this slaughter.

You can also read down below what I’ve written about this case up to today and the very interesting comments by over 100 commentators.

here – September 6, 2012

here – September 8, 2012

here – October 25, 2012

here – November 7, 2012

here – December 9, 2012

here – March 3, 2013

here – April 20, 2013

here – May, 31, 2013

here – June 16, 2013

here  – July 1, 2013

here – July 17,2013

here – July 30, 2013

 here – September 2,1013

Saad Al-Hilli

Saad Al-Hilli



Marilyn Z. Tomlins

519 Responses

9-19-2013 at 15:07:43

Hello everybody.

Here we are: Thread 14.

9-19-2013 at 15:24:49

Thank you Marilyn…

@Lynda, from last night…

@Partlucid, the inquiry is allowed to lie, see Marilyns explanation, not EM as culprit but the people who are actually conducting this investigation, the organ grinders, the two judges that are assessing the evidence – this isn’t as clear cut as we may wish. – See more at:

I agree Lynda and I think it goes without saying that there could be a considerable distance between what the police are actually doing, and how things are presented to the press and interested spectators. And I’ve already highlighted a couple of instances where I think Maillaud has been disingenuous; namely on the ONF ambling forward at their leisure, and all the probable sophistry around Sylvain Mollier’s ‘wrong route’. In both instances my guess would be that he simply wanted to close off both those lines of enquiry to the gentlemen of the press.

I’m not sure if you were suggesting that the 99% ‘guarantee of innocence’ for Sylvain Mollier, which was in place before Christmas I believe, could equally fall into that category. Personally I’d be a little surprised at that: it’s been such a widespread statement and from so early on as well…

…but of course just because the police maybe believe something…that don’t necessarily make it so…

9-19-2013 at 19:10:18

@Partlucid, here is a link that says two different things inside the same article, first being 99.9% closed, relating to Sylvain Mollier, then later in the article it says 99.9% ‘no link between Sylvain Mollier and the murders of the Al-Hilli family.

“Sylvain Mollier et sa compagne n’étaient pas mariés, il n’y avait aucun risque qu’il puisse appréhender l’héritage”, a souligné Eric Maillaud. Selon la famille, “il n’existait pas de contentieux et de conflit particulier entre Sylvain Mollier et sa belle-famille”, a par ailleurs rapporté le procureur. “A 99,9% il n’existe pas de lien entre Sylvain Mollier et le meurtre de la famille al-Hilli”, a-t-il ajouté

En savoir plus sur

@Lars, one heck of an arsenal !

9-19-2013 at 19:20:09


Yes he had weapons for a small army, almost like Peter’s doctor if you remember him.

I am still curious about the poacher’s motive. If they can find one. I don’t think he made any money from it. I have been occupied elsewhere today so I haven’t been able to get updated on A. Huber yet.

9-19-2013 at 19:52:11

Re: ban on photos

I don’t know if FB will comment on this but I believe there was a court order in Britain not to publish any photos of the girls.

I don’t know how that was possible if the info above is correct.
Now I see no reason why anyone would publish any photos of the Al-Hilli children or the Mollier children. It could only harm them and be of no use to the investigation.

Since Gregory Mercier’s family been very liberal with both photos, as well as information about him, it is obviously possible to publish such things even in Haute Savoie. Since Gregory’s father is a retired policeman he knows what he can do and must do to get any result from the investigation.

9-19-2013 at 20:59:23


Here in France too it is against the law to publish a photo of a minor (under 15). Unless one does with what has been done of the photo above.


I’m going to sign off now for the night.

So I will say: have a good commenting night.

Speak 2moro.

9-19-2013 at 21:12:07

@ Lars, 9-19-2013 at 19:52:11

Minors are a wholly different matter, and there are generally strict restrictions on reporting concerning minors, for example:
I don’t even think that proscribing the publication of photos showing the Zs (in a manner that allowed them to be personally identified, i. e., without their faces pixellated) would require a special court order. Lack of explicit consent on the part of the parents / legal guardians would make such publication unlawful anyway.

If circumstances require it, courts can impose special restrictions on publication of photos of adults as well as minors on a case-by-case basis. People living in witness protection programmes, for example, or intelligence agents. However, none of those considerations would apply to an adult murder victim, particularly not if the murder has attracted such widespread attention that the victim could be argued to be something akin to a celebrity.

9-19-2013 at 21:49:34

@Lars, if you read the article they say he had been diagnosed as schizophrenic, it could account for the obsessive behaviour, suggestion is that the police wanted to arrest him for poaching, either way a strange character, I wonder why he set fire to himself ? With that amount of weaponry there would have been swifter ways, I wonder what he was trying to cover up ?

9-19-2013 at 22:11:27

@Marilyn & Peter

Thans for the information!


Yes there has been talk in the press about schizophrenia, though I don’t know if he was diagnosed.

He shot himself in the head, but he had first set the room on fire. One psychologist said it was a way not to ‘give himself up’.

He also had his wife’s ashes in an urn in a sort of chapel in his house. Strange man.

9-20-2013 at 00:34:00


I forgot to thank you for your post on the last thread (part 13) dated 9-17-2013 at 11:59:02

You explained coherently how you thought SM ended up in front of the *left-hand* front wheel, even though it was not the left-hand front wheelarch that he had become snagged in.

Your explanation makes sense to me!

9-20-2013 at 01:33:37

Re LR and the phonecall.

I suspect that from very early on in the investigation relatively little effort was put into interviewing SM’s family, friends and associates with a view to finding a motive.

I remember a report in which a brother of SM complained to the press (and I am paraphrasing here) that the police just did not want to know. He then went on to reveal some possible tensions between SM and the Shutz family relating to money.

I would hazard a guess that LR was treated with kid gloves as the mother of two of SM’s children and not ‘properly’ interviewed. I would bet that she was not even asked if she had called him that day.

9-20-2013 at 02:33:05

RE photos
yes there is a court order about photos
but i guess it only applies to the press

I did not find the above photo until i cleaned up an old back up recently
I wonder if i had given it out a year ago if it would have changed any opinions about Ikbal ?

9-20-2013 at 02:55:02

An injunction ?

9-20-2013 at 08:47:21


Yes, I think that such a photo as yours above makes a difference.

I think it would also for the Mollier/Schutz family.

9-20-2013 at 09:24:04

The investigating team(s) could also experience the following (self-induced) problem

They are somehow pretty much convinced it must be about SAH, and they are already looking for 1 year into SAH because there must be SOMETHING which will explain the killing. Thousands of documents, etc … to find that 1 line which will make it all clear.

Simply stated: The teams are ‘SAH minded’ and possibly do not have the flexibility to ‘switch’

I’m pretty sure that the analysing of those 4000+ calls in the chevaline region were to look for SAH evidence (which I can understand)

… but suddenly … OUT OF THE BLUE … a LR to SM call appears on their screen:)

Soooo … what to make of that????

It is simply unexplainable if the team(s) are so one-sided, and thus there is the real RISK that they will go for an ‘acceptable solution’ to this call. And thus, when LR said that it was ‘a private call, which she did not think important to mention’, the RISK is that the team(s) will accept this to quickly.

Now, the REAL flexible OBJECTIVE investigator will never be afraid to start from scratch again. Just like in a Sudoku, when you (finally) have found ‘5 in top left’ is not correct, you have to start reasoning all over again but now with ‘6 in top left’

Conclusion: The LR to SM call is imho an OUT OF THE BLUE thunderblast which possibly will reset the whole investigation

– M

9-20-2013 at 09:41:14


Yes, James is right: it is called an injunction when photos and/or info are not to be published.

Have a good commenting day.

Speak later.

9-20-2013 at 11:51:27


Morning Lynda, that’s a very wily piece you put up for my interest, because of course it contains both the fabled 99% clearance for all things Mollier (which I broadly accept) and yet at the same time it also presents (as true) what I’ve come to think of as Maillaud’s sophistry around the SM’s ‘mistaken routeing’. What I do find quite telling however is that it also makes reference to the UK press as being the prime movers behind the notion that SM could have been the target. I’d mentioned previously that I thought Maillaud had maybe felt a need to quash that story when ballistics first confirmed that SM had been the first to be shot…but it also looks as though he’s (EM that is) perhaps become much more reactive in the face of the inevitable UK press speculations. Perhaps Lars would have a clearer view on some of his timings and statements….

But another matter I wanted to pick up on with you was this ‘new’ six minutes business; I spotted that you’d clocked it some time back as well. Do you know if that was actually attributed to Vinneman? or did it simply surface in that Le Parisien article? I think. I’d speculated previously that the original four minutes must have been the police’s calculated window in which the shootings must have taken place – and I’d even wondered whether the positioning of the motorbike, as reported by Brett Martin – might have entered that reckoning. Now I can’t help wondering if this ‘new extension’ doesn’t maybe allow an extra two minutes for the X5! to travel that additional kilometre or so down to BM…

I know there are fixed and established time points at both ends of the equation…ie…photos and roughly 12 minutes travelling time from Doussard, plus I’m assuming a by now pretty accurately calculated timetable back from BM/ Bossy’s 15.48 emergency call but I do find this six minute revision a little odd and puzzling. Any thoughts…?

9-20-2013 at 13:31:32

@partlucid, All Re ‘six minutes’

My guess is that that the ‘six minutes’ has been introduced to ‘connect’:

– the estimated start of the shooting (which possibly only took ’30 seconds’)

with the

– Zainab was walking bit (which possibly implies she was beaten just seconds before, with X escaping on seeing BM arriving in the distance)

Six minutes sounds like X was taking at least some minutes to ‘do’ things. But what?

The shooting took, say, 1 minute .. so what was X doing the other 5 minutes? Good question.

– M

9-20-2013 at 13:43:48

No Max, I think you’ve maybe misunderstood that: I don’t think the police are in a position to say that X WAS there for six minutes…

….I think the calculation is that this six minutes is the maximum period of time in which he COULD have carried out the shootings (plus whatever other related activities). He may equally have emptied all his three magazines and bludgeoned Zainab within a minute…and then skedaddled…

9-20-2013 at 13:55:26

@ Partlucid

Indeed, in a recent post, Lynda mentioned: “Did any of you pick up that the entire event ‘took less than six’ minutes ? Way back Vinneman said about 4 minutes, Maillaud 30 seconds, to me the longer the period the more likely a silencer was used.”
The sad truth is the time window she’s referring to is nothing more than speculation. The only markers are the time-stamp for the pictures in Doussard (15:15) and the logged time of the initial phone call to rescue services (15:48). Assuming both these markers were perfectly accurate, which is questionable, it would provide for a total interval of 33 minutes, in which must be included 3 events:
– the Al-Hillis car ride from Doussard up to Le Martinet,
– the shootings with their possible “foreplay” and aftermath,
– the arrival of WBM at the scene, his heroic intervention, his subsequent ride back down, the encounter with the hikers (whatever their name really is) and their return to the scene before the call was made.

In any case, we may consider that’s a lot of things to happen in just 33 minutes. I personally don’t believe in this. But it is yet possible in theory. Now, as far as working out how long each of these 3 periods could have been, this is mere speculation. Neither the police nor one of us can be sure about this.

Besides, this may not be the critical issue: as it’s been spotted several times before, this general timeline would tend to show that WBM must have passed by the Al-Hillis’ BMW on the way up (14 minutes car drive, 30 minutes on a mountain bike). Which his testimony denies. Some of us have tried to account for this discrepancy by suggesting they were following different routes. This explanation is anything but convincing. Either one of the two markers is inaccurate, or the testimony is incorrect. There’s a choice, but otherwise things just don’t add up. This is by far the main issue in terms of timeline, to which you may add, but as a subsidiary, the uncertain location and time of the X5 viewing.

9-20-2013 at 14:14:08


…please excuse my ignorance on this Eugene…but if we accept that the Al-Hillis are travelling up from Doussard to le Martinet from, say, 15.15 to to 15.27 (the report I read suggested a journey time of 12 mins for that)…and on the other hand we have Brett Martin trundling his way up (doesn’t he take the best part of half an hour?) to arrive at, say, 15.33 at the earliest…

….then I’m struggling to see where BM PASSES the Al-Hillis on that trip…?

On those timings it’s conceivable that the Al-Hilli BMW may have passed him, and if that is the case then I can only assume that the police have required him to conceal that detail. For whatever reason…..

That’s how I would see things at any rate, although I’m always eager for correction…

9-20-2013 at 14:30:59

@ Partlucid

If WBM reaches the Martinet at 15:33, as you suggest, he must have left Chevaline no later than 15:03 (30 minutes ride up was his bible). If he left at 15:03 from Chevaline, and the Al-Hillis were still in Doussard at 15:15, how could they not have met on the way??

9-20-2013 at 14:33:41

As a point, have any of you noticed that some reports have moved the time of the shooting to circa 15:40 ?

@Eugene, if the guy interviewed on the Channel 4 programme, was ‘the hiker’ P Bossy, then I posted a link to a photo of him at his job a while back.

So, is he real or an actor, appeared real to me, I think Peter and Lars would agree.

Now you’re going to ask me to find it again, I’ll try !

9-20-2013 at 14:47:51


I conceded that the Al-Hillis may have overtaken HIM on the way up, but not the other way round. Perhaps your 15.33 was intended to read that ‘WBM must have BEEN passed by the Al-Hillis on the way up’….

As stated earlier I consider it entirely possible that the police, for some reason, felt to conceal that. I can hardly imagine that they’ve got their sums wrong on what are fairly simplistic timings…

9-20-2013 at 14:50:25

@ Lynda

Bossy, an actor or not? You’re worse than me, I never suspected that. In any case, FB should know, the two of them seem to have been filmed for Ch 4 on the same premises. And the filming crew was French, right?
Shootings: add or substact 5 minutes, doesn’t make things different. There’s stiill a big timeline issue, if we try to believe everything we’ve been told..

9-20-2013 at 14:59:38

@ Partlucid

Please excuse my American English. But if you think the police “felt” like concealing the Al-Hillis had passed WBM on the way up, this raises 2 questions:
a) Why?
b) What else did they feel like concealing?

9-20-2013 at 15:16:08


Eugene, the notion that the police might have asked WBM to conceal such a detail is PURE SPECULATION on my part. I have no insight into how the police may/ or may not carry out their work…however it was obvious from the press conferences that they’re not in any way answerable either to the wider public, or even the press. What they choose to release or conceal about their understanding of the crime is entirely a matter for them, and I presume they’ll be guided by operational considerations in that…

I’ve thought from the outset that BM was credible…ergo if the timings suggest he must have been passed by/ encountered the Al-Hillis BMW on the way up then there must be some good reason for that detail having been withheld. In my view it’s just not conceivable that he’s somehow deceived the police with his timings…or that, even more preposterously, the police didn’t twig that their paths must’ve crossed…!

9-20-2013 at 15:23:32

@ partlucid

it’s precisely that “good reason” I fail to guess.
But in any case, like Snoopy, the Haute-Savoie police need all the friends they can get.

9-20-2013 at 15:40:28


Your post

“WBM must have passed by the Al-Hillis’ BMW on the way up (14 minutes car drive, 30 minutes on a mountain bike). Which his testimony denies”

He doesn’t deny it. He just doesn’t say it.
It isn’t testimony. It’s an interview to the press.
And a “set up” interview at that.

However I do believe (like you say) the Al Hill BMW did passed WBM on that hill climb. And I do believe that the BMW 4×4 past WBM twice. Once up hill. Once down hill.

Here’s what WBM told the press.

Q Now, on your way up, before you came across this scene, two vehicles passed you. You’ve been able to give police a limited description. Talk me through what you saw.

Well, bearing in mind I had been out riding for about an hour and a half, so I was getting fairly tired and I was sort of grinding up a steep hill on my mountain bike, pretty much just looking down at the road in front of me, because of the sort of steepness and sort of exertion needed. And I had a recollection at some point of probably a four-by-four coming past me, it was a large vehicle. And again a motorbike at some point passed me going down and that’s really ,they were the only noticeable things for anybody coming down before I reached the car park”.

He later goes on to say

Q If the police were to say to you “can you identify anybody in that vehicle or on the motorbike?”, what would your response be?

No, I mean the motorcyclist had a helmet on and the car… I was more looking down at the road ahead of me. Because It was a single track road I was sort of trying to keep to the edge, to sort of make space for the car to get past me, so I had no reason to. I didn’t sort of clock every driver that past me. So, no, I wouldn’t have. I couldn’t even tell you whether there was one or ten people in the car. Obviously it must have had a driver, but that’s about it.

WBM in the first section tells of how he had head down whilst riding
And he has a “recollection” of a large vehicle passing him.

(He also mentions the motorbike…and gives that a direction).

WBM in the second part tells us how he made space for the vehicle by keeping to the edge to let the 4×4 get past him.

He obviously saw the BMW 4×4 this time.
That was more than just a “recollection”, he says he was keeping to the edge.

Same interview. Two different versions of one event ?
Or two different events….made to seem as one.

9-20-2013 at 15:57:01

@ James, 9-20-2013 at 15:40:28

You have beaten me to it. Here is the full interview transcript

9-20-2013 at 16:01:05

As far as I’m aware (could easily be wrong on this though, as on multiple other points) WBM gave no interviews to the press. He sat down for one filmed ‘interview’ with the BBC which in my view was very shrewd of him. And it’s really a misnomer to call it an interview: it’s a report on what he saw – which has presumably been cleared for release by the police – which ‘takes the form of an interview’ although the BBC man is obviously just there to prompt him as and when, so that the thing runs smoothly. It’s not an examination of his statement because, having received police approval, he’s obviously got nothing to answer for…

….and having given the BBC an exclusive he would have been in a strong position to discuss what form the thing would take. Thereafter all those troublesome, never-ending press enquiries would simply have been referred to….the piece on the BBC.

But it is interesting to see some of the transcript again, I hadn’t been able to locate it on a previous occasion…

9-20-2013 at 16:02:00

Well done Peter, thanks..

9-20-2013 at 16:30:54

Hmm…having read the transcript…he talks only of two vehicles (the 4×4 and the bike) passing him. Presumably both on the way DOWN…because he doesn’t correct Symonds when he puts it to him in those terms, and he also talks of not being even able to recognise the driver.

There is an interesting linguistic quirk when he talks of “arbitrary CARS” plural!….but that’s probably him just using that form of words…

9-20-2013 at 16:40:14

Although reading it again…this is interesting I think…

they were the only noticeable things for anybody coming down before I reached the car park.

….that “for anybody coming down” actually does suggest to me that there may well be a separate category “for anything going up” which, for reasons unknown, ha been omitted…?

9-20-2013 at 16:55:17

@James Re ‘He obviously saw the BMW 4×4 this time.’

Imho not correct

BM saw 4×4 ‘vert’ and mc, both coming down.

Imho a 4×4 would refer to a ‘Jeep’ type (or a very obvious 4×4 model, but imho not a X5)

From 7:30 onwards

– M

9-20-2013 at 17:03:41

Multiple events, multiple stories.
He’s still a hero, no worries. And I guess he has no “injunction” to hide himself.

9-20-2013 at 18:35:09


In this account he’s unable to specify a colour, and I thought the 4×4 had generally come to be referred to as simply ‘dark-coloured’ or ‘perhaps grey’. Maybe you know of other reports where BM is quoted as describing the 4×4 as vert…

A very VERT vehicle is emphatically identified by Maillaud in one of the first press conferences (he actually repeats the ‘vert’ for emphasis) although I don’t know if this one and Brett Martin’s 4×4 are one and the same. I suspect not actually; because in Martin’s ‘interview’ there’s also interesting talk of other witnesses…

SYMONDS: Now one of the difficulties we understand the police are having is that several of the eye witness accounts differ as to timing that these vehicles passed.

My guess is that Maillaud’s double “Vert!” was actually an appeal to the ONF guys to come forward…

9-20-2013 at 18:47:02


I agree with you. I really don’t think WBM is “fishy”.

But I believe he was “requested” to discuss the matter in the manner he did.
By that I mean “not to mention that Saad had past him. And not to mention that the 4×4 BMW past him (on the way up) also”.

9-20-2013 at 18:59:13

@partlucid Re ‘4×4 vert’

Re ‘My guess is that Maillaud’s double “Vert!” was actually an appeal to the ONF guys to come forward…’

That is a very clever remark! (I didn’t think of that one/possibility … well observed!)

@9:45 in the video (below) EM already softens the ‘vert’ to ‘vert ou sombre’ … intriguing!

– M

9-20-2013 at 20:46:39

Saad passes WBM on the way up the hill.
WBM is also passed by the 4×4 and by Mollier.
Which order, I have no idea.

WBM is then “re passed” by 4×4 again going down the hill.
And then the motorbike, also going down hill.

Who gets to the car park first, I also have no idea.
But as the ladies in the rear were wearing seatbelts, so I doubt they were there long before the shooting began.

The police place Al Hilli and Mollier together (near each other) when the shooting began (blood spatter patterns). We have to accept that (whether we believe it or not).

So was Al Hilli and Mollier “stood” (stood/passing/located etc) near the sigh when the shooting began ? The inference would be that.

If Mollier had reached the carpark first, he was able to “wait” and not be attcked.

So the importance of WBM’s omissions are very relevant in understanding “who” triggered the shooting. (Or if a single party had triggered the shooting).

9-20-2013 at 20:48:51

To give a relief to our discussion on the number of bullets carried and used in Chevaline I can say that the poacher in Austria fired at least 50 bullets at the police during his flight. He carried not only his hunting rifle but also a semi-automatic gun.

9-20-2013 at 21:42:47

Great exchanges today.

I can remember the 4×4 being described as ‘vert’ which led everyone to believe it was the green vehicle of the forestry folks.

I again point out that I asked William Brett Martin both in an email and in a letter which I posted to his home address in the UK to grant us an interview. He did not reply. It would be so interesting to have him speak to us himself. But well – one can’t milk a stone.

Do enjoy commenting tonight.

Speak 2moro.

9-20-2013 at 22:41:24

I find this graphics interesting:

Even if you don’t understand German I think you will understand what it says. The first column is ‘firearms/100 inhabitants’ for various countries, the second is ‘number of dead by firearms/100 000 inhabitants’.

Great Britain is hardly visible in that statistics.

(Why Sweden has so many firearms (32/100 inhabitants) but so few dead by firearms I don’t know, but I guess these firearms are mostly hunting rifles and very few pistols, revolvers and such)

9-20-2013 at 23:07:49
9-20-2013 at 23:15:12
9-20-2013 at 23:18:33

Strange, since I still can’t reach Marilyn’s blog directly these links also get strange. The part with anonymouse and www. marilyn… shouldn’t be there. Perhaps you can edit it Lynda.

9-21-2013 at 00:19:21

@ Lars

I have to say, your links are not a pretty sight these days 😉érence-savoie.pdf

The “anonymouse” bit that you but none of us are seeing is due to your chosen proxy server, that http://www.marilyn.blabla is due to that [censored] ShareThis [censored] that Marilyn has installed.

9-21-2013 at 00:36:25

(yup, me playing gta5;)

9-21-2013 at 00:43:00

(Police found the bodies, but still have no clue … was there a target? was it a nutter? A phone was found, supposedly with a self portrait of X … some people think he takes self portraits with his trophies in the background, but the police does not confirm or deny this. They keep quiet about this. The question is, when/where will he strike next?)

9-21-2013 at 01:31:53

Having read the transcript of the Brett Martin interview again, I realise that the second part, which looks at his cycle ride up to Le Martinet, is only a discussion of the (2) vehicles which come down the hill and past him. There is no mention of any vehicles overtaking him on the way up, and Tom Symonds does not put that point/ or question to him. That would be such a glaring omission – by both of them – that I’m struggling to see that as accidental. It would have taken but a few seconds for the pair to have affirmed that “nothing had overtaken him on the way up” (Symonds at one point even confirms the 30 minutes journey time) so I think it far likelier they’ve agreed not to disclose/ discuss what went past him on the way up…

….hence Martin’s slightly odd turn of phrase:

they were the only noticeable things for anybody coming down before I reached the car park

The other part in this section which strikes me as further significant is the moment when he emphasizes how much he would have loved! to be able to identify the occupants of the 4×4 which has come down past him. Just from the transcript alone there is a real sense of weight attached to this – indeed it’s even tempting to suggest that from his own considerations of the situation, plus the impressions or observations he’ll have formed during the extensive police interviews, he’s perhaps come to think that it was the occupant(s) of this car which has/ have carried out the killings…

In my view this dark-coloured 4×4 later comes to be identified as the BMWX5 of the Crimewatch appeal. This car is described as having been on the combe d’Ire road about 2km from le Martinet, and roughly 20 minutes before the killings. Note that if the police are calculating the TIME from the DISTANCE (which I think they must be because they seem to have no SPECIFIC time as such) then this would appear to have been worked out using Brett Martin as ‘the measure’…ie…10 minutes per kilometre. This of course tallies with his tiring 30 minutes ride up…

If it’s not Brett Martin who supplied the information for the Crimewatch sighting then the only other party I can conceivably think of would have to be our mysterious ONF friends….or perhaps even the supposedly unidentified biker!!! I don’t think we have any other reports of anyone else being on the road at this point (it’s far too early for Bossy). So on balance, for me, I’d have to go for it being BM’s information which led to the Crimewatch appeal…

Ergo, and to paraphrase Peter…it woz the XX wot dun it…
(I only hope that doesn’t transgress Marilyn’s strict guidelines on accusations)

9-21-2013 at 02:11:44

“I only hope that doesn’t transgress Marilyn’s strict guidelines on accusations”

Are you referring to normal etiquette ?
Marilyn’s “guidelines” are what I understand to be “normal etiquette”.

Remember when you hit “enter” it is YOU who is publishing.
There are countless blogs that allow “bizarre mud throwing”. No doubt you can “accuse away” to your hearts content.

But “publishing” what ?
I can not understand your analysis. What are you trying to say ?
Which Part Is Lucid ?

9-21-2013 at 02:20:21


You could always try reading it again if you don’t understand it, that sometimes works for me…

Marilyn doesn’t allow any parties to be accused of carrying out the murders.

9-21-2013 at 02:32:46

It’s called “proof”.
It doesn’t only apply to fine Whisky.

But your post is not clear on “who” you are accusing.
And why…or your “the proof”.

Are you accusing Brett Martin ????

9-21-2013 at 02:53:49

It is not possible to conclude anything from Martin’s interview…other than there is a possibility that he was passed twice by a 4×4 vehicle (once upwards, once downwards).

And that on the downwards run, it was followed by (at some point) by a motorbike.

The only other thing to conclude, is that his interview “seems” managed in the information it reveals (and in terms of an “ongoing investigation”, I can see why).

9-21-2013 at 04:42:44

Oh dear there’s something of a schoolboy error in my ‘logic’ of 01.31..!
(I suppose it’s one of the dangers of posting out loud, and late at night to boot)

Earlier I had thought that Brett Martin’s sighting of a dark-coloured 4×4, coming past him and down the hill, and about 20 minutes before he would go on to discover the grisly scene up at the car park…was perhaps the same sighting which featured in the Crimewatch appeal:

The vehicle was seen some 20 minutes before the shootings on the Combre d’Ire Road around 2 kilometres from the car park.
It is vital that the detectives investigating these vicious killings identify the driver of this vehicle so that they can be eliminated from their enquiry.

What has confused me is that the locations of each sighting appear to be pretty similar; here’s BM on ‘where’ he encountered the 4×4:

so just at some point you know, midway up the hill, the vehicle, and then a little bit later a motorcycle passed me, quite unremarkable events at the time.

And also the timings, because from ‘midway’ it would presumably have taken him a good 15 minutes to finally reach the car park…

Perhaps the UK police are being VERY cute and looking to protect BM by not implicating him in their appeal…ie…they’ve described the sighting of the 4×4 as occurring 20 minutes before the killings whereas, if my first instincts were correct, then it could have occurred 20 minutes before HIS DISCOVERY of the killings…

Alternatively, I may have to fall back on my other proposal of 01.31, namely that perhaps the police are drawing on an ONF sighting for the Crimewatch appeal. Either way, I still consider it highly possible that the Crimewatch X5 and the dark-coloured 4×4, encountered by BM on his way up, are the same vehicle. Sorry Max!

9-21-2013 at 04:57:42


You seem to be confusing a court of law, where of course proof (or more accurately, the ability to argue one’s case persuasively) is paramount…

….with what we have here: which I always understood as a forum for discussion and opinions…

…and on the question of what may/ or may not be inferred from BM’s interview, then you’re obviously entirely entitled to hold your own views on that. By a similar token I’m very happy with what I think I’ve gleaned from it.

For what it’s worth, I’m starting to come round to thinking that maybe this unidentified X5 was involved in the killings after all (I’d previously thought it ‘innocent’). I believe Ron posted something not so very different fairly recently where he had the X5 maybe barring Saad’s escape…

And finally, I can’t see how what I’ve posted tonight is so materially different from other speculations, but as ever I’m always grateful for any guidance…

9-21-2013 at 09:11:30


When the cat’s away the mice will play… This cat is always away at night so the mice play.

Will say: I have a scam catcher installed on my website. This means scam goes into a folder where it remains until I clear it (if I do). Then, if I do, it goes into a ‘Pending’ folder from where I must again free it. I need that scam catcher as I am offered Gucci bags about a dozen times a day. And also little blue pills at bargain prices ‘as you’ve never been offered before’. Good to know that should I need those little pills I will know where to go look for them. But first hell will have to freeze over.

I do not have any words blocked and neither do I have any email addresses blocked.

And yes, there is an embargo on direct accusations, but you all know this by now and abide by this Commandment. (The 11th in my Bible.)

So, continue commenting and have a nice commenting day.

Speak later.

9-21-2013 at 09:59:14


Yes, and sometimes the mice squabble loudly. But they are friends in the end and there is no offence intended. 😉

9-21-2013 at 11:21:02

I have heard that some people call us commentators on the MZT-blog ‘Agatha Christie detectives’. I guess we are then more of the Hercule Poirot type than the Jacques Clouseau type. If I have to choose a French detective I rather choose Auguste Dupin, invented by Edgar Allan Poe.

If we however look at the characters involved in this drama there is certainly something of a ‘Christie-story’ or ‘Sherlock Holmes-story’ over it. You could almost imagine detective gathering all these interesting people around this story in the library explaining to them who the killer is.

To repeat, we have the victims:

* The Al-Hilli family, the father with links to the satellite business, with a background in Iraq (offers the possibility of endless speculation for the lover of exotic Arabic tales and the xenophobic), a mother-in-law from (exotic) Sweden with a son who has abused his parents

* Sylvain Mollier, who recently got a child with a well-to-do, much younger, woman, on a tour on an expensive bike (a present from his wife-to-be) suggested by his father-in-law-to-be.

The victims have a common background in that they both (Saad and Sylvain) lost their fathers the year before and thus had a heritage to take care of, as well as that they both had ‘relatives’ that are deeply involved in the pharmacy-business.

The first witnesses:

* Brett-Martin, a former fighter pilot in the RAF on a sort of ‘holiday’ in France, who refuses to talk to the press.

* Philippe Bossy, a ‘guide de haute montagne’, who even refuses to give his real name. I think that ‘Bossy’ was a slip of the tongue by the Telegraph, never intended to be revealed.

Well there are even more interesting people surrounding this story but I will not list them here. There is evidently nothing more an ‘armchair detective’ could wish for.

Well, let us now look a little closer at this Bossy character. He was described as a ‘randonneur chevronné’ by Le Parisien, which he certainly is since he is a ‘guide de haute montagne’. I have studied that institution for some time since it might be of interest in this case. You might think that it is something easy to become a ‘guide de haute montagne’, but you actually have to study for a long time and write exams to get accepted as ‘guide de haute montagne’. See e.g. Syndicat National des Guides de Montagne and Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix . There is a lot of prestige involved in becoming such a guide. I think that the badge that you can see on Bossy’s sweater in the Ch4-documentary (see the summary) is from his affilation to the ‘ guides de haute montagne’.

I will add parts of this information about Bossy in the revised version of the summary of the MZT-blog.

So why is then this interesting? Firstly, Bossy wasn’t just an ordinary hiker going for an afternoon walk in the mountains. He is a professional guide taking his clients (?) for a tour. Somebody might have picked up the information that he was going on this tour. Secondly the organisation that he belongs to is interesting since it is a part of the type of organisations, like the ONF/CRPF and Les Chasseurs Alpine, that I think also the killer might have links to.

It still would be nice to know what kind of car (and its colour) Bossy was driving.

9-21-2013 at 11:35:06


Der Weise Handschuh arrived this morning. I can understand Der deutsche Unternehmer Christian Fendt wird im Nordosten Chinas mit offenen Armen empfangen. Then I got stuck … I also can understand the last para – Die Handlung von ‘Der weisse Handschuh’ ist inspiriert von … etc.

I should have paid attention at school in my German classes instead of sitting giggling at all the guttural sounds.

I will therefore have to wait until your novel is in English translation … I know it will be … and if you need a UK publisher let me know.

@Those who are German or who know German.

This novel will be a great read.

9-21-2013 at 11:43:14


I rather fancy being Dr Watson … I will call on Sherlock and sit beside the roaring fire in his drawing room and ask him to analyse this shooting.And we will be drinking red Port Wine.And then we will have tea and biscuits served by his housekeeper in the finest of china. And then I will venture out on to a cold, rainy Baker Street.

@Lynda and @All

re: death certificates.

The cause of death is not noted on a death certificate in France. The cause is part of the illness and therefore it falls under ‘medical secrecy’.

I will also be suspicious of someone who applies for a copy of the death certificate of a murdered person. I will, in fact, be suspicious of anyone who applies for a copy of a death certificate of someone who was not a next-of-kin or a close relative. I am sure that if anyone calls in at a town hall here in France for a copy of a death certificate, the next-of-kin of the deceased person will be informed. That copy will not be issued without the signed authorisation of the next-of-kin. And in the case of murder, the town hall will contact the police.

9-21-2013 at 11:48:11


Sorry Ron, I misrepresented you at 5 o’clock this morning! and of course there’s my defence right there…!

On Sep 12th at 00.59 you wrote:

” Anyways, I think You are getting close and even closer if you could imagine
in your mag. GIF
the ONF 4WD making those arc-tracks ,”closing the door” for SAH, forcing him to do a “hard reverse” (but short and straight) in his first move to escape…Sadly too hard.
Not saying ONF = X but somehow allied with the motorbiker who I suspect is X ”

– See more at:

….I had misremembered your scenario as involving the X5…

9-21-2013 at 12:13:42

With Philippe Bossy we then also have a clear link to the economical very important tourist industry in Haute Savoie, and especially in the Chamonix area.

9-21-2013 at 12:36:24


…..and I guess it makes sense why Bossy went to the crime scene, on hearing that there had been a “terrible accident”.

I imagine he above all people would be trained (to a high level) in First Aid (and Rescue) given his particular occupation.

9-21-2013 at 12:46:50

@ Marilyn, 9-21-2013 at 11:35:06
Thanks for promoting my book. I shall gladly give you a summary of the contents when we meet, although reality is always stranger than fiction.

That rule also holds true for this Austrian cop-killer. As it turns out, he was not only a poacher, but also a serial burglar and arsonist (he acquired most of his guns by burgling hunting lodges, to which he set fire after burgling them). As the latest twist in the saga, he is now being suspected of also being a serial killer of prostitutes

Austrian men and their secret rooms, eh?

9-21-2013 at 13:06:27


Yes, these guides are very often part of the rescue team when an accident occurs in the Alps.

They also naturally know their ways around in the mountains, like Les Bauges, and they are at ‘home’ in the forests. Can be useful if you want to shoot something. 😉

PS: @Peter I have seen your book also in de.Amazon, so congratulations! Have you quit hunting Baltic bike thieves then?

9-21-2013 at 13:12:18


WOW ! Now it’s clear why the “SWAT” team were trying to arrest him.
I did wonder why that was. I guess you’ve provided the answer.
No “ordinary” hunter at all.

Somewhere on the last thread I posted something I’d found with regard the “link” between arson and psychopaths. It turns out arson is their “thing”.

9-21-2013 at 13:41:49


Actually the ‘Swat-team’ Cobra didn’t know about these other crimes when they tried to stop him with a road block. They just thought he was a poacher that had plagued the Anneberg region for quite some time.

There is an intense debate going on in Austrian media if the Cobra-team acted wisely. That is of course a very sensitive question, since three policemen, their colleagues, were killed. They however knew, of course, that he was armed, so I think it is a relevant question whether it was wise to try to stop him ‘in action’ with his gun.

9-21-2013 at 14:43:53


One thing it shows is how long (and relatively “undetected”) these “lone nuts” can get away with it for. Or at least “remain at large”.

9-21-2013 at 15:38:28

@ partlucid

Re: “ I had misremembered your scenario as involving the X5″

No problem… Nowadays, for me, the X5 is just an ONF fabrication…

But I would like you all to consider this WBM quote regarding SM :

“He wasn’t grazed like you’d think you’d see a cyclist with , being a cyclist I have fallen off my bike and got what they call “road rash” in the past, and you’d sort of expect that type of injury. So things didn’t quite work, er,so as the minutes went on I suddenly , you know, started to change my opinion about whether it was a car accident or something else”

Isn’t it remarkable to find a body, just beeing dragged through gravel under a car for several meters, in such a skin abrasion free condition ??

B.t.w. while I’m at it and with the persistence of a drunken Parrot :

-The rear track width doesn’t match a BMW 5:er.
-SM was run over by the right front wheel of the blocking 4×4.
-If ‘teh tracks’ were made by a braking vehicle, as said in the Press early on…It must have been a fairly old one (pre ABS).

Last post..Have to leave this Roundabout..Thank’s all and good hunting !

9-21-2013 at 16:24:23


Yes, these “lone nuts” are difficult to find. They seldom have a criminal record and have little social relations.

The Austrian police have however something in common with the French police that they couldn’t imagine that these were serial crimes, committed by one and the same perpetrator. I think the German police had the same problem in the NSU-case, though that wasn’t a “lone nut” but a collection of nuts and more well organised.

I still believe that the Chablais-killings are committed by a serial killer.

9-21-2013 at 16:33:20

Can anyone find out what later happened here ?
The strap lines and links are posted below.

Basically, human remains were found (it appears to be around the Combe D’ie) approx 2 month before the Al Hilli/Mollier murders.

In the first report they believe the body to be that of a local man who had disappeared.

Later it was believed to be the body of a young “desocialized” woman who was a known drug addict.

The prosecutor at the time said “No hypothesis is rejected”.
(That sounds like Eric ! Unless they all go on the same “course”)

The prosecutor did go on to say “..but there is nothing to suggest a villainous affair”

So…. no hypothesis is rejected…but it doesn’t look like a crime was committed. Just you average decomposed body lying in the woods again.

I don’t know what they found out about that death.
Or if there was “foul play” suspected, confirmed or completely rejected.
It maybe nothing. Then again it may not. I’m hoping someone with a better working knowledge of French could assist.

28 June 2012 ( By Pierre-Eric BURDIN)

“Des ossements humains découverts hier”

28 June 2012 ( By Stéphane BOUCHET )

“Ossements humains: l’identification devrait être rapide”

9-21-2013 at 19:28:11

@James, Lars has most info, I think it was a young woman, drugs overdose, I’m sure he’ll help you.

This ‘event’ is referred to by Lise Ducher in her interview to camera on the balcony of the farmhouse, I also found and posted a link to comment against a French press article. If I remember correctly, she said something along the lines of how quiet the area is and now two events…..

I also found and posted a link to comment against a French press article,
someone had written they’d been to Chevaline/Combe d’Ire (on holiday) in the weeks before and passed a cross and flowers, they weren’t precise as to where.

9-21-2013 at 19:55:48


I don’t know much more than Lynda. It was Eloise Lacombe, 28 (RIP) who was a drop-out from society and a drug addict. She lived in a car up at Combe d’Ire and probably died from an overdose. (from my own notes)

9-21-2013 at 21:30:15

@Lynda and @Lars

Thanks for the info. It just seemed an “odd” coincidence.
Such a terrible thing to happen to someone so young and so lost in life.
RIP Eloise Lacombe.

9-21-2013 at 22:31:33

My last post looks crap, please excuse me, sometimes I can’t see the square in which we are supposed to write !

She was what the French call ‘marginalised’ from society, did you understand that it was bones and the dog hadn’t eaten for 15 days, how long does it take for a body to become bones, it was summer ?

Did the dog eat her, wouldn’t be the first time that has happened, add the car and tent, I wonder where this was in relation to Les Bauges, where it appears no camping is allowed only use of Les Refuges, the chalets.

I assume that our Bossy and friends intended to stay in one of these, although I suppose you could lie in a sleeping bag under the stars, apparently the sunrise is magnificent.

9-21-2013 at 23:00:08


A body ‘disappears’ very quickly in the summer if you just leave it on the ground, mainly through foxes and wildboars, of course also with the help of insects.

Many murderers make the mistake when they try to hide a body in a forest that they wrap it up in plastics or even bury it. That will slow down the decomposition of the body and give the police more clues to work on.

When the wild life in the forest have done their work and dragged the bones around there is not much for the police to work on, if they will ever find any parts of the body.

This has been tested experimentally (with pigs instead of humans) by criminologists.

9-21-2013 at 23:00:50

I can not right now concentrate on any other murders. My head’s full to bursting.

I will now say have a good commenting night. I am going to listen to some Michael Jackson now.

Speak 2moro.

9-21-2013 at 23:27:31

Yeh, I (kind of) got the gist of the story.

I got the “15 days”.
I don’t know how you can tell how long a dog hasn’t eaten for.
Had the dog survived by eating her.
Of course there are other wild life. Pigs (Boars) can eat anything.

And if course it was summer. And a hot summer I recall.
So you could “sleep out”. And decompose pretty quickly.

Was there enough of this unfortunate woman to establish that she had taken an overdose ?

It still just seems a very odd story… especially when you consider what then happened two months later.

I don’t know what to make of it.
They say she was in the forest at Chevaline, but don’t say “where”.

Somewhere far enough away from “people” that she wasn’t seen by the normal summer traffic passing along the Combe D’Ire route ?

It was the Austrian killer that made me think.
He was “at it” for several years (the 90’s). They even thought “he” was a “gang”. It is just remarkable how long these people can keep their activities up.

Lars talks of a “serial killer” at large. I read about Mercier. That is most certainly a strange murder. I think he could be right.

Going back to the woman that died. Reports don’t say what the remains were.
I don’t know much about these things.

The only thing I do know is that once in Africa I recall a body being recovered.
It was understood animals had been at the body. “It” was without “it’s” head and an arm…and I recall a foot (I recall the head was missing as they estimated the height of the body….my first thought was…well you can guess that (black humour))

Just a thought.
If there was a serial killer at large….and Mollier only was killed on that afternoon, could there be a link between Mercier, Baligant, Lacombe and Mollier.

9-22-2013 at 00:06:34


I still think that the probability is much higher for a link between the Chablais-murders (Marechal, Maire, Meynet, Desbiolles and Mercier) and Chevaline (Mollier), based on the way they were performed.

I have just checked where Philippe Bossy lives (if he is the Bossy who lives in Annecy). I then be pretty nervous, because he is living in exactly such an area, with a forest close by, that the Chablais-killer prefers for his murders.

9-22-2013 at 00:36:31


I tend to be in quite some agreement with you on this.
A “lone nut” isn’t just a “lone nut”. There is a degree of planning involved.
And they have been years “in the making”.

9-22-2013 at 09:45:14


All quiet on the night front.

And here this morning I start my day with dogs eating bodies. Good Lord! What next!

And now I have to go write an article about yet some more murder.

Anyway, have a nice commenting day. If I still have the stomach to be able to eat I am today lunching about 45 minutes north of Paris in a charming country inn. I’m going with my biker friend – yes on his bike. And he tells me he has a new ‘spare’ crash helmet for me for today.

Speak later.

9-22-2013 at 11:11:03

Bonjour, Marilyn!

In Sweden it’s raining and cold, autumn begins after a hot summer.

9-22-2013 at 11:16:42

Hmm, I wonder how they know about the 15 days. Did they ask the dog?
‘-You haven’t eaten in a long time, have you?’
‘-Voff, Voff,…….’ 🙁 (repeated 15 times)
–You don’t say (bark), not for 15 days!’

9-22-2013 at 13:17:05

To the best of my knowledge, “15 jours” in colloquial French often only implies an indefinite period of time, just like in English “scores of people” doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a multiple of 20.
After 5/6 days of starvation, any dog will try to feed himself through any means available (hunting, poaching, scavenging). Even though, dogs will usually only go for a human corpse as a very last resource. This is mostly seen in the aftermath of civil wars when bodies remain unattended. In the course of the Rwandan genocide of 1994 for instance, many cadavers were eventually shredded and partly devoured by stray dogs.
I doubt such could have been the case in Chevaline.

@ Lars

No doubt there’s a Chablais serial killer on the loose. Yet, I don’t think he’s connected with the Al-Hillis/Mollier case, nor with the mysterious death of this young lady. Mysterious since it’s apparently blamed on OD, but this account is puzzling: hard drugs are expensive, seldom used in the wilderness, and leave evidence (syringe, straw..). Different ctargets and modus operandi.

9-22-2013 at 13:18:53


The dog actually barked 18 times, so therefore the police calculated it must have barked 19 times….later it was “leaked” that the dog actually barked 15 times.

Hence I believe Eric was the spokesman on that case also.

Given this happened in June 2012…and then the events of September 2012, it does make it “strange” to say the least.

Of course there are coincidences in life (and death).
The probability of a “down and out” setting up camp in the woods on a balmy summers evening and accidentally taking an overdose… is not outside the realms of possibility at all.

If she was far enough off the beaten track, then the discovery of her body would indeed take days….and they weren’t looking for her (I read about “GeoCachers” trying to find that waterfall and they find that difficult…and they have a rough idea where they are going).

The reports say it was just “bones” they discovered. Was there enough to conduct an autopsy to discover the cause of death from just “bones”, if that death was concluded to be a drugs overdose ?

The article talks of the collection of DNA to establish an identity. And that a pathologist will “appraise” the bones. Can they tell an overdose from that ?
I imagine that they could tell if there were any shattered or broken bones, so that would be an indication of “no foul play”.

One other thing I read in the articles was the fact that the gendarmerie were conducting the investigation (the “military” will be responsible for the investigation). Is this unusual in such a matter ? It was “printed” after all.

Would the “local” police not be involved in such a “local” affair.
I don’t know how the jurisdictions operate in France.

9-22-2013 at 13:31:59


“15 jours ailleurs”

Well you lean something new everyday !

So we don’t know how long she had been there.
Presumably long enough for the body to deteriorate….but not long enough for the dog to die or leave.

9-22-2013 at 13:47:20

(did I say this before? dont remember anymore:)

I still think the LR to SM phone call has ‘shaken up’ the investigators

Imho JMD/LP ‘leaked’ the off the record (after conference) stuff EM told the journo’s. Now those 3 ‘exclusives’ were all 3(!) about SM

– SM dragged by car and was FIRST shot
– SM seen by 3rd cyclist
– SM was called by LR

SO … while it seems like chevaline is all about UK/SAH … apparently the police is ‘bothered’ by all this SM stuff popping up. To the outside world the police says they are into the UK/SAH side, but internally they probably (must) have a second better look at SM

Because there is only so much you can ‘explain away’;)

Explain away:

– Luger (local, why?)
– SM first shot (why?)
– SM called less then 15 minutes before being shot (why?)
– SM ‘goto lost’ (weird?)

So, before the police can go the UK/SAH route with confidence they have to somehow explain all those weird SM stuff, and imho they have a hard time doing that, while on the UK/SAH front they don’t find anything ‘hard’.

Of course SAH had stuff on his HDD, why not, the guy obviously liked tech stuff and kept logs. What is the problem? I also keep all my emails. Why delete them? A 2TB HDD costs less then 100 dollars so money/diskspace is NOT the problem anymore, like it was int 90’s:)

Oh, SAH had a lot of documents with him … so what??? It probably was a collection of boring, weird, difficult to read legal stuff etc which he perhaps wanted to go over to understand and settle it. And that process needs so dedicated time (focus) … If I do my tax forms (once a year), the whole floor is scattered with papers, receits, you name it. Do that mean I’m doing something shady?? Nope, I just have to fill in and understand all this legal/tax stuff, and that takes some time and scattered papers/docs etc.

So SAH took ‘a lot of documents’ … Now, imho, that could be perfectly harmless:)

And we do not have to be kidded into some ‘it is so difficult’ story, and ‘we do work so hard’ story.

The police have now put dozens of YEARS (1 year x dozens of investigators) into SAH/UK alone … and have come up with NOTHING!

That is a lot of tax payers money with zero result:)

– M

9-22-2013 at 13:50:02

To continue my car chase of 36 hours ago…

This is from the Telegraph of the 10th October 2012:

Detectives have also been hunting for a British-registered car seen speeding away from the scene by another British cyclist who discovered the massacre.
Police said the witness saw a dark-coloured Mitsubishi Pajero 4×4 being driven by a ‘nervous’ looking man.

This is of course the fabled ‘Pajero’ which was much sought in these early days of the enquiry; in some reports it was even described as black I believe. It’s clearly a report of Brett Martin’s encounter with the 4×4 which came down past him, as he was making his way up to Le Martinet. Interestingly this report ‘confirms’ the British plates, and even also attributes a description of the driver to Martin. With time and perhaps other witness statements, I think this car then mutates into the dark-coloured BMWX5 which the UK police highlight in the April edition of Crimewatch. I’ve been comparing images of the two cars this morning (though I’m not computer-savvy enough to be able to put up images. Sorry) and it would be a very easy misidentification to make, particularly if you were struggling uphill on a bike…

And to reiterate a point made earlier by Max, Maillaud’s Thursday press conference further confirms that, at that stage, they couldn’t be entirely sure of this vehicle (it transforms from ‘vert’ to ‘sombre’ instantaneously at one point)

As I’m sure I’ve said before, I see the Crimewatch feature as irrefutably placing this car at the scene of the crime: it’s a serious and succinct programme and they wouldn’t muck about with fanciful speculations. It doesn’t necessarily implicate the vehicle in the crime of course…but for me it does confirm that it was there. And similarly for me, Crimewatch also confirms ipso facto Brett Martin’s testimony in large part. I assume his ‘reticence’ in the filmed interview – apropos the car sightings – was to avoid very large CYCLIST SEES ALPS KILLER SPEEDING OFF headlines. Equally it may have also been at the behest of the police.

9-22-2013 at 14:25:01

@James Re:’number of barks’

If it was Maillaud I am sure he would ask the dog to come forward and explain itself. But the dog had disappeared and hadn’t given any name or address. 🙂


I think there has to be a ‘change of the guards’ before it is possible to look at a Mollier-‘piste’.


To use Max words, I know from a very reliable source that Brett-Martin wasn’t able to describe the car’s license plates, the driver or anything else on the car.

9-22-2013 at 14:27:29


Yes, I forgot to explain that the gendarmerie is in charge outside big cities in France, rural France is their territory.

9-22-2013 at 14:28:08

@partlucid Re 4×4 etc.

I think you have a point, and you make it plausible that there could be an X5 and that this X5 was seen driving downhill by BM

But it remains very WEIRD!

We then still have the MC1 who is placed BETWEEN the X5 and Martinet. As this MC1 is accounted for, what exactly did he see/hear??

We also have the rethink the ONF, because if BM saw the X5, it was not the ONF, so where was the ONF? (and why didn’t those guys come forward sooner?)

Because there supposedly was this ONF guy (car nutter) who saw the X5 (RHD BMW) … where did he saw this X5? And were did this witness go? Or is this guy perhaps MC1?

Anyway, timelinewise it is imho IMPOSSIBLE that X5=X … but X5 could have transported X to Martinet

Still a ‘mess’ to me:)

– M

9-22-2013 at 14:37:36

@Lars re ‘@partlucid To use Max words, I know from a very reliable source that Brett-Martin wasn’t able to describe the car’s license plates, the driver or anything else on the car’

Thx Lars.


Suppose there really was an X5 (partlucid argument) but the only thing which has been ‘tweaked’ is the UK/RHD bit!

The RHD/UK ‘tweaking’ was done (by ??? ONF car nutter???) to direct the investigation towards UK/SAH

Because perhaps IN REAL it was a LOCAL X5 (carrying a LOCAL X with a LOCAL gun Luger to a LOCAL target SM)

Just a thought;)

– M

9-22-2013 at 15:00:08

My guess is that the Pajero has mutated into the BMWX5 over a slightly longer timescale, and perhaps involving a patchwork of cross-referenced sightings. For example I believe reports surfaced of a dark-coloured BMW?, or certainly a 4X4, having been of some interest to the police in the Annecy area. And I still think it possible that someone along the two immediate routes out of Combe d’Ire may have also been able to contribute an additional confirmatory sighting.


I don’t really know what the role of the ONF is in all of this. My guess is that they were maybe parked up somewhere along the route, maybe having an overly long ‘lunch’, or maybe even a tryst with a lover! Something like that; something maybe even slightly illicit or professionally embarrassing. I haven’t made any kind of a study on this (I think it could be a chapter in it’s own right) but I can’t reeeally see them being involved because it must surely have been reasonably easy for the police to learn exactly which ONF were around. And similarly I just can’t see the police falling for some uncorroborated ONF fabrications; that would be just too inept of them…

9-22-2013 at 16:09:47


If it really really a (UK plated?) RHD car (X5) pointing to a UK/SAH ‘hit’ … well, good luck to the investigators to explain the shower of weird SM details

As well as explaining why on earth SAH would be targetted on his holiday in a such bizarre location from the point-of-view of SAH … the ‘logistics’ alone gives me a headache. In the case of SAH=target … every(!) detail gives me a headache!

But I have a way around headaches:) Let the police have those headaches in following up on SAH=Target … and let me just toy with the much more easy puzzle of SM=target (in that case I have no headaches … just some pieces missing, thats all;)

– M

9-22-2013 at 16:24:43

Having clicked my way through some of the regional “faits divers” of the last two years, an average of three-four people a year vanish without trace or come to a grisly end within a 15-kilometre radius around Chevaline. Two young men missing after visiting the Elements music festival, a crashed car found in the mountains without any trace of the driver, another wrecked car found burnt-out with a charred body inside, missing hikers who were never found, the list goes on and on.

The reason why I mention these deaths is that *some* of them could be murders committed by the Chablais killer. The trouble with linking the Chablais killer to the Martinet murders is that the Chablais killer has a slow and steady rhythm, a fairly invariant MO, as well as a clear preference for a certain type of setting, i. e., isolated houses bordering on woodland. All of the foregoing are quite dissimilar from the Martinet murders. However, if the same guy were also responsible for fairly spontaneous outdoor attacks on motorists, ramblers and hitchhikers out in the mountains, that, to me, would render it more plausible that he could be responsible for the Martinet murders.

9-22-2013 at 16:32:24

I agree entirely Max. I’ve always fond the logistics of a UK-based hit on the Al-Hillis just so improbable: an old Luger with just 3×7 shots for a family of 5!or even 3…and then them also taking themselves up to a cul-de-sac in a forest! with a contract killer in tow. The improbability of it all was one of the reasons why I’d always thought the rogue killer a more plausible option…

However here’s a further thing from Brett Martin’s interview (I think James really got to this point before I did). If you allow yourself to speculate that he WAS passed by both the Al-Hillis BMW and this mystery X5 on the way UP (remember his TV interview tellingly made NO mention of any vehicles overtaking him) and then of course by the X5 on the way back down…

….then this section of his interview starts to literally take on a whole new meaning (or at least it did for me)…

MARTIN: If someone asks you “what are the last three cars you saw?” and you hadnt been primed to consider what they are and try to remember them, it’s pretty hard to think back, because they were completely unremarkable and in contrast someone said “the next three cars, remember what they are”, you’d be primed and you’d remember it probably quite clearly, so unfortunately I’d love to say I saw everything, but unfortunately I didn’t see how many people in the car I didn’t get much detail on the car because I was just riding my bike an they were just some arbitrary cars that were passing me as every car on every day of the week does

9-22-2013 at 16:41:10

@partlucid (and james)

I see what you mean;) The use of ‘three’ (and ‘carSSSS’) is remarkable:)

– M

9-22-2013 at 17:18:44

@partlucid @Max

In Martin’s interview he explains “twice” how he was past by the 4×4.
Once that he didn’t see it, but was aware of it.
The second time when he recalls keeping to the edge of the road.

Now if you think that he hasn’t made mistakes in that interview due to the pressure he’s under (he’s infront of the camera, being on national television, at the heart of a police murder hunt….this isn’t landing an aircraft that has an issue. “That” you do on your recurrents. It’s second nature. )…. check out what he says about after it is all over.

The fire and rescue pass him on their way up right.
We know that. That’s what they do.

But what else does he say that’s “slightly” odd at that point ?
Yet when you realise what had actually happened (what had actually passed him) his “statement” makes perfect sense.

9-22-2013 at 17:25:42

This is comment 100 on this new thread.

I am now back from my motorbike ride. What to say? The weather turned cool. The lunch was really delicious. As for motorcycles? You can take it from me it wasn’t me on that motorcycle seen at the lay-by on September 5 2012. Not my favourite transport mode.

Want to add this, something you have all missed, or is this a scoop and will we see it the Sun tomorrow?

An eyewitness reported seeing a large black dog on the rear seat of the dark green Pajero. It was a Labrador type dog and he had a red neckband. The driver was racing from the scene, zig-zagging and continued to swing round to look through the rear window.

9-22-2013 at 17:34:44

And as you were on your way back there, the rescue services started arriving?

Yea, the, er, they’re called the Pompiers, which is a fire rescue services . They were the first peple to come past up the hill. There was I think three of their vehicles, followed by SAMU who’s like a fire, sorry an ambulance service, and then following them were a couple of gendarme vehicles.

Straight up to the scene?

They went – the thing that I wasn’t able to sort of hail them down because they were fast as they could go with all their sirens blaring.

And I found out subsequently talking to the French Police, that on that or their radio net they knew there had been some murderous activity going on and in spite of that very high risk, they went straight to the rescue scene, so if anybody’s a hero in this event, then I think the fire and rescue services are the boys to be praised.

I believe that Martin had been requested to “miss out” various points.
The main “bit” being not to mention that Al Hilli in his BMW had past him AND ALSO that the 4×4 had past him going up the hill (and down the hill).

The other thing that he probably “shouldn’t” mention is the fact that The Press had been listening in to the police radio “net”….and THEY had picked up on what was going on (it’s “normal” for The Press to do this).

The Press….along with the fire and rescue and the police services had raced to the scene (and no doubt past Martin). This was even pointed out in the documentary (the French one I believe). I take no credit for this. Marilyn was the one that pointed this out… I just realised when I re read Martin’s interview “what he was going on about”.

Of course Martin wouldn’t say that. It wouldn’t be a “great secret”, but it’s not a nice thing to think about.

And yet if you’re under pressure….you may “part mention” something. And cover it up.

9-22-2013 at 17:40:40


I read the “An eyewitness reported seeing a large black dog…..” and for a split second thought the next part was going to be “…..driving a white Range Rover” !

Not to worry. It’s just my mind !

Which eye witness reported this. I have never heard of it before.
I don’t think it has ever been mentioned.

It wasn’t Eric taking you out for lunch was it ????

9-22-2013 at 17:52:20

@ Marilyn

“It was a Labrador type dog and he had a red neckband…”
I thought we were supposed not to refer to that -other- crime scene?

9-22-2013 at 18:14:20

@Marilyn, I’m lost, although I can think of ‘someone’ who has a black labrador !

I remain interested in the green/dark Pajero that had an accident on the 29th September……..

9-22-2013 at 18:29:10

@ James

It basically looks like the BBC interview was edited, and they just cut out one or several sentences about the vehicles going up to keep only the remaining sections.

9-22-2013 at 18:38:00

@ Lynda

Pajero, accident.. It does ring a distant bell, but I forget the details. Any link handy?

9-22-2013 at 19:14:59


The accident that Lynda is referring to is the one which happened in the area a few days later.

The vehicle (a Pajero) went off the road in a wooded area, travelled (rolled ?) down an embankment and came to rest against a tree. Fredric Brun from Ugine died in the accident. Two other people escaped (as it left the road ?) without injury.

Very odd….as at time the police were indeed looking for a vehicle which matched the one involved in this accident “perfectly”.

A bit about Martin’s interview.
The report may have been edited. That’s not impossible.
However due to the “mistakes” made, I believe it wasn’t edited.

Keep in mind what Martin is saying.
He says that (paraphrased)……

“He was later told by the police that they knew there had been some murderous activity going on…..and in spite of that fact, they went to the crime scene”.

Pardon my French, but what the **** does he mean !

Is Martin saying that ALTHJOUGH he and Bossy had called the emergency services AND Bossy had explained to them IN FRENCH what they had just found at the car park….Martin was SURPRISED that the police went there ?

Martin must have been SURPRISED as the police told him that no one had called them….they (the police) had been sat somewhere listening to their police radio ….AND THAT’S WHEN THEY HEARD !!!

Of course that’s ridiculous. And of course Martin didn’t mean that.
He was talking about The Press arriving. And how The Press found out what was happening so quickly.

The point is…. Martin had to leave out “certain things” (by request).
Staring down the barrel of a TV camera which is going to broadcast you “to the world”, having only days before discovering a mass slaughter…. would be more than a little nerve racking.

…..especially if you have to remember what NOT to say.

9-22-2013 at 19:35:20

@ James

Maybe you’re right. But otherwise William Brett may have only meant he found the firemen and paramedics brave for being in front of the local police. Or there again his interview got edited, undermining the consistency of his narrative. We know some journalists happened to be in the vicinity for other reasons, and showed up at the scene very soon. Whether they were monitoring police radio band or found out just by the number of rescue/law enforcement vehicles isn’t a major issue, but I think I recall it’s been addressed in an early TV news report.

9-22-2013 at 20:33:39


I don’t mean to rain on your parade, however, there are issues with the idea of the Press monitoring the Police waveband with scanners and racing to the scene of the crime.

Since ten years now the core emergency services throughout UK France and other parts of Northern Europe have been using TETRA like comms i.e. encrypted cellular.

It is my view that at the time of the crime it would have taken state-agency level of tech to break TETRA crypto in real time, that is as it is broadcast. Now, that level of tech is probably available to say Russian mafia or other non-state actors such as Hezbollah but crucially not to the provincial reporter.

Basically it is more likely that someone in the emergency services rang one of their drinking buddies in the press.

Another possibility is that the ONF (in their para-police role) have their own radio system that is insecure and is monitorable by scanner and that some cub reporter has the exciting job of listening to them.

BUT that would mean that the ONF saw or heard the shooting, squeeled over their radio and fled.

It would however, explain why the emergency vehicles got there so soon. Also why EM wasn’t chasing the ONF.

P.S. a TETRA equivalent system has longer range than typical mobile phone because it uses a much lower frequency with better propagation.

9-22-2013 at 20:52:57

re: Dark Green Pajero, black dog, red neckband.

My secret contact just phoned to tell me it wasn’t a dark green Pajero but a white Fiat Uno.

Get it?

Eugene did catch on. Only one to have done so. And Eugene, I didn’t mention names,did I, so I did not break my embargo.

It was just that I thought that the conversation here is so morbid, what with dogs eating a cadavre until only the skeleton was left – lordie – that I decided to play the fool a little.

Now I will say have a good commenting night because I want to watch TV news to see what is going on in Nairobi and in Pakistan where there has been another massacre.

Speak 2moro.

9-22-2013 at 21:00:02

A further point about Martin and his perhaps ‘playing down’ of the sighting for the purposes of the BBC/ global interest video…

If he has had a much better sighting of the 4X4 as it comes down past him – and let’s face it, if you’re crawling uphill on a bike on a hot day and a big fast wide 4X4 is coming towards you then the obvious thing to do is to basically stop and pull over because you have so much less stability going slowly – then it’s quite possible that he might be in a position to virtually ‘identify’ a driver, making him a key witness. If he did see enough to be able to say that the driver was nervous, as the Telegraph would have it, then he must have seen facial features. In that instance of course Martin immediately becomes a target himself, making the slightly ‘incoherent’ part of the interview – when he is talking about the vehicle sightings/ non-sightings – all the more understandable. He would surely also have been guided by the police in this regard. And the more I think about this, the more I think that my slightly speculative point about the Crimewatch sighting may hold water: namely that the Crimewatch sighting WAS based upon BM’s ‘2nd’ encounter with the X5, but that in order to ‘disguise’ it and so protect BM, the police described the vehicle as having been seen on the Combe d’Ire road 20 minutes “before the killings”…when in fact it had been seen (by BM) 20 minutes before HIS DISCOVERY OF the killings. For the purposes of a Crimewatch appeal that little ‘deception’ would have been immaterial…

9-22-2013 at 21:09:48


Yes, I appreciate that….however !

It was The Press pack (the local boys that is) that came out later (I think it was in the French documentary) and said that they were there.

Well…they said that they were following (actually behind) the police vehicles through to…and I believe, up the Combe D’Ire route.

9-22-2013 at 21:30:43


“Well…they said that they were following (actually behind) the police vehicles through to…and I believe, up the Combe D’Ire route.”

Now that is interesting (or surprising). So quick off the mark on a midweek afternoon. Surely any self-regarding Frenchman would be partially inebriated after a long lunch. The builders certainly were.

9-22-2013 at 21:40:51


Anybody know what (if any) radio systems the ONF uses?

In particular whether it is some kind of French TETRA equivalent that is interoperable with Police Fire Ambulance etc.

I have tried the ONF website given on a previous thread but couldn’t find anything.


9-22-2013 at 21:48:12

Stephane Bouchet said the news came into his agency at about 16:30 (Le Dauphine), I’ve got into trouble before over this, there were two phone calls, the FIRST at 15:48, to warn the Emergency Services of a drama, girl still alive, the second after Bossy and Martin went back up to Le Martinet to the Gendarmes, Bossy no doubt giving a comprehensive account of what he’d seen including a dead girl. The call around 16:00. He then went to Paul Duchers farm where the first response team stopped and said there was a girl still moving ……

You need to look at the all the press reports, Martins account and even EM says ‘and then’.

Pity that Stephane Bouchet didn’t reply when I asked him about this. To me it is logical, a pigeon French Englishman with bloody hands explains there’s been a ‘drame’ a little further up the Combe, a little girl is alive.

It was no doubt the second call that gave fuller details of what Bossy had encountered.

9-22-2013 at 21:58:28

@ Rashomon

Don’t you think you’re being a little unfair to the French?
As far as I know, most of them work mornings until 12, and then resume their job no later than 2:30. Only the big shots, like an editor in the press, would still be lunching by 3 pm (or 3:30 if he decided on cheese *and* dessert). So that’s only a 150 minutes lunch break. And of course you need a few drinks during that period of time, to prevent dehydration and to support the national economy. But it’s no big deal, even if they drive back to the office, because they’re used to it. It ‘s completely safe.
It’s more like James’ sobriety that worries me:
“Following behind”??? Of course, what else? as Georgie says. Only Obama can “lead from behind” or so he says..

9-22-2013 at 22:10:24


What do you say Lynda, couldn’t it have been the Duchers who alerted Le Dauphine? If I recall correctly I think they first talked to the ‘rescue team’ on their way to Le Martinet, and then spoke to Bossy and the third unknown VTT-cyclist. They had all the news in their hands, why not call their local newspaper?

9-22-2013 at 22:20:15

@ Eugene

James’ sobriety (or lack thereof) doesn’t worry me at all. Missiles have been flying themselves for years without problems and they go a lot faster than planes!

Forget security, the real reason they lock the cockpit door now is so that the self loading cargo doesn’t see that the controls now consist of three buttons, one marked “fly” one marked “land” and one marked “vodka”.

Its been this way for years now, it’s all run by AI.

The real day to get worried is when BM says that “they heard it over Sky Net!”

9-22-2013 at 22:53:56

BM and the X5 … and GTA5

It is quite a joy to play ‘$1 Billion in Three Days’ GTA5, an incredible game and technical achievement. Made me think of this btw:

The notorious X5 came down the hill
Our hero biker BM was working his way up the hill

… BM sees RHD BMW X5, UK numberplate, driver has xxxx shirt, xxxx hair, etc. You name it, BM saw it (and as a former RAF man he should!)

Sooooo … wouldn’t mr X5 think ‘hey f*ck … that stupid f*cking biker has got all my details’?

Now (and this I know from GTA5) an X5 is much more solid and heavy and strong etc than a ‘bike’. In fact, if you do 40 games of ‘X5 versus bike’ … what do you know, the X5 ALWAYS WINS:)

So … if I were X5 (and having just create massive GTA5 havok killing 4 people and driving over people etc.) … I would certainly run over poor vulnerable BM on his bike. Upping the score to 5 – 0 with 1 witness less to worry about.

But that is not what the X5 did (how weird, he really should play GTA5:)

– M

9-22-2013 at 23:03:24

@Lars, it was certainly enough to get the ‘builders’ to hot foot it out of there !

Why not Ducher alerting the local press, he is a councillor at the ‘Mairie’ afterall, elected with 80 votes !

I recall Max said that the nearest gendarmerie was some 18 minutes away, maybe Giez ?

Something to remember is it took TWO HOURS to secure Les Bauges, I have no doubt that the Combe d’Ire was accessible to journalists for quite sometime after the events.

9-22-2013 at 23:07:08

It’s a very narrow road Max, and presumably with steep drop-offs leading to a Fast Flowing River…

….you’d want to be pretty sure of your aim – and brakes – to be able to mow down a passing cyclist…!

…plus the key thing would be to regain the road system a toute vitesse:

Crushing a cyclist, only to then be confronted by say a Bossy or A.N.Other coming uphill, wouldn’t be too clever…

9-22-2013 at 23:21:13

@partlucid …

… but I think you get my point. It simply does not add up (for me). The whole X5 stuff (esp the RHD bit) feels ‘weird’. And I have the impression that this ‘RHD’ bit is THE reason why this case has been focussed on the UK/SAH side

– M

9-22-2013 at 23:33:46


Well if Martin has been able to even partially finger a RHD 4X4, only two kilometres from a car load of murdered Britons, and on a virtually deserted mountain cul-de-sac….then I guess you might reasonably conclude that the answers probably do lie in the UK (to paraphrase our favourite French prosecutor)….

9-22-2013 at 23:33:59

@ Lynda
– Route de Viuz, 74210 Faverges
– 460 Route d’Albertville, 74410 Saint-Jorioz

9-22-2013 at 23:49:53

Throw in Peter’s much earlier point about the shouting maybe being in English…

9-23-2013 at 00:44:24

@partlucid and all,

As I understand from the JMD/LP article it is now a FACT that SM was shot first and most.

But true, it IS possible there was much english shouting. X shouted ‘YOU ARE IN THE WAY’ … but of course SM couldn’t understand english so he was shot. Hence the police saying that ‘perhaps SM was in the way’

😀 Lol, sorry, but I don’t buy that:)

The X5 is as cumbersome as that MC2 on Col de Cherel

– M

9-23-2013 at 01:14:55


Lynda you commented “it was certainly enough to get the ‘builders’ to hot foot it out of there !”

Yeah, that always seemed very weird to me.

The place is crawling with les flics, so what did they think was going to happen? That the killer was just nipping down to AMMO4U then going to come back ‘to finish the job’.

That’s about as likely as a builder finishing a job.

My guess would be that they know something or saw something. They probably know more about traffic up the combe than locals, given that they are hanging around outside all day.

9-23-2013 at 07:16:03

The “builders” were probably moonlighting. Construction or repairs in private homes go to the black economy for over 30 pc in France. On top of that, one of the two seems to have been a minor, possibly underage. They did not flee the killers, but the risk of a ticket for illegal work. Of course, in such a high-profile case, it eventually made no difference, but they couldn’t tell at that point.

9-23-2013 at 08:23:21


re: How did the media learn of the shooting so fast?

This is how.

The media (newspapers, tv networks, agencies like AFP) has a stringer attached to courts, police ‘commissariats’ (stations/station houses for you who think in US English) and at gendarmeries. As Lars has been pointing out that the Haute Savoie region is a hot-bed for all sorts of misdemeanours, there would certainly be a stringer there. (Stringer is a person who freelances and sits around twiddling his thumbs until a story breaks.) Therefore, if a call comes in of a crime – in this case that there has been some shooting outside Chevaline – the stringer at the gendarmerie or at the court would have been told of it. He would therefore have been on his mobile/cell instantly to tell his office. He would also have been stringing for several newspapers and tv networks and even for AFP and the moment AFP has the news they put it over their ‘wires’ and bobs-your-uncle the world learns of it.

I hope this will clear up what confusion and doubts there are about how did the journalists get there so quickly.

re: French lunches.

Every ‘cadres’ (boss or high-ranking person in an office) has the right to a long liquid lunch. Yes, in France one can have a glass or two or three and return to the office and will not be sacked if one’s breath smells of liquor. Even in ‘canteens’ there are little bottles of wine (2 glasses per bottle) set out along with the food.

In Paris lunches are shorter than say what it will be in Haute Savoie where shops will close at noon or 12.30 and open again at 3/3.30 p.m to remain open till 7/8 p.m. This is terribly annoying when one is on holiday and wants to go walk through the shops in early afternoon. Even in the villages outside Paris this is the case too. The streets in the business areas are deserted from about noon. In Annecy certainly the shops will also close at noon to open again after 3 p.m.

It is therefore as Eugene said a long lunch does not been one is slacking. It means one is French.

Eugene is also correct about the builders having probably been moonlighting.

These days here in France when one summons an electrician or plumber or painter, whatever, he will ask you whether you want a bill and a receipt. If you are a novice to French ways and you need to know what he means, he will tell you that he can do the job for you without a bill and receipt and you do not have to pay the VAT (T.V.A. as we call it here) which is very high – 18% or something. However, if you want a bill and a receipt he will add the VAT. In other words he will do the job for you ‘on the black’ at much less. Only Fools and Horses will not accept such an offer. If caught you can always say the plumber is your late Uncle Jean-Louis’ second cousin ten times removed.

OK, I will now say: have a good commenting day.

Speak later.

9-23-2013 at 10:26:48

Morning all…

I don’t suppose this is a pattern is it…?

Brett Martin in his interview:

“So, no, I wouldn’t have – I couldn’t even tell you whether there was one or ten people in the car. Obviously it must have had a driver, but that’s about it.”

Fillion-Robin in the Australian on the 10th September:

“I saw an English car coming up the road from the village,” said Mr Fillion-Robin, who has not yet been interviewed by police. “There were no other cars with it. I did not see or hear any other cars pass by that afternoon.” – See more at:

and on Denis Janin from le JDD on the 16th September:
Le tireur, avec ou sans complice, a-t-il pu prendre un autre itinéraire, à savoir poursuivre la route forestière – en théorie interdite à la circulation – en direction du col de Chérel, à 1.495 m d’altitude, et du département de la Savoie?

Pas impossible, mais très peu probable. Test à l’appui, il faut bien une heure et demie pour effectuer ces quelque 20 km de mauvais chemin jusqu’à Précherel et Jarsy. Surtout, passé la forêt, on roule à découvert dans les alpages et Denis Janin, le berger, n’a pas vu l’ombre d’un véhicule à moteur, à deux ou quatre roues, ce mercredi 5 septembre depuis son chalet isolé au col de Chérel…

…just a thought…

9-23-2013 at 10:50:43

@ Max, 9-23-2013 at 00:44:24

If it be true that SM was dragged by Saad’s car, then is quite evident that he was shot first, because that scenario logically requires SM to be “down” whilst Saad was still in a condition to manoeuvre his car. No ballistics evidence is required to reach that conclusion, only a post-mortem of SM plus an inspection of the BMW.

9-23-2013 at 11:18:19

@Peter re 9-23-2013 at 10:50:43

I go for the following

– Le Monde published the scenario in oct 2012 (SM shot first, dragged etc.)

– JMD/LP said so in ‘exclusive’ (appearently ‘off the record’ EM stuff)

– My own analyses

It fits. Imho SAH did a reverse – BREAK – reverse … now this BREAK sequence is perhaps because he was about to drive over SM

My guess is that SAH was:

– Already aware SM was lying there (downed by first shots)
– (my favorite) SAH, when starting his reverse, saw SM running and be downed just behind his BMW. So SAH breaked, but could not do anything about it, and so reversed AGAIN, and thus ran over and dragged SM

… To me the whole scene is clear. I have no doubts. It fits!

– M

9-23-2013 at 12:24:35

Came across this snippet yesterday whilst looking for the Pajero. It was new to me but apologies if it’s already been widely circulated…

The prosecutor also refused repeatedly to discuss the specifics, but The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that the lethal shots were fired at close range – probably less than three feet away

It’s from the Telegraph on the 16th September 2012

9-23-2013 at 12:40:59

@partlucid and all

link patched;)

Other fun snippets from the article:

Robert Bridgestock, who led 26 murder inquiries during a 30 year career at West Yorkshire Police. “More often than not there will be something, however small, or insignificant it may seem, that will lead you to him.”

French prosecutor Eric Maillaud, who is leading the investigation, said last week that three lines of inquiry were being followed and them as a family conflict over money; Saad al-Hilli’s sensitive work as an aeronautic engineer; and his “Iraqi origins”.

However Mr Bridgestock said: “It is easy for an inquiry to get sidetracked. To follow one theory at the expense of others. It is always a danger and you have to keep an open mind and follow the evidence. You must focus of what the crime scene is telling you. Follow the physical evidence and the witness statements. It is too easy to focus on, for example, one victim.”

SM anyone?

9-23-2013 at 17:54:09

@ Max

I can only agree with that piece of advice Mr Bridgestock had in stock: let’s follow the evidence.
To me, evidence tells us:
– those crimes were planned (ergo no lone nutter)
– the criminal(s) knew the area (ergo no Eastern country bargain hitman)
– one victim was “overkilled” (ergo somehow linked to his killer)

and most of the evidence has been concealed from public knowledge: ergo the true leads must be towards the other line of investigation, the 1 pc one.

Which is why I tend to think SM was a primary target, SAH a mask, and the killer someone who shared something with both parties, which didn’t know each other. Zainab’s injuries and account lead me to assume that the killer is left-handed, speaks English and is a father himself. This should narrow enough the circle of suspects.

9-23-2013 at 18:21:36

@ Eugene, 9-23-2013 at 17:54:09

Eugene … Valmont, I presume?

Zainab’s injuries and account lead me to assume that the killer is left-handed, speaks English and is a father himself.
How on earth did you reach those conclusions?

9-23-2013 at 18:35:33


I’ve been struck by how quiet you’ve been during my X5 car chase Peter. Perhaps you think I’m mistaken in some of my assumptions; and I agree it probably does require a small leap of faith to link those early press reports of a Pajero to the, in my view crucial, Crimewatch sighting of an X5, supposedly just 20 minutes before the killings.

However with this ‘new vehicle’ now imposing itself on my scenarios then I’m forced to reconsider the Al-Hillis as the primary target, and somewhat to my disbelief I must say. But having crossed that Rubicon, I’m of course starting to view most of Maillaud’s pronouncements in an entirely different light…and here I’m reminded of that very cogently argued post of yours on the last thread where you wondered if there wasn’t perhaps some overwhelming and compelling reason for the investigators to have alighted so swiftly, and virtually exclusively, on the UK side of things…

…and I can’t help thinking that if Brett Martin’s been much more specific about this vehicle, than he’s able to disclose publicly, then this alone could account for the heavy police emphasis on all things UK…

9-23-2013 at 18:54:38

@ partlucid, 9-23-2013 at 18:35:33

My “quietness” on the X5-front had nothing to do with any disapproval of certain theories or commentators on my part, I assure you.

I’m not sure what to make of that car sighting. Like you, I think that investigators genuinely believe that such a car was seen near the scene of the crime. I also assume that they are scratching their heads trying to square this sighting with their pet “pistes”. A low-cost killer from the Balkans in a dark RHD X5? I don’t think so. Mysterious Iraqis in such a car? Er, no.

Personally, I consider it most likely that this ominous X5 simply is a poor description of Saad’s own BMW. If it isn’t, then the witness describing it is not WBM, but one of the ONF guys and/or possibly the third cyclist. Regardless of who saw that X5, if it really was there, then its presence puts a wholly different complexion upon the case. If such a car was seen near the scene of the crime, police should be looking for somebody like WBM, a UK expat who has a vacation home in the area, or a tourist from the Uk who may have met Saad at one of the camping sites.

9-23-2013 at 19:11:10

@Peter 9-23-2013 at 10:50:43

Peter, you wrote:-

“If it be true that SM was dragged by Saad’s car, then is quite evident that he was shot first, because that scenario logically requires SM to be “down”

SM was more than just “down”, he was dead.

What leads me to conclude this is that BM stated that the cyclist did not have the expected road rash. We (and BM) now know that it wasn’t a simple road accident but if SM was dragged in the way we think then he should have visible road rash.

No circulation = no road rash.

I suppose he could have gone into shock and the peripheral circulation to his skin was completely shut down or that he he was bleeding out so heavily elsewhere that blood pressure was minimal.

9-23-2013 at 19:38:09

@ Rashomon, 9-23-2013 at 19:11:10

Excellent point, although those three or four final shots fired at the prostrate SM seem a little too much for a mere coup de grace. I suspect that SM still twitched at that point, badly spooking the killer and thereby inducing him to expend all his remaining ammunition on SM rather than on Zainab (which I assume had been his original plan).

Still, we don’t know. That’s why I used that (deliberately vague) term “down”.

9-23-2013 at 19:50:38

@ Rashomon

I know. It’s cheap. But you’re asking for it:
Rash? Oh, none!
Please forgive me.
I think WBM, like most people, when he mention road rash, refers more to scratches and excoriations of the skin than to specific blood loss. Such marks would have appeared on a body, even post mortem.

9-23-2013 at 19:57:48

@ Peter

I like Sherlock Holmes too much, I know. But wait and see.

9-23-2013 at 20:31:58


I agree that the X5 does complicate things considerably from an operational point of view. For example, hadn’t the Al-Hillis been touring around France extensively before coming to Annecy? I had wondered previously about the car? maybe being bugged in some way…but that still doesn’t really make a targeted killing on the family that much more plausible, unless it’s something really sophisticated in my naive view…

However I can’t agree with you that Crimewatch would be so inept as not to have properly firmed up their identification on the X5 prior to featuring it in the April appeal. I did wonder briefly whether it might have been done as some kind of sop to the much referred to excellent Franco-UK co-operation, but on balance I’ve come down against that, and my considerations of BM’s interview – for which I’ve largely got you to thank! – do lead me to think that it it IS primarily his encounter with the dark-coloured 4×4 which forms the basis for the police asking for further information on this vehicle. I suppose they were maybe hoping for further sightings from perhaps other holidaying Brits, or maybe even from UK sources who simply knew of such a UK registered vehicle being in France at that time…

9-23-2013 at 20:43:04

….and if it were something ‘terribly sophisticated’ then might it also feature the motorbiker who gets himself very obviously TWICE noticed prior? (still some doubts over the timings of the Janin sighting) to the shootings, which then occur with an old, ‘local’ Luger…

….though that sort of ‘conceptual work’ would be way beyond my grasp of what’s realistic and achievable. It does seem odd/ telling though that the X5 (if that’s what it was) and motorbike are literally within 5? minutes of each other departing/ a murder scene…

9-23-2013 at 20:51:49


Rash? o’mon sure wus rash t’menshun it!

9-23-2013 at 21:20:17

@ Rashomon

I have a cold too. Just call me Gene.
15 all.

9-23-2013 at 21:25:25

Re X5

I was (and still am) always bothered by the following small details:

– In very early ‘mason’ reports there was talk of the 1440 timestamp (SAH passing the masons)

– From 1515 pictures to Martinet, via the ‘masons’ is a detour. It is NOT the most direct way, because that would be ‘route du moulin’

– From 1515 pictures to Sign, with SAH ‘not in a hurry’ (masons statement) and without BM spotting them, is almost impossible timeline wise

Above 3 things made me think of the ‘cuddly toy’ scenario. This scenario has SAH going to Martinet TWICE! to get the ‘cuddly toy’ which Zainab/Zeena left behind (Cap maybe?)

First time the 1440 ‘masons’ route, and second time 1515 the direct ‘route du Moulin’ route (faster)

The beauty of this scenario is that it could explain all timings etc and as BONUS it could explain the X5, which would simply be SAH’s BMW!

There is mucho ‘elegance’ in this scenario and I adore elegance. I could even augment this scenario and explain the extra pair of front wheel marks in .. and attribute it to SAH’s BMW the first time he was at Martinet (he would park the same way)

As said, I’m a sucker for ‘elegance’ because ‘elegance’ is often a sign you are on the right track. I mean, it FITS, no denying about that.

Of course Zainab would perhaps remember, or would she? (with that beating?)

– M

9-23-2013 at 21:56:15

Just a few days now and it will be 13 months since the shooting.

Small children forget so I wonder if Zeena can still remember her parents.

What can you remember, for example, about when you were four?

OK, I will now say have a good commenting night.

Speak 2moro.

9-23-2013 at 22:03:44


I’m not really much of a maps or timeline man, Max…although I’ve got SM and BM more-or-less simultaneously? at the foot of the Combe’ d’Ire road, albeit from different directions. BM from Lathuile and the Chevaline road, and SM from Ugine via Arnand and du Moulin? That’s the only way I can really account for BM placing SM ‘ahead of him’. Timewise, maybe around 3.05?

Thereafter, the Al-Hilli’s BMW takes the 12/ 14 minutes from Doussard up to Le Martinet – with the masons simply getting the timings wrong – and they most probably overtake BM on the way…

Mollier I’m now not so sure of, and James posited the interesting notion earlier that, on those timings, he could conceivably have reached the lay-by before the Al-Hillis BMW. Although of course Maillaud, via Zainab, reported the car park empty on arrival. Could Mollier maybe have carried on up round the hairpin and up the hill, as any self-respecting climber/ grimpeur would, which would mean that he’s maybe been shot on the way back down…?

Was anyone able to determine which way the bike was actually facing? from that hazy overhead shot?

And where the X5 would fit into that – presumably somehow tailing the Al-Hillis – I’m not at all sure, but I do remain persuaded that it is the ‘2nd and 3rd’ of BM’s ‘three cars’…

9-23-2013 at 22:10:14

@ Max

I like elegance too.
What if it was somebody else than Saad who had gone TWICE to Le Martinet? How about the killer? Once to commit the crime, and a second time to do the clean-up? That could explain a few things too…

9-23-2013 at 22:12:40

In the ‘cuddly toy’ scenario, the 4×4 seen by BM must have been the ONF.

Weird detail which bothers me is that ONF says they ‘cant remember seeing BM’ … but I could turn this into the following:

If the ONF says that ‘cant remember’ this could imply that they/ONF think the ‘should have’ remembered seeing BM on the road. And they/ONF can say this only when they actually were on this road (Route Forestiere)

(because if ONF was e.g. roaming around Col De Cherel, of course they would NOT have seen BM, but in that case they would NOT have to use the word ‘remember’)

Pfff … but it/details is all so delicate. Always some tiny piece which stubbornly refuses to fit:)

– M

9-23-2013 at 22:48:13

@ Eugene

I don’t have a cold, I just moved from Japan to Jamaica!


9-23-2013 at 22:49:57


“It’s more like James’ sobriety that worries me: “Following behind”???”

Cheeky monkey.
One has to provide “clarity without a shadow of…..”.

Otherwise I have to call ” m a r k t h e t a p e ” very clearly.
Jut in case I become the main event on “series 6, Episode 2 on “Seconds From Disaster” !!!!

9-23-2013 at 23:06:44


” those crimes were planned (ergo no lone nutter)”

Lone nut’s don’t plan ? Come on !
A “random killing” can be planned. And yet the target not known.

Those killings were planned ?
The killers arrival and escape was…. but you say that SM was the target. Guess the killer hadn’t “planned” it that well then.

9-24-2013 at 00:16:28

@ James

Random: lacking a definite plan (Merriam-Webster dictionary)
Do ATC still “mark tapes”? I thought they had numerical recordings by now, time-stamped like the Al-Hillis’ pictures..
Relax, James! The sobriety stuff was just a JOKE.
Just for the record, I feel no admiration whatsoever for the killer(s) responsible for the Chevaline murders. Only horror and contempt. That they were well planned or not is debatable. Criminal(s) still on the loose over a year later, which I certainly regret.

9-24-2013 at 00:39:23

Interesting tweet having PA stating he does not know if X5 = 4×4 ‘vert’ (BM) … I assume now that no journo knows this although I can remember having read that some news report said ‘BM did not see the looked for X5’

I get the impression that the X5 is NOT the 4×4 ‘vert’ (BM)

It would be really useful if we would know for sure if 4×4 ‘vert’ (BM) is or is not the X5 … in other words: Are we talking about THE SAME CAR? (X5 = 4×4??)

– M

9-24-2013 at 08:21:32


Another warm and sunny day in Paris. Hope it’s the same where you are too.

And another day with the Chevaline killer still at large.

Have a nice commenting day.

Speak later.

Have a nice commenting day.

9-24-2013 at 08:43:50

I could bend/tweak ALL stuff (X5, cuddly toy, ONF, etc) so that it fits with ALL details, as follows:

– ‘cuddly toy scenario’ (SAH going to Martinet TWICE)
– ONF sees SAH first time

(… so ONF knows there was a RHD BMW in the area. But ONF does not realize this was to be SAH first time)

– BM meets 4×4 (= ONF)
– ONF does NOT come forward
– ONF say later ‘cant remember BM’


Because ONF is implicated

(… and needs time to prep a ‘story’ as alibi etc.)

– The story is that ONF saw X5

(… because ONF knows there was a BMW around, but ONF failed to notice that it was in fact SAH first time)

– ONF tweaks it (implants it as a ‘fact’) that it seems that BM must have seen the X5 (while in reality it was the ONF 4×4)


– BM … if he can remember more about this 4×4! If he could state something like ‘4×4 was DEFINITELY NOT a X5 type of car’ or something like that

– Zainab … if she can remember going to Martinet TWICE (cuddly toy perhaps?)

– MC1 … if he knows more about ONF 4×4 which went downhill BEFORE him

But it fits. It ALL fits. It *IS* a possible solution!

– M

9-24-2013 at 08:54:28


The builders only saw the Al-Hilli car (on Route de Chevaline) so the others must have taken Route du Moulin, including Brett-Martin. Should perhaps be stated more clearly in the summary.

When it comes to Brett-Martin the situation is though a bit special, since he said he left home at 14:30, and have not been able to explain what he did between 14:30 – 15:15 (his house is just 2km from Route de la Forestiere). He could of course just been going up an down Route de la Forestiere.

9-24-2013 at 09:16:54


Thanks very much for that clarification Lars – and particularly the positioning of BM’s house; I hadn’t known it was quite so close. If he’s left his place at 2.30 then it sounds as though he’s simply been wheeling around a bit before tackling the Combe d’Ire climb. Later on in the interview he says he was really pretty tired going up the hill, because he’d already been out on the bike for about an hour and a half…

By the way, do you place him on the du Moulin road because you’ve seen that confirmed somewhere, or simply because the builders made no mention of him…?

9-24-2013 at 09:24:23

A thought on the X5:

What baffles me about this car sighting is that the “X5” is much too specific. If BM or any other wittness says “I saw a car, can´t remember exactly but a normal car” and then gets more specific like “it was a station wagon” or “it was a SUV” then I´ll buy the statement of “not remembering exactly” BUT if I am able to specify a make (BMW) and a model (X5) then I´ve seen much more. I should be able to say something about color, driving habit (fast’n’furious vs. calm) and some more details. Btw why not a X3? or a Q3 or a Q7 or a GL

Searching for a specific car like BMW X5 requires a damn good description of the car compared to other cars which look quite similar unless you´re a car geek.

If – however – BMW X5 is a synonym for a category of cars, namely SUVs, then speaking of a BMW X5 all the time is misleading, Mr. EM, isn´t it?


9-24-2013 at 09:36:38


I’m not sure that the 4×4, as seen by BM actually was ‘vert’. I think it more likely that this was a slip by Maillaud in that first press conference, which he subsequently modifies, albeit in a very understated way. From my cursory searches this green version of the 4×4 barely survives in press reports beyond that first weekend. Thereafter, in the minds of the press at least, the vehicle which is being sought (which is presumably the downhill BM one) becomes the black or dark? Pajero, although the police are then forced to deny – around the first week in October I think – that this is the specific car which they are interested in. As far as I know, the first reports of a BMWX5 appear to coincide with the Crimewatch appeal at the end of April. And as I’ve mentioned, it was looking at images of black Pajeros and X5s which persuaded me that this was definitively the car which the police have come to identify as being the one BM saw that day. Vinneman said that BM had either good or excellent? powers of observation.

9-24-2013 at 09:41:35

@ Partlucid

So WBM leaves his house by 2:30, wheels around for an hour and a half, and then starts the 1/2 hour climb to Martinet at 3:15. Very clear indeed.

9-24-2013 at 09:56:43


Now Eugene, you’re just being pedantic!!!

He says he’s ABOUT an hour and a half into his ride when he’s obviously puffing his way up the hill, which would presumably be around 3.25?

That sounds to me as though he’s simply overstating the length of his pre-climb ride to ‘justify’ why the Combe d’Ire takes him half an hour. A bit of cyclist’s pride there, I think…

9-24-2013 at 10:07:24

@ RiffRaff

Agreed. Inspector Clouseau’s constant tango around that SUV (that’s what the French mean when they say “Quatre-Quatre”) is at least misleading, if not worse.
Should we decide that when specifying BMW X5, what is meant is “or any similar vehicle”, new candidates may qualify.

9-24-2013 at 10:11:38


Hi Riff-Raff, I’m not sure if we’ve conversed before…

I agree with you that the X5 identification is very, indeed surprisingly, specific however it doesn’t come from Maillaud, as far as I know, but from the Crimewatch broadcast. That for me absolutely firms it up, although how they’ve arrived at that I wouldn’t know. But I simply can’t believe that the UK police, through Crimewatch, would put out a speculative piece based on a dodgy, unreliable or only partial sighting/ identification. In fact it was this very specific naming of the brand and model which really got my attention, because up until then I’d always thought the police had been very guarded and coy about the vehicle(s) involved in the crime…

…and whether that was for ‘operational reasons’ or simply due to lack of proper ID, I wouldn’t know…

9-24-2013 at 10:17:49

@ Partlucid

Thanks for the compliment.
Overstatement or not, home @ 2:30, Martinet @ 3:48 or sooner, it’s rather different from the extended version of the narrative. And like a house of cards falling down, many other parts of the timeline become questionable.
I’m not a cyclist so I could be wrong. But I tend to think people who practice regularly keep track of their riding times and performances. There’s an App. for that..

9-24-2013 at 10:21:10


“He could of course just been going up an down Route de la Forestiere”

There are many strange things in this case. So why not.
WBM’s route has never been mentioned.
Almost “kept secret”.

Like the interview “asked” (stated ?)
Q “Tell me about that day. You’d gone off for a sort of fitness-inducing cycle through the area?”

A fitness inducing cycle could well be “up and down” that route.

9-24-2013 at 10:26:10

Eugene he’s not a high performance cyclist, he’s a trundler out on a mountain bike just looking to ward off some of his middle-aged flab…

Times would be immaterial to him; he concedes that the climb regularly takes him about 30 minutes. Although it may even be his pride which causes him to amend the police’s version that SM overtook him…to his now public version which merely has SM ‘ahead of him, further up the road’…

That’s not his narrative unravelling: it’s a minor quirk on his part, in my view…

9-24-2013 at 11:12:22


well I´ve referred to your comments quite a few times but nice that at least you recognised me 🙂

Regarding the car that gives us so much headache. It´s not the only specific thingy with the X5 here. Assume that make and model are unknown, we still have a statement regarding a 4×4 which ihmo simply means a big SUV like car since nobody knows if its a 4×4 or normal drive car unless knowing that specific car or reading a model badge (AWD, 4×4, Allroad etc.pp.)
we have a right hand drive and that is the most suspicious piece of information to me. To identify RHD you have to look

a) at the driver,
b) you can only identify if only the driver is on the right side of the car, otherwise you wouldn´t know from a glance if its RHD of LHD thus resulting in an additional information => how many people were in that car? 1 or 2 or 3?
c) guessing the RHD thing from the number plates is not safe because at a mere these look quite similar in GB then Netherlands for example, BUT if the wittness cared so much for the car that he or she said “wow, a british car RHD in this area, thats seldom” he or she must(!) have ssen more of this car then we are told right now.

Which brings us to the point how useful a search in public for a car is when a description of a sought after car is not made as specific as possible, Mr. EM?! Pls. tell us the ratio behind that.


9-24-2013 at 11:41:00

@Partlucid and Riff Raff, the conversation you are now having, I posted months ago, how could it be so precise…

This article from the 14th April, might indicate that a BMW X5 was being written about well before the appeal on the 30th April, difference is colour and no mention of being RHD.

and then this, ‘possibly’….

9-24-2013 at 11:54:37

@ partlucid, 9-24-2013 at 10:11:38

The good folks at Crimewatch were no more specific than their French sources: the car being sought is a dark-grey RHD 4×4, possibly a BMW X5.

If the witness(es) cannot even tell the car’s colour with any confidence, how could they tell the exact make and model?

Furthermore, let’s assume for the sake of argument that this item with the car being RHD is solid information. For that piece of information to be reliable, witnesses would have to have seen the car from the front, would have to have seen an empty front seat where the driver sits in LHD Continental European cars, with the driver sitting on the right-hand side instead. How come not even the most basic information about that driver (male or female, white or black, young or old, wearing sunglasses or not etc.) has been released? I can see no good reason why police would have chosen to suppress that information if they had it. Hence, I assume that they don’t have it, which in turn forces me to conclude that this entire sighting is unreliable and might just as well pertain to Saad’s own BMW.

The only alternative intrepretation that I can think of is that this ominous BMW X5 was not spotted by a live witness at all, but only caught on CCTV somewhere in a neighbouring town. A black-and-white CCTV image would enable investigators to identify the make and model with a high degree of confidence, but would not allow them to tell its colour (other than “darkish”, which is exactly how the car was described here). Yet it would have to be a badly-positioned CCTV if it didn’t capture the number plates or the face of the driver.

9-24-2013 at 12:10:44

@ Lynda, 9-24-2013 at 11:41:00

You may have solved the riddle: two different witnesses with conflicting accounts regarding the car’s colour. One said white, the other said black, so they settled on the middle ground and called it grey. With one of the witnesses, the ONF guy, being a self-proclaimed car nut, they chose to believe him that it probably was an X5.

9-24-2013 at 12:18:46

I will refer you all back to my journalist Laurent Blanchard who Tweeted that a white 4×4 was escorted down the Combe d’Ire on the day of the reconstruction, he speculated ‘did it belong to the witness’.

9-24-2013 at 12:27:56

@ Lynda

I agree with you completely. The conversation about the unaccounted for SUV should be listed in the “oldies but goodies” collection.
We’ve had, at various dates, easily a dozen different accounts of the sighting of that vehicle, differing about make, model, color, time and place, identity of witness. That’s what I see as an endless tango. One step forwards, two steps backwards. Most of these accounts seem to be sourced from the Annecy band of investigators, even if British police and Crimewatch introduced a few slight variations to the dance.
From this rather unusual series of inconsistencies, each of us is obviously entitled to draw personal conclusions. As for myself, I think staying on the safe side is to assume there was a suspicious car around and it safely went back where it came from. At this point, looking for more amounts to wishful thinking for us.
For once, i’d be ready to sing the chorus line in unison with lead voice EM:
“Motive, that’s what I need. Motive, that’s what I want. Motive, motive, a lot of motive”. That’d be more rock & roll than tango of course.

9-24-2013 at 12:35:35


We have a witness watching Route de Chevaline, and he only saw the Al-Hilli car. We have no witness watching Route du Moulin (though one watching it in the morning).

I then think it is fair to say that Brett-Martin didn’t come by Route de Chevaline, which should be his normal route if he was going from his home to Route Forestiere.

He could have come by Route du Moulin or from somewhere else.

Let me have a guess in that car business:

First I must say that I don’t share your judgement of Crimewatch in this case. To broadcast a call for witnesses about a car seen in another country six months earlier, I can’t regard as serious or at least very unusual in a crime investigation.

Remember that Brett-Martin was interrogated twice by the French police. First directly after the crime, then he was asked to return to France for a new interrogation. My guess is then that he during the first interrogation said ‘maybe green’, and in the second ‘I am not sure, it was dark anyhow’.

The car model. Since I am not interested in cars I couldn’t say anything about models. I would be happy if I could say BMW. I think the police might have done the same thing they usually do in an identification of humans. They show the witness a number of pictures and ask the witness if he can recognize it. Brett-Martin or somebody else the probably pointed at a photo of a X5 and said ‘it could be such a car’.

9-24-2013 at 12:41:17


I’m sorry if I’ve missed previous comments from you Riff-Raff!
I wasn’t aware that you’d marked anything specifically for me, but if you have then I’m obviously due you a sizeable apology. I admit to being a very poor and lazy researcher but I do try and conduct myself reasonably properly in my dealings…

On your first point I imagine you may well be right…ie 4WD v SUV…although those sorts of car distinctions are pretty much beyond me. I think somebody’s already mentioned that the French maybe just use the phrase ‘quatre quatre’?

And for the second thing about the RWD identification…

It probably is telling that this is the detail that’s been used to describe this vehicle, rather than it definitely having UK plates for example. I mentioned previously that I thought there was a fair chance that BM might have dismounted rather than wobble uphill, slowly, and on such a narrow road rather than attempt to continue cycling past something that big, and reportedly fast. Even if he hasn’t, I would think there’s still a fair chance that a cyclist might notice whether he’s being passed by either (a) an empty seat or (b) a driver as that side of the car virtually brushes up against him. And again, as stated earlier, I do also think there’s a chance he’s maybe playing down the sighting on police direction…

And lastly, I think the ‘X5’ (as now corrected by Peter) is not primarily of Maillaud’s making but of the UK/ and presumably French police. They’ll have been hoping that the Crimewatch appeal might bring in all manner of calls from people who simply had any knowledge of a dark-coloured, probably UK registered ‘X5’ type car in the Annecy area. Who knows, if you’d been over there on holiday you might have noted one outside a restaurant, at a hotel, or even parked up at the lake somewhere…
In the absence of any clearer leads, the police were clearly willing to put 6? minutes of their monthly Crimewatch hour? into it, in the hope of turning something up on the car. I know that the police obviously offer the usual disclaimer about simply wanting to eliminate it from their enquiries but the appeal itself, and this car’s similarity to the earlier reports of the sought after Pajero simply underscore it’s importance to the investigators…

9-24-2013 at 13:04:29

@Peter, Lars and Lynda

I’ll come on to your points in due course; I do seem to have unwittingly stirred up something of a hornet’s nest with this ‘X5’, as we now must call it…

9-24-2013 at 13:20:10

Finally, regarding the elusive SUV, 4×4, big car, whatever you want call it, one issue has been left largely unaddressed:
It’s one of the 2 things. Either the vehicle was a stolen vehicle, OR it was registered in the driver’s name.
In the first case, it sounds very unlikely that months later, whatever happened to the car in the aftermath of the crimes, investigators would still be unaware of its exact details: the owner must have reported the theft. Sure, lots of cars get stolen, but when it comes to white UK X5s (or any other such vehicle), not that many.
In the latter case, since it eluded all positive identification, despite CCTV data at border check-points, freeway toll-booths, gas stations, ferry crossings, etc, chances are the vehicle didn’t go very far, just went back to its regular driveway or garage, and got a comprehensive cleaning job. No place like home.

9-24-2013 at 13:43:12

@Partlucid, here is another report to chew over regarding the Black Pajero, here is it light coloured dated the 14th September › Société

15 sept. 2012 – Tuerie de Chevaline : la piste de plusieurs tueurs n’est pas écartée …. la Police recherche une Pajero Mitsubishi noire avec des plaques …

and another, ‘not connected’:

You haven’t stirred a hornets nest, just that we’ve discussed all before you joined us.

By the way according to the Tribune de Geneve, Saad Al-Hilli had been to Geneva a bit before the event….

Now we’re told he hadn’t been to a bank, maybe he did go to Geneva with the family and that is why they were wearing ‘city clothes’. Then wanted to stretch their legs, afterwards, we have no idea what time they left the caravan park, maybe they had lunch in Geneva…

9-24-2013 at 14:21:21


That’s quite a bold claim Lynda; that everything’s been discussed already!
Had you really discussed the possibility that in Brett Martin’s interview he perhaps, quite LITERALLY, refers to not having scrutinized the ‘three cars’ which went past him that day…

For what it’s worth, I actually went back and had a look at the thread in the days following BM’s interview – precisely because I didn’t want to cover old ground – and at that stage the comments were fairly meagre, to be honest. Primarily, Martin seemed to have aroused considerable suspicion…

9-24-2013 at 14:45:00


Thanks for coming back on BM’s route Lars.

We’ll have to differ on the significance of the Crimewatch appeal though.
I know the programme to be very sobre and serious – I don’t know if you know it, but it’s not at all like some jazzy, sensationalist Cop Show – and according to Wikipedia, the UK police have arrested over 100 murderers and rapists directly as a result of the programme, over a 25 year period. To me, that’s a serious track record, and a serious pedigree…and that’s why I thought their appeal highly significant…

….as to whether that might be useful or not…well, I guess the police and the programme-makers would be in a better position to know that than us? I also touched on this in a previous response to Riff-Raff.

And I do broadly agree with you that Martin probably hasn’t been able to (thank you Peter! I’d previously speculated that maybe BM had had a better sighting of the car than he’s acknowledged) pin down the brand and model – thus the continuing uncertainty around this vehicle – but really that’s not the key point, which I’m about to take up with Peter…

9-24-2013 at 14:48:05

@Lynda, partlucid

Folks, lets calm down a bit. We cover so many topics on Marilyns blog that every once in a while things come up twice. It happend to any of us before, so please be gentle with partlucid, Peter, Eugene and me, Lynda, that we didn´t remembered that you pointed this out before.

I think what works quite well on Marilyns blog compared to other blogs I´ve seen before on other topics on the net is that people usually read in before commenting. However with 10k of comments in the past sometimes we slip.

Ok?! Back to the main topic …


9-24-2013 at 14:58:58

@Partlucid, I was referring to the RHD BMW X5 and your ‘hornets nest’.

To my mind, as I’m sure you’ve already noted, I believe Brett Martin, even if he is speaking with one hand tied behind his back, I also speculated that it was a ‘I didn’t see anything, honest Guv’, sort of television appearance.

Of course initial speculation was placed upon him as being the killer, I even wondered if Bossy and friends hadn’t been coming up the lane, would he have just gone home, cycled to the nearest house, or just stopped further down and called the Sapeur Pompiers (18). He was obviously going back downhill, so chances are one of them was his option.

When he says ‘three cars’ this refers to him saying if someone asked you to remember the next three cars, then we’d most likely remember, I’m sure there must have been plenty going past him in both directions as he was tootling around on his bike in the Lathuile, Doussard, Chevaline area.

To me it is a turn of phrase, I don’t read anymore into it than that, of course it could be a hint that he did see three cars on the Combe d’Ire that day, if that is how you wish to view it.

As for whether the 4×4 passed him was ONF or a more modern vehicle then even looking down at the road, or from the back as it almost forced him off the road, I would have thought he’d have a better idea of the style and colour, no doubt cursing the driver, who either didn’t see him or didn’t care.

Now, Maillaud says this vehicle belonged to the ONF, which to me suggests that Brett Martin did give a better account than just a green/dark 4×4….he surely would be able to tell modern sleek lines from an ONF jeep/landrover style vehicle as seen parked outside number 7 (?) route du Moulin.

He being an Audi Estate driver.

@ Eugene, your left handed killer – blue plaster, maybe ?

9-24-2013 at 15:11:52


When I went through all the comments for the summary I noticed that the tyre tracks and these elusive cars & motorcycles are the most recurrent subbjects. I guess because the investigation been so vague on these points, especially regarding the cars & motorcycles.


I didn’t mean that Crimewatch is an useless program. We have the same kind of program in Sweden and I know that it does a lot of good.
I just meant that they made a mistake in this case, as we all do from time to time. To make such a call for witness after six (!) months and so diffuse, can never lead to anything (reliable).
Perhaps it was not so easy to reject a proposal from an international investigation team in a high profile murder case?

9-24-2013 at 15:32:20

Crimewatch is an inferior copy of the German show Aktenzeichen XY … ungelöst, which pioneered that show format. (The biography of the show’s inventor is quite an interesting read.)

Anyway, shows like these could not exist without the cooperation of the police, and thus the show’s makers will broadcast what the police tell them to, no more, no less. In this case, it was a completely asisine appeal for witnesses who had seen a grey, black, darkish (or possibly even white) car, possibly a BMW X5, in a particular corner of France.

Unlike Lars, I don’t believe that six months is such an awfully long time. In Germany, they have appealed for witnesses twenty years after the fact – and got results! The only thing that was unusual about it was that this Crimewatch appeal was so exceedingly hazy on the details, but then that should not come as a surprise, given that Eric Clouseau will have personally signed off on every single word of the appeal.

9-24-2013 at 16:03:56

@Riff Raff, I’m ‘Chevalined’ out !

Here is the Crimewatch Episode again, 05:02 to 06:51… Peter says, ‘possibly’ and 20 minutes before the killings, although that could mean before being discovered. So between 15:10/15:20 and two kilometres from the parking, it does not say in which direction. Even the French reports haven’t been precise.

Maybe they were just hoping the owner who had been on holiday in the area to come forward, I speculated that it could have been some golfers looking for the Giez course.

So, if indeed it is real, the question is why hasn’t the owner come forward, it could have been someone up to no good, who doesn’t want the wife to know etc., etc.

Annecy and the region is a very popular destination for the British. Claude Antoine said he’d seen a couple of cars and motorbikes go past his garden in the morning, there may of course been others that he didn’t remember or see, popped inside for a cuppa, a pee and his lunch, which likely puts him not in the garden between midday and 2:30 ish at least, having a little nap, could easily move that to 3pm.

Unfortunately he hasn’t been precise as to his timings.

9-24-2013 at 16:13:06

@ Lynda

Blue plaster? Eyes of blue? Or silver..
Who knows, this cannot be ruled out (hasn’t been so far).
Isn’t he a basher?

9-24-2013 at 16:29:53

@ All

I just had a very random thought… I, like others way back on these threads, had toyed with the idea that one or both of SM and the SAH party were killed in error. There being a number of combinations of cyclist and vehicle containing two female passengers. Unfortunately it is difficult to assess the probabilities of these scenarios because so little has been released about Bossi and nothing at all about his two female companions, let alone ‘VTT man’.

However, until now, I had not considered that the motorbiker and the 4×4 could have been, not the killer(s) but the intended targets!

Here is an illustrative scenario:-

Mr Muscle is a local man, or was a local man, these days he lives in a bedsit in town. He is chronically short of money because of divorce and underemployed because of anger management issues. But he thinks his luck has changed. One of his drinking compadres let slip, that while working in the area, he had noticed something interesting. . . So today he had slipped quietly into le foret and worked his way up the combe on foot via the old mill track. Just like he used to do as a kid.

Mr Dealer (MC) regularly meets Mr Wholesale (4×4) up at Le Martinet approx once per month, but today Mr Muscle, having had wind of this, intends to confiscate their pocketmoney and bags of sherbert.

Normally, whoever arrives first just hangs around pretending to look at the sign, but today they both arrive at the start of the combe a bit early. One of them, recognising the other vehicle in the rear mirror as it catches him up, pulls over at one of the side tracks about 2/3 of the way up. They decide to conclude business right there rather than waste time driving the remaining distance. On their way back down Mr Wholesale spots the same cyclist he saw on the way up.

Neither of them hear any shots. Both drive away as they would normally, fast but not conspicuous.

Up at Le Martinet Mr Muscle wheezes from the climb and squints from behind the sign on the hairpin proper. Sure enough, right on time, a RHD BMW pulls in at the top parking spot. It is difficult to see clearly, but a man gets out and saunters to the sign. Looking down the road Mr Muscle sees another man on a bike. “Odd” he thinks to himself “he
was supposed to be on a motorbike – but hey whatever”

He steps out from behind the sign. . .

Any thoughts on this, particularly the timeline?

9-24-2013 at 16:50:14


That is the most plausible suggestion i have yet heard .
I so wish it will be true

9-24-2013 at 16:57:53

@Rashomon, I like it, certainly as good as any !

Bossy, could have also been the target, driving fast because he was late for his rdz (rendezvous), what if he’d been due to be there at 15:30, mind boggles, so you have a car with three adults and two children, the little one in the back was not on a childs seat (none found in the car), so not seen, the older child on a booster seat at the front, probably hardly visible, what then appears in common, a man driving with two women in the back ….

@Eugene, don’t forget the briefcases…..

9-24-2013 at 17:05:06

@ Rashomon, 9-24-2013 at 16:29:53

Your scenario plausibly accounts for a number of points: why neither the motorcyclist nor the driver of that “X5” have come forward (both have reasons to fear the police), why the killer was so heavily tooled up and prepared to kill (ripping off drug dealers is a risky undertaking), and why SM’s clothes are said to have been disturbed (the killer looking for the money).

What I find less convincing is why the killer would have shot the women and pistol-whipped Zainab. Surely, in your scenario, there would have come a point at which the killer must have thought. “Hang on, something isn’t quite right. What are the women and the little girl doing here?” Well, perhaps he assumed that they had been taken along as camouflage, to mask this drug deal as an innocent family outing.

But then why would he feel the need to kill them all? That is the biggest stumbling block in my view. If had known these drug dealers by sight, he would have quickly realized that he had targeted the wrong people. If he didn’t know them, and they didn’t know him, why would it appear necessary to kill all of them?

9-24-2013 at 17:37:04

But then why would he feel the need to kill them all?

I’ll answer my own question: to fortify his nerves before the attack, the killer had taken a huge dose of whatever drug floated his boat. Something that induced severe paranoia and disinhibition as a side-effects.

He might have shot the women and attacked Zainab because they looked like giant lizards to him or something like that. Prima facie, there is no inconsistency between the killer maintaining the good hand-eye coordination required for quick reloading and accurate shooting and him being totally whacked out of his skull. The killer’s behaviour at the scene of the crime has been described as haphazard and disorganized, so strange that they scoured lunatic asylums for him. In reality, he could have been sober and lucid when he prepared the crime (thus accounting for his sterilizing the gun and ammunition, something which a clinically insane person perhaps wouldn’t have thought of), but high as a kite whilst committing the murders.

9-24-2013 at 17:47:08

@Rashomon re scenario

It’s a variant, with pro’s and cons.

Iirc we discussed more of these variants. One of those have SM + 4×4 + MC1 having a ‘meeting’ (shady business). After business 4×4 and MC1 leave, SM stays behind … SAH arrives … X comes forward, kills SM (right target, hence shot first/most) but mistakes SAH for 4×4

… btw, iirc I did understand that MC1 is accounted for (because there is only a search for X5 and MC2)

– M

9-24-2013 at 18:06:36

@FB 9-24-2013 at 16:50:14

“I so wish it will be true”

I sincerely hope that the reason is not some kind of ‘family feud’. That possibility hanging over them has isolated the children, as you have so clearly described, and estranged Zaid.

A tragedy indeed, when murder for no real reason may be the best one can hope for.

9-24-2013 at 18:14:16

Just read in.

Rashomon, your new theory is plausible.

What Lynda mentioned – two cars; man driving; two women in the rear.

The killer (hired killer) was told that this will be how he will be able to know his target. Up drives the BMW. A child sitting in the front beside the driver was somewhat confusing, but so what the hell, the job had to be done for payment to be collected.

So B was the target.

9-24-2013 at 18:20:19

@Peter your 11.54…

You’re obviously correct to point out that the Crimewatch piece hadn’t firmed up the ‘X5’ into a definitive sighting, and that does probably torpedo my speculations around whether BM had a better view of the driver and vehicle than he was able to let on publicly…

….however that’s not the key point.

(a) The key point is whether ‘the black Mitsubishi Pajero’ which I believe persisted in all press reports as The Sought After Vehicle for the best part of a month (until the police were forced to contradict this – probably on the grounds that the make hadn’t been confirmed) and the dark-coloured, ‘possible X5’, as featured on Crimewatch, are likely to be the same vehicle…

(b) A secondary issue is whether you believe that the Crimewatch sighting is based on Brett Martin’s eyewitness account…

(c) And I suppose a third, lesser consideration might be how much weight you attach to the Crimewatch feature at all. For me, it’s wholly unimportant how effective a move, or not, this was by the police. The telling thing was that they did it at all, in the hope of gleaning something from holidaying Brits, or 2nd home owners…

Bearing in mind that this is a virtually traffic-free, single track road on a Wednesday afternoon in September, then I don’t have too much trouble with point (a)…

Point (b) is probably a little more subtle, because as I’ve already alluded to, I think there’s maybe been a bit of sleight of hand there on the part of the police to ‘protect’ the witness. However if you can join the dots on this as well, then you have a ‘possible dark X5’ leaving the murder scene by little more than 5 minutes…

And point (c) I’ll happily leave up to personal choice. I obviously attach significant weight to it because, as far as I’m aware, it’s the first, and indeed only, clear direction that the police have given on any vehicle(s) since the murders…that seems quite important to me…

Obviously as with everything, everybody has to make up their own mind on these things. As you know I’ve been a pretty strong advocate for the rogue killer theory, and of course this ‘X5’ has completely blown that out of the water. After I started to eliminate Sylvain Mollier as a target – basically because the 99% seemed to chime with local opinion – then I was forced, reluctantly, to consider the Al-Hillis as the primary target and that’s where the Crimewatch appeal and the focus on things British began to dominate my thinking…

But of course I could so very easily be wrong…as is often the case…

9-24-2013 at 18:43:55

It’s a nice scenario.
And maybe the gentle giant could have been a watch for Mr Muscle, diverting the attention of the ONF team in case they got too close.
A few months before, on a previous attempt, the happy camper girl had been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Muscle had to get rid of her. Only the dog managed to escape.
When they heard the news on TV, both Wholesale and Dealer thought: Wow, we got lucky to get together early on the Route Montagnarde. But who could it be? So now they’re also searching for Muscle, who stayed in the bedsit forever after.

@ Lynda

Briefcases? Sure. British casual chic. They don’t have those things in Romania.

9-24-2013 at 18:48:30

@ Peter 9-24-2013 at 17:37:04

But then why would he feel the need to kill them all?

You wisely answered your own question! When I thought of this, I mentally named him ‘Mr Roid’, but changed the name to ‘Mr Muscle’ when I posted because I thought Marilyns pan-european readership might not get the allusion to ‘roid rage’ i.e. steroid abuse.

In short, when he finally realised just how pear shaped it had gone, I think he went berserk.

P.S. Read the BM interview again for a compelling account of just how long the human mind can go on seeing what it expects to see.

P.P.S. Read the work of Rev. Thomas Bayes for the math.

9-24-2013 at 19:11:32

@Rashomon re scenario

(in a friendly tome;) when you have devised a scenario, be prepared to explain all the details …

… so, here comes a first question;)

As we know, the police are only looking for the X5 and the MC2 (col de cherel). That means that MC1 (the one seen by BM) is accounted for.

Now, in your scenario, MC1 was to be ‘an intended target’ … so, how come MC1, who was surely being questioned by the police, got out of this mess? Who was he, and what could he have said to sound convincingly?

(in other words … fill in the blanks to test the scenario)

– M

9-24-2013 at 19:26:23

JMD just made public (was behind paywall) the LP article with the ‘exclusives’

I harassed him a bit with 2 questions;) Hope he doesn’t mind. We’ll see.

– M

9-24-2013 at 19:32:08

@Rashomon, your comment about seeing what you expect to see, the same thought has been running through my mind relating to many elements of the murders.

Wasn’t this guy a candidate for such rage:

Going back to Claude Antoine and his morning cars and motorbikes, I wonder what they were doing up there ? Of course they merely went for a walk. He saw them come back down, so it wasn’t a very long walk, was it ?

And young Melvin (15), circulating in the woods, making a detour to avoid ‘Les Flics’, only because he shouldn’t have been there.

9-24-2013 at 19:41:01

@ Max 9-24-2013 at 17:47:08

Max, you wrote:-

“… btw, iirc I did understand that MC1 is accounted for (because there is only a search for X5 and MC2)”

MC1 accounted for – good point indeed!

And I wonder just what account he gave of himself?

He must have given a plausible reason to be up there, to be eliminated from the list of suspects. Maybe he was honest!

Given that I have previously stated that I consider BM to be a ‘gold standard’ witness (who would only mislead under police direction) where does that leave us?

BM states that MC1 was the last vehicle he saw coming down before arriving at Le Martinet. The timing seems so tight, that to me, MC1 either did not travel all the way to Le Martinet (a la my scenario) or he was suspiciously close to the action. Either way he surely must have seen the 4×4 if it exists.

If he is not a suspect, what did he tell the police?

9-24-2013 at 19:49:25

@Rashomon Re MC1

My guess was (after the ‘MC1 is accounted for’) that in the end MC1 turned out to be ‘Melvin’. That would make MC1 pretty ahrmless. If however MC1 was not ‘Melvin’ it would become much more interesting, because, as you say, the MC1 was pretty damn close to the ‘action’

Btw, I like you scenario for inventively trying explain some stuff but we end up with X being ‘a good shot’ but also ‘needing specs to make out who he is aiming at’ … I mean, Zainab was outside the car and received a bullet from the first mag … how wrong can you go? But then again, maybe X was completely doped up, sooo … 🙂

– M

9-24-2013 at 19:51:57


Thanks for the info. I have added that link to the summary.

9-24-2013 at 20:01:28


I of course meant that it was strange considering the nature of the call for witnesses.

Of course you can make a call for someone who has witnessed a murder or something twenty years ago, that is also pretty regularly done, since the police hope that the witness is not a friend to the killer anymore.

But to ask if someone remembers if he/she saw a certain car model twenty years ago is just pretty stupid. The memory is just not that reliable. Remember that Brett-Martin complains that he can’t remember three cars he saw the same day (though I find him extreme). So to believe that you can get any valuable information about a car after six months I still find naive. If they wanted that information they should have asked in September 2012.

9-24-2013 at 20:07:39

@Rashomon re scenario

You scenario is not so bad;) Iirc we had these kind of scenario’s way back. Musing about ‘drug deals’ and stuff

Suppose I take your scenario and weaving SM as main target in there.

We could have SM + 4×4 + MC1 having a meeting, with (doped up?) X expecting this meeting at Martinet. X brough enough ammo.

The ‘meeting’ was however a bit further down (as your scenario) and after the ‘meeting’ SM went up further to enjoy the biking and stuff. And 4×4 and MC1 went down (both seen by BM)

Now X was expecting a ‘party’, but only sees SM coming up the road. Doped up as X is he finishes SM and goes ‘beserk’ towards SAH’s.

This variant eases the cons of your scenario, but takes the ‘best bits’. It however introduces an SM doing ‘shady business’

– M

9-24-2013 at 20:35:47

@ Rashomon, 9-24-2013 at 18:48:30
Any drug that influences the brain’s dopamine receptors (amphetamines, cocaine, MPDV etc.) can cause acute paranoia as a side-effect. Anabolic steroids are another potential culprit, but I think that this represents too narrow a focus. Almost all bodybuilders with a death-wish are on a whole cocktail of drugs, comprising not just steroids, but also amphetamines (to help them train harder for longer), phenethylamines etc. for appetite suppression, and so on and so forth.

Anyhow, in your scenario, I don’t see the culprit as some kind of essentially disciplined, calorie-counting, early-to-bed bodybuilder type, but as somebody rooted in the local drugs scene who would be likely to hear about who is doing illicit business with whom, where and when. Such a more conventional drug user *could* also have played a role in the death of that drug-addicted young woman in the vicinity two months before the murders.

@ partlucid, 9-24-2013 at 18:20:19
What struck me about that Crimewatch appeal was the discrepancy between the haziness of the information regarding the car’s colour and the exactitude of the possible make and model mentioned. Also noteworthy was the firm insistence on it being a RHD car.

Having pondered the matter some more, I now believe that this description represents the lowest common denominator of multiple, partially conflicting witness statements. The way I see it, that bit about the car being RHD must have come from a motorist who encountered it head-on and was almost driven off the road by it (but didn’t recognize its make), whereas that bit about it possibly having been a BMW X5 must have come from another witness who only saw that car from afar.

What I found puzzling about that description as “possibly a BMW X5” was the wording. If the witness in question has seen that car from close up, he or she would have said: “Definitely a BMW, because I saw those characteristic kidney-shaped cut-outs in the radiator grille, and possibly an X3 or X5.” Either something was lost in translation, or that second witness never saw the car from close up, and its tentative identification as a BMW X5 was solely based on its mere outline (which is none too dissimilar from a Mitsubishi Pajero).

9-24-2013 at 20:44:03

I will be absent for the rest of the month. Celeste has agreed to look in to see that no comments have ended up in the spam or pending folder.

She will have access to the email account, so if you need to ask or tell her something, you can always email her.

9-24-2013 at 20:48:29

@ Lars, 9-24-2013 at 20:01:28

All true, but then there is a long queue of cases waiting to get a slot on a show like Crimewatch, and the appeal was chiefly directed at the driver of that car him- or herself. If you had driven along that particular road minutes before one of the most mysterious murders of the century had been committed there, you would no doubt remember it. If a friend had told you that he had done so, you would probably have remembered that, too.

Insofar as third-party witnesses are concerned, I agree with you that the appeal was largely pointless.

9-24-2013 at 20:54:57

@Max 9-24-2013 at 19:11:32


Our last two postings crossed! You have just asked me exactly the question I have just rhetorically asked!

Quick answer before I make dinner – more later.

Answer #1 – If he is Mr D in my scenario above and he has a police record (for say possession) and is sharp enough to realise that this is so serious that the police will catch up with him in the end, then he gets a cheap and nasty lawyer (not a good one – that really would raise suspicions) then does a walk-in at the main Police station in Annecy. If he is cheeky asks for Lt. Vinemann.

There, the statement he gives is the truth, just not quite the whole truth, he wont dob out Mr Wholesale for a start. Those are his walking legs. . . And obviously at this stage he won’t have realised that he was going to be robbed. . .

His pimply-faced trainee assistant legal technician from Messers Sleezy and Brazen should have an easy time if he can say the following with a straight face:-

tragic events, wrestled with conscience, public spirited, understandable predicament, self sacrificing, police time, cooperate fully, personal use, prosecution not in public interest, press coverage, discourage others, wall of silence.

Done right he won’t get a parking ticket till he has given evidence at the eventual trial.

9-24-2013 at 20:57:35

“They don’t have those things in Romania”.

What they DO have in parts of Romania….are a lot of “UK plated cars”.

9-24-2013 at 21:18:12

I have said before maybe “this” was a case of mistaken identity.
Maybe the “two” BMW’s were mixed up.

However I have never put the “BMW 4×4 and the motorbike” together.
Certainly a possibility.

And the other thing is….
On the 5th and 6th of Sept the first reports on the “news” were saying that the Al Hilli family were in a BMW 4×4. This was then changed. They weren’t.

Later the police said they were looking for a Pajero.
Then they weren’t.

Then the police (and crimewatch) said they were then looking for a BMW 4×4.
Maybe they found the Pajero then (crashed ???).

Three cars. The BMW Touring. The BMW 4×4. The Pajero.

9-24-2013 at 22:53:50

@James, I would follow you on the Pajero, excepting that it was a UK plate, the crashed Pajero was French, it is a style that fits ONF vehicles, not sleek, see photos.

EM’s Black Pajero (discounted) and the crashed one are not the same.

Frederic Brun was no doubt known to the Mollier family, they certainly had shared ‘friends’, I tried to post a video of him but the link failed.

James, please look at the Crimewatch Video and then absorb Peters comments, the word is ‘possibly’ not definitive.

Then again we can all be dreamers and detectives, as we’ve proven for so many months.

I don’t think we will solve this crime, all we can hope is that our continued discussion means it isn’t lost in the mele of ‘non-elucide’.

Jack the Ripper, Lord Lucan, Xavier Ligonnes, Xavier Baligant et al, throw in the Dominici/Drummond affair, maybe in the end they are ‘perfect murders’.

I’m sure Marilyn could list so many more.

9-24-2013 at 23:19:49

@ Lars:

I am pretty sure William Brett Martin could name an X5 an X5 for I remember having seen a photo of a Q3 in his drive way.

@ partlucid:

I always thought William Brett Martin was telling more or less the truth.

@ Rashomon:

Great idea!

Best theory so far!

Now it’s up to Max to tweak the facts to the theory.



P.S. Like always, I might have read too fast so one tiny detail slipped my mind:

why would the An-, err sorry, steroid killer expect a French drugs wholesaler to roll in an UK ride?


9-24-2013 at 23:40:23

News about the Austrian poacher:

His criminal record gets longer and longer. He had also stolen at least four motorcycles and vandalized a great number motorcycles on an exhibition.

Beware of Austrian men with the initials A.H., with or without a mustache.

…und für unsere deutschsprachige Leser (die gerne auch österreichische Dialekte verstehen können) kann ich diese Thema-Dokumentarfilm empfehlen:
Der Vierfachmord – Hintergründe einer Wahnsinnstat

9-24-2013 at 23:44:11

@ Lars:




9-24-2013 at 23:46:48

@ Lynda re: perfect murders

“The Black Dahlia”, for that matter – never solved, never forgotten.


9-25-2013 at 00:48:01

@Lynda Re Melvin (15)

Hmm, funny coincidence that young Melvin is the same age as young Leo?

9-25-2013 at 00:50:25

@Rashomon re scenario

What about the X5, esp. the RHD bit. Where/how does that fit in?

– M

9-25-2013 at 03:12:04

@ All

To put the theory into some context, it came about as a result of thinking through the probable consequences of what a number of people on here have asserted; that the killer had local connections and knew the terrain well enough to walk-in or walk-out.

We know it was possible to sneak out even after the police had arrived; Melvin admitted to doing so with a dirt bike. Though in his case it was probably easier with the police present, there being so much traffic that the sound of his bike on idle was not heard. I think he put his bike in 1st gear and holding the bars “walked” it up hill where necessary.

@ Max 9-24-2013 at 19:49:25

At this point in time I don’t think that MC1 was Melvin for the following reasons (a) he had a dirt bike, they are distinctive and most importantly do not sound like a normal road bike so BM should have noticed even if not ‘primed’. Remember BM is on a pushbike, not insulated in a car so if he passed within a few feet of Melvins bike he should know about it. (b) I find what little of Melvin’s testimony that has been released, to be plausible from an acoustic point of view.

The key thing about a walk-in and/or walk-out killer is that MC1 and/or 4×4 then become available as potential victims, but don’t necessarily have to drive to Le Martinet. They do not have to witness or pass the crime scene.

I hope that commentators can think of more implications that I have missed.

@ Lynda 9-24-2013 at 19:32:08

I agree completely, Raoul Moat could be the archetype of Mr Muscle. Plus Moat had a personality disorder that essentially meant that he was just about legally sane but extremely dangerous.

@ Peter 9-24-2013 at 20:35:47

Yes, again I agree completely. Not calorie counting early-to-bed type, and a point I had missed, rooted in local drugs scene. And yes the poor girl in the woods could be connected.

@ Alexander Cartier 9-24-2013 at 23:19:49

Now it’s up to Max to tweak the facts to the theory.

Now that’s unsporting! Max doesn’t ‘tweak’ facts as such, rather he sidles up to them and whispers to them. “Well now, what a beautiful fact you are, don’t sell yourself short, you can be so much more, with just a little, ahem, ‘flexibility’ shall we say? Now take this pill. . . ”

Joking aside, that really would explain everything! Horse tranquillisers that is! aka PCP aka Angel Dust.

why would the An-, err sorry, steroid killer expect a French drugs wholesaler to roll in an UK ride?

Mr Wholesale gets a lot less attention from the police after buying the 4×4 from that crazy Welsh professor at CERN. The carpark stickers help. That, spitting continuously and claiming Pob is his real name.

Anyway, Alexander, that would be a legitimate criticism if I had actually made that claim, but I specifically wrote “RHD BMW”. Which is close to what the Crimewatch appeal stated.

The Gendarmerie think it is likely UK plated. I have been bleating tediously on and on that there are other RHD possibilities, for instance Irish plated, or Channel Islands, or Manx or miscellaneous expat sold it to some geezer.

However, one of the supporting pillars of this theory is that someone mistook SAH’s RHD BMW for whatever they expected to see.

Got to go now – if I have missed anything please re-post the question and I shall reply tomorrow.

9-25-2013 at 09:15:23


I get what you mean with “possibly”.
The police are looking for a “right hand drive, 4×4”.
However the make, model and colour (other than “darkish”) are not confirmed.

So how do you know it’s RHD (when you only saw it from the front) ?
But not the make, model, colour. And not know the number of people in it.

9-25-2013 at 10:34:28

@ Lars @ All

Watching the BBC interview video again via the link provided in your summary, I notice that the final minutes seem to have been deleted: The segment when WBM tells about his sighting of other vehicles, his encounter with the group of hikers and the arrival of rescue services.
Has it been this way for long? What could the rationale behind this be? Any other link still active with the real *full* interview that you know of?
It’s all the more unusual as the transcript still is otherwise easily accessible..

9-25-2013 at 11:07:33


Imho there are several weak points in the scenario (eg the X5 RHD UK? Role Sm, lost, called. ONF)

However the scenario does have one important strong point, and that is the bullet count! X took 21+ bullets with him. This indicates X was possibly prepared to face MULTIPLE targets!

Now, if the target wasn’t SAH and family … what else could be a MULTIPLE target. And there comes in your scenario.

So, yes, that IS a strong point (and I will take that idea into account, perhaps by reusing this ‘idea’ … as, in variants, was done in the past)

But … it (scenario) is your ‘Sudoku’ … and now you have to fill in all the blanks, and see if it holds up.

– M

9-25-2013 at 11:50:33

@ Max

Unless I completely misunderstood Rashomon’s theory, it is based on the assumption of it being a case of mistaken identity, the intended targets being both Wholesale *and* Dealer. If this is correct, there were multiple targets indeed and it was natural to bring sufficient ammo. This would have nothing to do with either the Al-Hillis or Mollier, all unintended victims of that tragic mistake.

9-25-2013 at 11:55:05

@ Eugene, 9-25-2013 at 10:34:28
The BBC and Sky News broadcast different edits of the BBC interview (Sky pixellated the BBC logo in their version). The written transcript referred to above covers both of these edits.

@ Max, 9-25-2013 at 11:07:33
The first tweak I would make to Rashomon’s scenario would be to make MC1 some random passer-by and let MC2 take his place. MC2 was too late for the meeting with the “X5”, thus the “X5” turned around and headed back downhill without a meeting having taken place. MC2 arrived much later at the Martinet, coming downhill from the direction of Jarsy, realized that there had been a drama, turned around and headed back uphill. In order to avoid the police, he even tried to flee cross-country (as per Janin’s testimony).

The greatest advantage of Rashomon’s scenario is that it explains why neither the “X5” nor MC2 have come forward, even though they cannot possibly be unaware of the fact that police are looking for them. The idea that both of them were up to no good on that day is a plausible explanation of that otherwise inexplicable fact. Another element that I really like is that the killer was under the influence of disinhibiting, paranoia-inducing drugs, thereby explaining the combination of meticulous preparation beforehand and mindless, over-the-top violence during the actual attack.

9-25-2013 at 13:56:07


Yes, even BBC behaviour is somewhat strange in this case. It must be something contagious. 😉

As far as I know (have heard) was the uncut interview with Brett-Martin around 30 minutes long. The ‘full interview’ with Brett-Martin now available on BBC is around 10 minutes long, so two thirds has been cut away.

Of course there were greetings and handshaking in the beginning as Brett-Martin enters the hotel room (?), and thanks and farewells in the end. Perhaps only interesting for the real nerds, but still a large part, , more than 50%, of the interview is cut away.

BBC has published, on various BBC-pages, different cuts of the interview. I think there might even have existed different ‘full interviews’. I have not searched after these for a long time so I don’t know if these different cuts still exist. I have no idea why BBC behaved in this way. I think that the normal behaviour is that you cut your interview and publish the result. Period.

As Peter says above there existed also a SKY-version of the interview, where parts in the end were included, that are not present in the BBC ‘full interview’. If that SKY-link is still available one should perhaps include it in the summary. Somebody with a video editing program could perhaps even cut an own version.

9-25-2013 at 14:00:19

@ Peter

So be it. But do you know what link would by now give access to the “Skynews edit”? I’ve trying Googling it and YouTube without success.
Like I said, we do have the transcript handy, but what happened to the source??

9-25-2013 at 14:04:51

@ Lars

Thanks for your answer, which crossed mine to Peter’s.
As you well say,why did BBC edit their own cut???

9-25-2013 at 15:01:16

@ Lars, Eugene

Alexander Cartier is the man to ask, but in my limited experience of being interviewed for TV, it is perfectly normal for TV stations to produce different edits of the same interview, to fit time slots of differing lengths in various different programmes that “recycle” the same interview.

The cutting wizardry that they do is quite amazing. Each of my own interviews lasted at least one hour in total (and I got the full-length version on DVD afterwards in each case), but they created edits ranging from 2 to 20 minutes out of these interviews. The editing was so slick that, if I hadn’t known better, I wouldn’t have been able to tell that there were long passages missing from the interview. Also, the overall duration of each of these edits of course matched the duration of the next advertising block to a split-second.

In short, it would be naive to assume that the “full” BBC interview is a single, contiguous stretch of interviewing. Plenty of material will be missing even from that “full” version, not only occasions where WMB fluffed his lines, but also questions and answers that the editors did not consider that interesting, or bits of WBM’s answers that they had to cut out in order to match the predetermined overall duration of the time slot.

9-25-2013 at 15:28:21


That Sky-link is just a small part of the original Sky-version of the interview (where they tried to hide the BBC logo).

Yes, it is natural that you use different parts of an interview in different programs/broadcasts. The strange thing to me is that BBC choose to publish different cuts on their home pages under the headline ‘Brett Martin Interview’ (or something similar), i.e. not as a part of a bigger program.

9-25-2013 at 16:08:20

They’re sweeping the media floor pretty much like they swept the lay-by ground in the days after. I don’t think it’s very natural.

9-25-2013 at 18:01:52

@Eugene @Peter @Lars

I do recall once watching “an interviewer” stood talking to a camera….and just asking questions…with pauses. It looked very odd.

I realised what was happening later. It was a “news crew”. They only had one camera. So when they had interviewed whoever it was they were interviewing, the “interviewer” was just “filling in” with the relevant questions he’d asked, but to the camera.

This was “beamed” back to the edit guys, who were cutting it together.
I guess it would have looked more like a “question and answer” session when it was aired.

So if the Martin interview team had just one camera….but showed both Martin and Symonds during the interview, then it has been clearly edited.

9-25-2013 at 20:11:55

BBC filming
in my most recent brush with the BBC they filmed for 2 hours
with 3 different camera set ups
I moved my coffee cup so we should be able to see it jump around 🙂
that is assuming they use any of me at all .

9-25-2013 at 20:45:55


They will maybe pixelate your coffee cup so the viewers can concentrate on what you are saying. 🙂
Maybe that’s what taking so much time to get the program ready.

9-25-2013 at 22:22:03

Just to remember the origin of the imho very underdeveloped ‘SM piste’

Publié le 6 septembre 2012.

14h15: «On ne sait pas pourquoi ces personnes sont mortes à cet endroit.»

… but EM says one (!) minute later …

14h16: Au sujet de la quatrième victime, le cycliste français, le procureur avance la thèse du hasard malheureux. «C’est un simple promeneur à bicyclette qui avait décidé de grimper la Combe à ce moment là.»


… To be noted further … the killings took place on sept 5th approx 15h30, and the situation becomes clear to the police say around 16h16. This means that within 24 hours, EM, somehow says ALL PISTES ARE OPEN … but poses that SM was unlucky collateral.

How could he have arrived at this???? It is just crazy! I don’t blame a layman or the general public to say something like this, but a PRO??? And it is not that EM says this, but WHY did he say this???

He might have been on the ‘wrong track’ from the very very very first beginning. He simply does not believe or wish it could be about SM.

But my gut feeling is that IF they will dig deep into circle SM, they will find something. The must find something because imho the SAH ‘piste’ seems a dead end. 1 Year of hard work and ZERO result!

– M

9-25-2013 at 22:39:50

@ Rashomon

Seriously, I like your idea and it’s the first new genuine thing we had in ages but,

“Mr Wholesale gets a lot less attention from the police after buying the 4×4 from that crazy Welsh professor at CERN.”

You mean, like in, getting *less* attention from the police driving around in an right hand driven car?

Plus, I guess it’s legal to drive them in France (obviously the tourists do) but how’d you legally keep the UK license plate on it once you’d bought it from that crazy Welsh professor*?

And yes, one could mix up UK and NL license plates but for that matter the Dutch drive left hand driven cars, don’t they.

Again, don’t get me wrong – just discussing your new theory.


* And I don’t mean Lynda:)

9-25-2013 at 23:51:05

Off topic

Genesis 19

… 16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” …


Perhaps the name “DIDIERJEAN” was a message to the killer.


9-26-2013 at 00:10:04

@ FB

Bruce Forsyth is strictly a “one take” guy ! Then golf. The man is a pro.
Maybe Martin can do it in one take !

So it would seem, in reality Martin’s interview of “an edit”.


How are the police with “non tourist”/”long term non French residents” and them driving around in “non re registered” cars ?

I did hear the French police were having a “clamp down” in 2011/2012.
But these things can be a bit “sloppy”. So many “residents” slip under the radar. No “road tax”, “no insurance”…and no “import” taxation. Just run the car on UK plates….and claim to be a tourist.

9-26-2013 at 00:42:53

@ Alexander Cartier 9-25-2013 at 22:39:50

Alexander you commented:-

“You mean, like in, getting *less* attention from the police driving around in an right hand driven car?”

Yes exactly!

Think in terms of stereotypes and expected patterns of behaviour. The unexpected attracts attention, nonconformity stands out.

Locals are expected to know, and fully adhere to, the rules of the road. Tourists, or say researchers at CERN in a RHD UK vehicle less so.

Remember, the police have discretion.

Stereotypes are deeply embedded in thinking. If you were sitting in a police car tucked in a side road at the bottom of the Combre d’Ire who would you pull over out of the following?

(1) A top end BMW with maximally lowered suspension, aftermarket alloys, low profile tyres and totally blacked out windows.

(2) A factory standard UK plated 4×4 with CERN parking permit.

9-26-2013 at 00:58:30

@ James 9-25-2013 at 09:15:23

James, you wrote:-

“So how do you know it’s RHD (when you only saw it from the front) ?
But not the make, model, colour. And not know the number of people in it.”

My guess would be that BM was climbing up the Combe d’Ire, possibly by this stage struggling a bit, so head down. He would hear the car coming up behind him and move over to the right.

As the car passed him he would have a brief view of the drivers side of the car in his peripheral vision. This would obviously include a segment of the steering wheel and possibly a glimpse of the drivers right hand.

This may have been subconcious and ‘recovered’ by hypnosis even.

9-26-2013 at 08:40:12


I do believe that Martin was passed by the 4×4 going up the hill…and as you quite correctly write, if Martin pulled over to the right hand side of the track as the vehicle passed, he could have “seen” (sensed or otherwise) a driver seated on the right hand side of the vehicle.

Could Martin not recall the colour of this vehicle ?
Maybe he could. Maybe it was dark red/maroon. Pure speculation.

For instance, if the police released information at the start of their investigation that they were actively seeking a “maroon RHD BMW 4×4”, then that would indicate the crime could have indeed been one of “mistaken identity” without much doubt.

No wonder Eric thought the investigation would take “10 years”.
He may not have an attacker …nor does he have a target.

Your theory is as plausible as any I have heard (and more likely than most…especially those with Mossad hiding in the forest !).
I have mentioned previously that I thought this crime could possibly revolve around a “mistaken identity”….but I am unsure about the local “Mr Muscle”.

9-26-2013 at 08:57:17

The (big french) ‘Fiona case’ is finally ‘cracked’ … The mother told lies

‘Mais sa version des faits, soutenue également par son compagnon Berkane Maklouf, n’a pas résisté à des semaines d’investigations scrupuleuses de la part des policiers et a volé en éclats mercredi.’

This took months! But in the end, you know, it surfaced that ‘les proches’ simply told lies.

Now, my gut feeling is that the ‘SM/local circle’ is doing the same. E.g, the X5 story. I think it is a lie, an ‘invention’ (but I am basing this on stuff I got from newspapers, so this is a weak base)

Point is, when you are biased towards an UK/SAH case from the very first minute (within 24 hours, as I showed) you simply will not have the dedication to allocate ‘des semaines d’investigations scrupuleuses’ into ‘SM/local’ and thus the lies that are told simply won’t be resolved.

Another gut feeling is that the police was going through all the mobile traffic to find ‘something SAH’ … what a turn up it must have been when they encountered the ‘LR 2 SM’ call minutes before he was shot 🙂 But, you see, no dedication, just ‘explain away’.

– M

9-26-2013 at 09:14:37

@All: Good Morning! (since Marilyn can not greet us now)


I guess you notice that the Fiona-case happened in Clermont-Ferrand, the home of the Moranges. 😉

9-26-2013 at 09:19:29


Or maybe it was a kind of ‘provocation’?
Bossy used a ‘nom de guerre’ , Didierjean, that he knew had a meaning to the killer, since they belong to the same circles?

9-26-2013 at 11:30:40

Ostensibly the Crimewatch appeal was directed at the UK? driver of a grey or dark ‘X5’…

Detective Superintendent Nick May said: “I am appealing for anyone with a right-hand-drive 4X4, particularly a grey, black or dark-coloured BMW X5, to cast their minds back to September last year. Were you on holiday in the French Alps at the time? Did you visit the Annecy area?

“I am particularly keen to speak to any owner of such a vehicle who visited the towns of Doussard or Chevaline on the afternoon of 5 September as they may be able to provide vital information to assist with this ongoing joint investigation.

“This location is very popular and there may have been a number of tourists staying in the local area or travelling through at that time of year. The timing of this sighting is clearly significant and it is important that we trace this vehicle, if only to eliminate it from our inquiries.

However it seems to me self-evident that it’s also an appeal to any other parties in the Annecy area who may have seen such a vehicle…

….because realistically, how many dark-coloured, RHD ‘X5’s do you think would be circulating in a radius of, say, 25? miles from Annecy…?

9-26-2013 at 11:43:24

The RHD “X5” was almost certainly not registered in France or Switzerland. The headlights of modern cars are asymmetrical, meaning that an RHD car being driven in a country where people drive on the right-hand side will blind oncoming traffic. For such a car to be registered locally, the headlights must be swapped around, which can be quite expensive. Also, given that both countries have lots of toll roads, driving an RHD car in France over a longer period of time must be a real pain. The same goes for multi-storey car parks and drive-throughs.

Hence, I don’t think that a local criminal would consider it worth the hassle to drive around in a foreign-registered RHD car, particularly so as such a car attracts attention outside all but the most touristy areas. A French-registered, slightly scruffy white Peugeot 207 or 307 would be far more inconspicuous.

In short, the person inside that RHD “X5” most probably was a foreigner from the UK or Ireland on a short-stay visit. Given that most illegal drugs are more expensive in the UK than in France, it seems highly unlikely that he was a drug wholesaler making a delivery. If anything, he was buying rather than selling, although even that doesn’t sound very plausible. Buying firearms smuggled over the border from Switzerland could be a possibility, though.

9-26-2013 at 13:08:26

Trying to pinpoint the specifics of the mysterious X5 is like discussing the gender of angels. Either a complete waste of time or a sneaky way to circumvent positive debate: we have no hard facts whatsoever about that car, only speculations based on.. speculations.
Even though Inspector Clouseau chose not to do so, the first natural step to take would be -for anyone- to positively rule out involvement of those who appear as first witnesses on the scene, namely WBM and PD/B. Over 12 months into this case, this obvious step has never been taken. I wonder why.

9-26-2013 at 13:40:54

I came across this, this morning. It does seem to narrow down the vehicles end of things. It’s from Superintendant May, who was heading up the UK end of the investigation for Surrey police. The Guardian piece is actually pretty comprehensive…

He said police had identified all other people and vehicles who were in the area at the time, but were still looking for a white motorbike and a dark-coloured 4×4 vehicle – possibly a BMW – that witnesses reported seeing

9-26-2013 at 13:49:05

Re X5

Every time this X5 pops up there is always the extra notion of ‘if only to eliminate it from our inquiries’

Now why is that?

If the X5 was on RF just minutes before the killing, you would not say this extra line.

But I gave this (despite Eugene’s suggestion;) some more thought. Here is what I have come up with:

– The X5 is an ‘invention’ (of the witness who called it, namely the 4×4 ‘vert’ ONF guy … it was he who was on the RF)
– But is a ‘clever invention’

The witness handpicked a RHD car which also would regularly be around the region anyway (tourists)

RHD, to direct the killing towards SAH/UK
X5 because he prolly had seen those driving around anyway … and because it had to somehow merge the ‘BM 4×4 statement’ with an ‘invented tourist car’ … it must sound credible so he comes up with a X5

Now the witness says he saw this X5 on RF. Of course there is no way to check this, BM doesn’t remember the details (hence the 4×4 ‘vert’ reference from the beginning)

But the investigators start checking CCTV’s etc. And perhaps would catch a glimpse of some X5 caught on the tapes. An X5 of a totally harmless non-guilty tourist or whatever.

So, perhaps that is why they call out on all those X5’s in the region on sept 5th. As they say, to ELIMINATE those from the list.

… Perhaps they (police) work their way up backwards! By eliminating every possible (RHD BMW) X5 from the list … to finally conclude that there is no hard 2nd evidence of this X5 on RF … and only then to start doubting the witness who called the X5!!

The X5 does not exist … but how do you PROOF that? 😉 (easiest way is to catch the witness lying … it can be done, see the ‘Fiona case’)

– M

9-26-2013 at 14:08:50

(2nd thought)

Of course you could argue ‘But why did he not invent just some car? Why so specific?’

Because, funny detail, he wanted to direct the case towards SAH/UK (away from local) … and he did so by the only means available namely to call the car a RHD(!) … of course thus ingraining the idea that the case HAD TO BE about SAH:)

Now, a ‘car nutt’ who calls a RHD car, most surely must also be able to fill in the details, and so he did … and thus he named the details. BMW RHD X5 (‘sorry I could not make out the number plate’ … how convinient;)

– M

9-26-2013 at 14:54:03

@Max, I was going to give the blog a rest, should be on holiday afterall, here is one link to the 4×4, dated the 30th April, oh how I would love to see the original ‘Press Release’ that was sent out from the French, which it surely was. None of the sources will have interviewed anyone.×4-gris_314209.html

It is NOT Brett Martin who saw this vehicle.

If you’ve ever been involved in Press Releases, they are often bizarre pieces of information, hoping, trying to lead the Press to repeat verabatim what is written, some take a sentence or a paragraph and print it into their own ‘style’, others take the same sentence and make it headline news, twisted and turned to suit their readership.

Much of the Press stuff is just that, no matter what country they hail from, it is rarely verbatim, hence after the 29th April Crimewatch the car became an X5, rather than an X5 style, lazy journalism.

If someone was close enough to identify the car as a BMW X5 RHD, then the COLOUR would be obvious too, no sort of, possibly, obvious, the first thing you’d see.

I’ve said it before, the wedge shape X5, doesn’t look so different from the Audi, Mercedes, VW, Ford or even Nissan and countless others. It is ‘a la mode’, Chelsea tractors.

I drove home from the dentists this morning behind a BMW X5, black with dark windows, I only knew it was RHD because it was a British Plate, or was it, because I couldn’t see inside the vehicle, I only knew it was an X5 because the tag was on the back …

I am more interested who, in the forest on the forest road saw, was crossed by a British plated, darkish four wheel drive vehicle at about 15:20, 2kms from Le Martinet, was that going up or down ? Let’s assume up, unless it is someone other than the ONF driver, going down, which I think it is, it manages to escape the very many (20) kilometres over the zig-zagging track of the Col de Cherel without being seen, not by the farmers, the ONF, the paragliding folk, Melvin or anyone else as it joined the road in Precherel and on to Jarsy. RUBBISH.

If it was the driver of the ONF vehicle, he or they both would have had to slow down to pass one another, then yes a VERY accurate description could be given if the testimony was taken in the hours after and not days later.

@Partlucid, I live in a tourist area, many golfcourses, loads of Chelsea Tractors hogging the road along with the bombastic b’s that think they don’t need to abide by road rules in France !

Love it when I see them caught on mobile radars and made to pay up by the side of the road. The number of times I’ve been flipped the bird because I abide by the speed limits, do you know why I do, it is the law and I don’t want to pay additional taxes and get points on my French Drivers Licence.

9-26-2013 at 14:58:07

Eugene is correct.
It is speculation based upon speculation.

The investigation team will of course be privy to more “facts” than they will wish to release. I imagine that these actions are indeed the type opted for by many investigation teams the world over (for obvious reasons) especially when faced with huge media attention….and in France they are “especially” good at it. Their system “especially” requires it to be so.

What is presented to the media….and what goes on behind the “closed doors” of an ivestigation may prove be two different “realities” when all is finally known.

And yet with Chevaline, “eventually” the police did come forward with a request for assistance from the “General Public” (with regard to the 4×4).

I think that the police (the joint investigations team) had an idea of what went on at The Martinet…but had scant “proof”, lacked the actual suspect AND possibly lacked the actual “target” (the 4×4 ?).

The “Whom Ever” that was driving that 4×4 appears to be very capable of concealing their identity, it would appear.

…then again, who knows ! Maybe they found “the driver”. Maybe he was eliminated as a suspect. Maybe “the driver” didn’t want his name and address publish. Who knows what the hell is going on !

Hopefully “the investigators” do !

9-26-2013 at 15:38:40

I think that the link Lynda provided above shows clearly the inefficiency of the French investigation. They had that information shortly after the murders. They release a call for witness after six months!

To release a call for witnesses is I believe normal police work independent of if you believe that witnesses is lying or telling the truth. To do it six months later is gross neglicense and something you should be fired for.

9-26-2013 at 16:12:58

It is even worse:)

sept 6th 08h00

Quant au cycliste, retrouvé lui aussi mort à côté de la voiture, c’est son épouse, inquiète de ne pas le voir rentrer de sa promenade à vélo, qui a donné l’alerte mercredi 5 septembre au soir, sans avoir fait le rapprochement avec la tuerie de Chevaline. Elle s’est donc présentée avec une photo de son époux auprès de la gendarmerie d’Ugine, les militaires ont rapidement fait le rapprochement et son époux a été clairement identifié comme étant la quatrième victime de la tuerie.

Il se serait trouvé là “au mauvais endroit, au mauvais moment”, explique le procureur Maillaud.


So, here is definite proof that within 16(!) hours, EM seemed to have made up his mind about SM being collateral!!

16(!) hours. It is IM-POS-SI-BLE to have an answer to this killing at that moment. And quite possibly this ‘error of judgement’ haunts him to this day. If you start out the wrong way, it is very difficult to correct that.

Look, I don’t blame EM for thinking SM = collateral. But SM = target should have been an option, a ‘piste’ and a MAJOR piste!

But apparently he went for his gut feeling and we are still stuck with this one year on … ‘Industrial espionage’ is it now? Yeah right:)

– M

9-26-2013 at 16:20:53

(to continue)

Because the focus was (understandbly) on SAH from the first moment, and with SM defined as ‘collateral’ … this quite possibly gave ppl who did this (in the case of SM=target) the much needed time to iron things out, to muffle away evidence, to ‘construct’ a story, to prep an alibi, etc. etc.

In the UK they turned ‘SAH’ house upside down … now what did they do in Ugine?? … Sure on the 12th EM went for thee and biscuits to CS and TS, and that is about it:)

– M

9-26-2013 at 16:47:46

@Partlucid, here in lies the problem:

“Detective Superintendent Nick May said: “I am appealing for anyone with a right-hand-drive 4X4, particularly a grey, black or dark-coloured BMW X5 ”


“….because realistically, how many dark-coloured, RHD ‘X5′s do you think would be circulating in a radius of, say, 25? miles from Annecy…?

Probably not so many, RHD X5 ‘style’ a great deal more…..

It was late summer, ‘kids’ in general back at school, the summer rush over, the time of year adults without nippers like to holiday, still nice weather without the crowds.

These big cars aren’t cheap, although I accept it would depend on the age of the vehicle:

So was it from 1999 or a current model or anything in the years between ?

Could our ‘car enthusiast’ tell ? The only ‘tell’ of a BMW is the front grill as someone has pointed out before, a side or rear view, well any of the previous I’ve mentioned. Nevertheless ever so precise except for the colour !

People lie:

Especially when covering up their own or a ‘loved ones’ misdeeds.

9-26-2013 at 17:12:26

@Max, way back I made the same point that SM was quickly disregarded, I still think Maillaud, immediately after he was told that the owner of the vehicule was of Iraqi origin, didn’t feel the need to look further. He had his answer, which later turned into ‘the answer lies in the UK’.

And yes, once you’ve made all those statements, not easy to go back on them, especially when the international interest is so high.

Just a small point but irritating, in the latest press conference, I think the word used was ‘reconduit’ relating to the future year, that means going back to the beginning not extending it by another year.

So, in a sort of review might not other avenues be looked at again ?

@Partlucid, ‘clair’ means ‘light’ coloured so the motorcycle could have been silver or any other light colour, not necessarily white.

9-26-2013 at 18:18:17

@ Lynda

In my book, “reconduite”, speaking of specific periods of time, means “renewed”, no more no less.
It would certainly have been embarrassing to suggest to have it extended for NINE years !!

9-26-2013 at 18:35:41

@ Lynda 9-26-2013 at 14:54:03

Lynda, in your above post you give a link to francetvinfo then state that

“It is NOT Brett Martin who saw this vehicle.”

I have put the link text through a translator and read it and the rest of your post, but I cannot quite understand why you can be so sure.

Now, I do seem to remember from the early weeks of the investigation that it was implied that one of the occupants of the ONF vehicle was a car buff and that presumably it was him that specifically identified the vehicle in question as an X5 (unfortunately at that stage I was following the investigation but not bookmarking anything so I have no URL to link to).

However, the following paragraph;

“La présence de ce véhicule n’est pas une nouveauté pour les gendarmes. Dès les premières heures de l’enquête, un témoin qualifié de “fiable” a donné un signalement précis sur ce 4×4 qu’il a croisé sur la route forestière menant à la scène de crime. Un détail fourni par ce passionné de voitures a retenu l’attention des gendarmes : le volant se trouvait à droite, ce qui laisse penser que le conducteur est britannique, comme trois des victimes.”

seems to indicate that this witness was both regarded as reliable and gave the police the information in the first hours of the investigation.

Now that would seem to exclude the ONF vehicle on timing grounds and so we are left with BM, Bossy and co and maybe some farmers. Personally I would describe BM as reliable. . .

Now as you incisively state, press releases are reworded and in this case translation errors could also occur. Your french must be lightyears ahead of mine, so can you clarify please what makes you sure it was not BM who specifically identified an X5.

9-26-2013 at 19:54:52

I would like to support Lynda in her interpretation that it wasn’t Brett-Martin who furnished that information about that car. The text indicates that the informant is someone previous unknown to the reader/writer.

Since Brett-Martin also has said that he can’t remember anything about the car, hardly even the colour, it also fits better with his story.

I would guess at a local strolling around in the woods or perhaps that VTT-cyclist who later turned up at the Duchers.

9-26-2013 at 20:01:12

I also noticed that bit about the official go-ahead for another year for the investigation.

With what Marilyn has explained earlier in mind, I guess it means that we will not have these monthly revelations about American servers, Roumanian phone calls, strange cars etc, to keep the investigation going during the next year. Maybe we will not hear from E-Maillaud again before September 2014.

9-26-2013 at 20:05:48

@Rashomon, because the reliable witness statement ‘caught the attention of the gendarmes’, a car enthusiast …..

Brett Martin couldn’t identify the vehicle, we are told, or who was in it.

My paragraph wasn’t well worded, I was implying that it was someone OTHER than the driver of the ONF vehicle.

Which is why I question who was also there that day, on the road or in the forest that came forward with a reliable sighting of the vehicle, in principal it would seem too early for it to be Bossy.

@Eugene, I am not sure if that is what was said, and in what context, I’ll see if the Twitter feed of the press conference is still available, I was watching it live on the France 3 feed, the sound quality was poor.

You see, what I don’t understand is why say that they are going to continue the enquiry for another year, wouldn’t someone say the investigation is ongoing, or something such ?

Whereas to go back over the events of the previous year would make more sense, then again we are talking about the master of odd phrasing !

9-26-2013 at 20:17:07

I must admit, the French use of the term “a car enthusiast” did make me smile.
How did they pre qualify that !

I am guessing as Martin first said (by request) he couldn’t identify the car, they then couldn’t “say” he could identify it. So they invent the “car enthusiast” term.

The fact that Martin couldn’t identify the colour is a “concern”.
However more of a concern is that a “car enthusiast” couldn’t either !!!

Makes it look as “ex RAF man” and “car enthusiast” are one and the same.

9-26-2013 at 20:29:48

You all know what my view is on the X5 etc … but to remind you all, if the ‘car enthusiast’ spotted an ‘X5’ on RF, said ‘car enthusiast’ was there himself too. And thus the police could ask the very valid question ‘But, sir, what were you doing here yourself?’ Again, because said ‘car enthusiast’ could very well have carried a Luger and travelled the little distance to Martinet, et voila:)

Even worse (or better). Said ‘car enthusiast’ was there by his own admission, while the ‘X5’ is just something he said he had seen. Soooo … what was more physical present? The ‘car enthusiast’ or the ‘X5’?

– M

9-26-2013 at 20:41:22

Now for EVERYBODY once and for all

8:50 into this video

It is at that moment ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that EM (and thus BM) did NOT(!) have the ‘BMW RHD X5’ idea …….. unless EM is the goddamn best 2012 actor and deserves an oscar:)

So, there you go with the ‘from the first few hours it was known that X5 …’ etc, shit.

NO(!) it was NOT known from the first moment. And NO(!) imho, imveryho, it was not BM who came with the ‘RHD BMW X5’ idea (unless under hypnosis;)

– M

9-26-2013 at 20:58:57

@ James & Lynda & Lars

Although I obviously defer to Lynda (and Lars) on the subtleties of french, I do wonder if James may be right and they invented someone to shield the real witness.

To cover the point James made about colour identification, I dont think it is an issue because the paint job was probably some multicoat metallic
and the sighting was through the forest canopy.

The shading by leaves is going to strip out all of the wavelengths except green, so if it was maroon like SAH it would just look dark or sombre. If it was dark gunmetal grey it could look just the same.

So we have two possibilities:-

(1) a straw man (James)

(2) a real car enthusiast (Lynda)

Lynda wrote:-

Which is why I question who was also there that day, on the road or in the forest that came forward with a reliable sighting of the vehicle, in principal it would seem too early for it to be Bossy.

I agree with the question!

Do you or anyone else remember a hint that there was more than one occupant of the ONF vehicle?

9-26-2013 at 21:06:35

@ All

Does the use of “enthusiast” in french imply juvenile?

Could it be Melvin or perhaps an apprentice/trainee passenger in the ONF vehicle.

9-26-2013 at 21:18:12

@Rashomon, I agree about the colour thing, but there is a big difference between the BMW Estate and a BMW X5, height and length, if someone was close enough to identify a RHD BMW X5, then they should be close enough to distinguish colour, especially a car buff.

The timing is said to be around 15:20 or 20 minutes before the killings, that could of course be before they were discovered, I’m leaning towards the vehicle being Saads, remembering that neither Fillon-Robin, the Duchers nor Claude Antoine saw any vehicle.

So, the car buff isn’t such a buff afterall and probably should go to Specsavers !

Regarding occupants of ONF, I suppose it comes down to h

9-26-2013 at 21:18:13

@Rashomon, I agree about the colour thing, but there is a big difference between the BMW Estate and a BMW X5, height and length, if someone was close enough to identify a RHD BMW X5, then they should be close enough to distinguish colour, especially a car buff.

The timing is said to be around 15:20 or 20 minutes before the killings, that could of course be before they were discovered, I’m leaning towards the vehicle being Saads, remembering that neither Fillon-Robin, the Duchers nor Claude Antoine saw any vehicle.

So, the car buff isn’t such a buff afterall and probably should go to Specsavers !

Regarding occupants of ONF, I suppose it comes down to h

9-26-2013 at 21:22:32

… it was worded, did ‘Maillaud’ or anyone say, ‘they’ or ‘he’, then again, even if referring to one person we often say ‘they’, don’t we ?

My overall impression is that there were plenty of people in and around the area on the 5th September, not exactly as isolated as some would have us believe.

Good enough to deliberately plan to knock off one bloke, a family, the ‘window’ was very tight, too tight in fact.

9-26-2013 at 21:38:25

Re: “…too tight in fact”

There has been very little work done on the timelines for a long time now. I believe that Max, See_Bee and I (Lars) were the ones most active in that field.

Now neither Max nor I seem to put too much belief in that mysterious car, so I guess none of us will try to fit it in any timeline. See_Bee is occupied elsewhere.

I must just say that it will be extremely difficult to place any car along Route Forestiere, except the ones we already know of, without it bumping into a lot of people. I think you can see that by studying the old timelines discussed above.

It is somewhat of a mystery to me that the police does not take any kind of logic into account. The first thing I would ask myself if a witness said that he/she saw something is, is it at all possible, how many other witnesses must then have seen the same thing.

The French police do not seem to believe in logic.

9-26-2013 at 22:24:31

It is very simple.

To solve the Chevaline case, they (police) have to crack the ‘X5 riddle’. And as the X5 is nowhere to be found, they have to crack the ‘witness who called the X5’

Crack the witness, the rest will follow.

– M

9-26-2013 at 22:47:55

Retracing my steps I found this old Le Parisien article. I can’t remember that I have read it earlier. Anyway since we have so little information about Sylvain Mollier it can be worth to read again:

Sylvain, père aimant et passionné de vélo

9-26-2013 at 23:16:59

Does anybody have any idea what this could mean?

Adieu l’ami salut l’artiste
Ca fait mal de savoir tout cela

What is this about l’artiste, and why does knowing all that make one feel bad?

9-26-2013 at 23:21:31

@ Rashomon:

No, the word “enthusiast” in French does not imply juvenile.

I go with James idea that the “car enthusiast” is William Brett Martin.

I therefore do not think that the ONF have seen the mysterious BMW X5.


9-26-2013 at 23:24:57

@ All

Re: “…too tight in fact”

One of the implications of the walk-in walk-out killer (see my post on 9-24-2013 at 16:29:53) is that the timeline is loosened.

In particular, since neither 4×4 (if it exists), nor MC1, need to go up to Martinet then the constraint on the earliest start time shifts, as does the latest end time. The end result is a longer window.

Unfortunately my descriptions of Mr Muscle and the other protagonists were perhaps a little too lurid, or compelling, for what was meant to be (and was described as) an illustrative scenario.

9-26-2013 at 23:36:17


Thx, yes, worth reading (again)

‘Il partait souvent faire des boucles autour du lac d’Annecy’

… often around Lake Annecy … a 80 km trip (ok for a biker like SM) which means he passed Doussard EVERYTIME on that trip! And from Doussard it is just a small side-step up the Combe d’Ire. Lost?? What do they mean Lost??

– M

9-26-2013 at 23:45:13

@Lars Re: old SM article

Well, lars thank you very much for this one as it gives to my point of view two non-discussed informations:

a) SM was not only known by himself in the area but by his network e.g. his father who let the local rugby team (not exactly a soft sport, but anyway) => the “wall of silence” expands a lot.
Why – for gods sake – nobody talks in the area about it? My reason: they know what SM was up to and they do not want to get asked troublesome questions. Fullstop.

“Un père décédé il y a dix-huit mois et qui était une figure emblématique d’Ugine où il a longtemps dirigé le club de rugby local, espérant faire de Sylvain un joueur de ballon ovale.”

b) Strange even more: Somebody as fit as SM is NOT granted a license by Cyclo CLub d’ugine??? WTF is that?

“Si Sylvain Mollier n’était pas licencié au cyclo club d’Ugine, le président du club, Michel Perrier le connaissait cependant comme « un bon amateur ».Si Sylvain Mollier n’était pas licencié au cyclo club d’Ugine, le président du club, Michel Perrier le connaissait cependant comme « un bon amateur ».”

So cycling was a hobby, merely worth mentioning … hmmm


9-27-2013 at 00:46:52

“….but there is a big difference between the BMW Estate and a BMW X5, height and length…”

That there is.

However, in all the confusion and haste to get the “story” out….the television news reported, in those early hours, that the Al Hilli family was in a BMW SUV.
(This was before the photo of the BMW Touring was taken and published)

So which policeman mentioned the BMW SUV to The TV news ?
Somebody did. It’s too much of long shot to be just a “guess”.

And who told the “policeman” about the BMW SUV ?

Our very own “ex RAF man” / “car enthusiast”, Mr Brett Martin.

The question really is….
Why was the story about the BMW SUV so quickly “canned” ?
Why was it not mentioned (at the request of the police) by Brett Martin ?
Why was the help of the General Public not asked for until April 2013 ?

9-27-2013 at 00:52:21


Thanks for putting up that piece about the ‘car nut’ who had spotted the ‘X5’. I hadn’t seen it before.


Surely the salient point in all of this is that there IS a car (possibly! an X5) and a motorbike bike which remain unaccounted for. This alone suggests that neither are local. By my arithmetic there were reportedly only around ten or so vehicles which travelled up and down that 3km strip all day: Claude Antoine’s? two cars+two bikes? in the morning, Saad’s BMW, the mystery ‘X5’, the mystery motorbike, Bossy, and then let’s assume the odd ONF (one of whom may or may not be the ‘car nut’). And from the Guardian piece I put up at 13.40….the police are happy that they have identified ALL parties and vehicles other than the mystery duo…

The degree to which the police have identified these vehicles, is – for our purposes – secondary, although obviously not in terms of solving the murders. In an ideal world they would want registration numbers, but they don’t have that, and can’t get it. They’ve only got a partial description to work with, but they obviously have enough confidence in it to have made it public. We’ll probably never know how that ‘identifying process’ came together (I do find the notion that the ‘car nut’ might be a fictional cover for BM quite intriguing!). I suggested originally that it might have been a patchwork job, perhaps stitching together more than one sighting. But at the end of the day we’re left with Brett Martin encountering a dark-coloured ‘X5’ thing, and a helmeted motorbike as they come down the hill past him. The overwhelming likelihood is that they have both either been at, or at the very least, passed by the scene.

9-27-2013 at 08:47:48

Good Morning!


a) There has been some confusion regarding the rugby club and his father, Roger Mollier. It has been said that he was one of the founders of the club. That he can hardly be since the club started in 1907 (Le livre d’or de l’A.S.U. Rugby-ugine 1907-1982 .
As I understand it now he was one of the men who much later united the rugby clubs in Ugine and Albertville ( , but he was never in any real leading position.
I think it is a question of what you can say in a colloquial conversation:
‘- Mais oui, he was a leading man in that club’.
Which just means that he was one in a group of men/friends who ran that club for a while. Not necessarily that he ever had any leading position.

b) Yes, Michel Perrier confirms what I have suspected, that Sylvain Mollier was never competing for the club. He was probably never even a member of the club, maybe he was a ‘hang-around’ at times to these bikers. But he was surely not wearing the clothes of the club when cycling.

I have searched a lot (a year ago) of any signs of Mollier competing. I found a couple of occasions when he might have been taking part in a race. I thus find Michel Perrier’s description probable, Sylvain Mollier was «un bon amateur», no more no less. He liked to go on his bike tours on his own in the area on his expensive bike, but that’s it. The rest is inventions by the journalists.

9-27-2013 at 08:51:08

Sorry messed up the second link, should be:
SOUA Rugby

9-27-2013 at 09:10:17

I have said it before and I say it again ‘Sylvain Mollier was no club kid’. The few people who have said anything about Mollier, they say that he was somewhat of a loner, a person who did things preferably on his own.

I think he resembles his father-in-law-to-be and his brother-in-law-to be (and probably a lot of other men in the area) in that aspect, both also equipped with very expensive bikes. Perhaps taking part in a local race now and then as «un bon amateur», but otherwise cycling around to keep up the shape.

9-27-2013 at 09:12:41

@Partlucid, the ‘missing’ motorcycle is the one ‘seen’ by Denis Janin, on the Col de Cherel going towards the scene of the crime at about 16:00. (With the big saddle bags)

The one that was there, wasn’t there, then was there again, pîty he didn’t get his testimony sorted with his wife first !

It was stated that Sylvain liked to cycle alone in many press outlets. He wasn’t interested in playing rugby, which certainly one of his brothers did.

I wonder what the two cars and two motorbikes were up to in the morning, all came back down, maybe someone was left up there ?

I just don’t see Brett Martin being described as a ‘car enthusiast’, it’s a bit ‘geeky’…. which is why like Rashomon, I wondered if it was Melvin.

9-27-2013 at 09:35:30

Even though I think we’re paying way too much attention to the “possibly” X5 specifications, since it’s still being discussed, here’s some additional speculation about the inconsistencies of available reports.
Question: how could a witness be able to be assertive about the model (BMW X5) but remain incapable of stating its color?
Answer: that witness may be color-blind. This sight impairment afflicts about 10pc of people, if at varying degrees. If so, he could only see that the vehicle was either dark or light, but unable to provide a specific or reliable shade. It FITS, as Max would say.
Should this explanation be correct, it would somehow rule out WBM being the witness: either in New-Zealand or in the UK, I believe someone severely color-blind couldn’t pass the test required to hold an unrestricted Pro. Pilot license, hence not become a RAF pilot or BA flight crew. (Am I right, Mr James?).
But then, if not WBM, who else would be the fortunate witness? Certainly not PD/B, and probably not the ONF duet.
Whatever model and color, that SUV disappeared. That’s the main issue, and I think it means it didn’t go very far and simply returned to its former location.

9-27-2013 at 09:48:45



We are forgetting the obvious….

1. WBM won’t be colour blind.

2. But I bet it’s hard to distinguish which “dark colour” is which… when wearing wrap around sunglasses.

9-27-2013 at 09:49:37


Like Lars, I took the ‘license’ business to simply mean that he wasn’t a fully paid-up member of the club…and Lars then goes on to make the interesting point that, as such, he presumably wouldn’t be entitled to wear the club colours…


Like you, I’ve also just started to wonder about who exactly Claude Antoine’s couple of cars and bikes were, though it’s unlikely we could ever unearth that, and presumably these four? also come under the police heading of “all vehicles having been identified”. I think he thought the killings were most likely a car-jacking? gone wrong, didn’t he…although that would seem an extraordinary escalation…

And then of course there’s the ever-shifting testimony of Denis Janin. Your post suggests a discrepancy between his account and that of his wife? When I last searched there was astonishingly little of Janin online, indeed I think most of it was to be found chez Marilyn herself! I see that you do have him definitively sending our biker chappie off in the direction of Le Martinet, albeit that 4pm timing would mean he’d somehow/ somewhere miss the shootings and BM. Any ideas also on how to reconcile the Janin sighting with the ONF motorbike encounter..?

9-27-2013 at 09:59:52


“Whatever model and color, that SUV disappeared. That’s the main issue, and I think it means it didn’t go very far and simply returned to its former location.”

I like that statement, especially when according to the link I posted above, hours of CCTV had been looked at…..

With regard to colourblindness, in the majority of cases isn’t it a red/green problem ?

So, someone else was in the lane that day, about 2kms from Le Martinet at about 15:20 ….. who are you ?

Were you working, hiking, cycling, which direction did the vehicle take or was it parked (Rashomon) ?

9-27-2013 at 11:00:37

Following from Lars post about Sylvain and Roger here’s a bit more from France 3 Rhone Alpes, I was hoping that the 1h30 last press conference might be available, doesn’t appear to be.

Roger was a volunteer at the Rugby Club.

Sylvain was dark haired and of average build, which strikes me as being quite like his eldest son, although he has his mothers nose.

According to Amelia Castro he cycled almost every day.

If you want to see more search “France 3 Rhone Alpes Chevaline”.

9-27-2013 at 11:15:56

@ All
Anybody who wishes to compete in any kind of bicycle race needs a UCI licence, which can be either applied for individually or by a team. That SM wasn’t licensed with the Cyclo Club d’Ugine merely means that he wasn’t on any of their competition teams. It doesn’t mean that he wasn’t a full member of the club.

@ Lynda or anybody else with native-level French

What does that message of condolence at the bottom mean? Why would SM be called an artist?

9-27-2013 at 11:57:00

Hmmm, rereading the first MZT thread, I got this weird feeling of ‘BM is back’:D

Back in those days I went straight at BM. Rereading it made me go like ‘Easy, Max, easy’ because I was quite clear in my wording … however, after letting it ‘sink in’ again, I got, as said, a weird feeling.

BM is back? (square one if there ever was one)

Plz, pay no attention to me, prolly just a ‘weak moment’;)

– M

9-27-2013 at 12:35:50

Peter, I wonder if it is ‘Farewell friend, salute, say hello to the artist (God)….’

9-27-2013 at 12:37:17

@ Peter

Though that condolence message certainly is a little cryptic, I wouldn’t make too much of it:
“Salut l’artiste” is a fairly usual euphemistic colloquial phrase meaning good-bye, hence RIP. I forget the origin now, think it’s from some old French song (Jacques Brel or Gilbert Becaud style). The next sentence could only imply empathy towards the harshness of Mollier’s demise. Obscure for sure but not so fishy that we should suspect anything.

9-27-2013 at 12:43:32

@ Lars:

Reading in Lynda’s Tracy Andrews Wikipedia link of “a fat man with *staring* eyes” made me think of “The Children of Bodom”.

You might have heard of that mysterious, never solved murder, havent’t you?

@ Peter:

I’m not trilingual, but I googled the phrase, seems to be used pretty often around here in condolences, have never heard of it before, “artist” not in a meaning of a real artist, some like when I call somebody in German a “Früchtchen” not meaning he’s a fruit for real (you get my meaning) or a “sport” in English when he doesn’t do sports at all (works also in German as “Sportsfreund”).


9-27-2013 at 13:03:29

The Fiona case, the day before her demise, there had been an internet search on their computer relating to the disappearance of a child, one that had been taken from a park.

It is thought that this is how the mother got the idea to say the child had vanished from the park, they now know the mother wasn’t even there and helped bury the child to ‘protect’ her bum of a partner.

I wonder how many computers have been thoroughly checked in the Chevaline case ?

From the France 3 piece posted above, did you see this line, dated the 13th September:

“Les enquêteurs concentrent l’essentiel de leurs investigations autour de Saadal-Hilli, cet ingénieur britannique d’origine irakienne”.

9-27-2013 at 13:26:53

@ Eugene, Alexander, Lynda

Thanks for the explanation. That message of condolence had puzzled me considerably.

9-27-2013 at 13:41:03


It doesn’t mean that he was a full member of the club either.

As long as there are no proofs for that I prefer to conclude that he was no member either. There is not a trace of him on their homepages.


Yes I have heard of the killings at Bodom Träsk. I don’t think it ever got a name in Sweden so I had to read first what it was all about. I probably heard about it in 2005 when they made a new investigation. It is also sometimes referred to when a person present at a murder blames an unknown stranger, but can often only give a very diffuse description of the killer.

If they had searched the computers they might have found that somebody googled the Chablais-killings. 😉

9-27-2013 at 13:41:22

@ Lars Re: role of SM and his father

you know, what puzzles me most is the wall of silence thoughout the area. I mean SM was not unknown, he was a socially integrated guy. I personally feel that nobody talks because it is too risky to talk for the idividual who would to it.


9-27-2013 at 13:46:24

(perhaps SM was sleeping with BM’s wife)

9-27-2013 at 14:01:32

@Max ()

(shhht… )

EM is sleeping, do not disturb …

9-27-2013 at 14:12:23

@ Max

But if such was the case, what could have happened?
(She drives there with the gray Audi Q, he follows on the bike, takes him down, uses the Al-Hillis as a cover, blackmails his scared spouse into taking the gun back with her, switches to the valiant witness role)
Does it FIT?
In any case, nobody so far has even dared look into his private life. And it’d be a tiny teeny “wall of silence”.

9-27-2013 at 14:36:31


The high ammo count is a problem (21+ bullets carried to only kill SM?)
The excessive killing of SAH’s is a problem (‘elminate witness’ would be the explanation)
MC1 as reported by BM supposedly exists (what is the story of MC1, did he see BM?)
The ‘gun powder’ test would be a problem!

The rest could fit.

– M

9-27-2013 at 14:48:00

Mollier went from same age to younger, I doubt he’d go the other way unless it was easy meat !

How do you silence a town of some 7,000 souls, plus the outer edges of Albertville, Grignon et al.

Then add Cezus, Ugitech…

Maybe there is so much corruption and wrong doing in ‘dem der hills’, that everbody has something to fear ?

@Eugene, BM has children, he says so, how old are they likely to be ? Born in Brighton (?), educated in Brighton – he has been written off as a witness and nothing more by EM, even to the extent that in one of the first EM press conferences, he said that they would have known if the ‘witness’ was involved.

I still imagine that had Bossy not arrived he could have freewheeled down that lane and out of there.

So, then we’d all be scrutinising Bossy, come to think of it wouldn’t that change the entire perception of events ?

9-27-2013 at 15:01:07


Maybe that’s what the 4×4 driver thought….and did ?

9-27-2013 at 15:03:30

(iirc … weren’t we looking for the husband of the ‘3rd woman’?)

9-27-2013 at 15:12:11

Have you seen this, I’m not a Death Penalty supporter, when I read this I wonder if such people should be thrown in to a pit/dungeon and left to die, I’m posting the Mail article because it is in English there are far more comprehensive analysis in the French Press – just sick, the mother was six months pregnant at the time:

We are supposed to be collectively ‘civilised’.

9-27-2013 at 15:22:51

@ Max

Sorry. I kind of liked your suggestion. It somehow sounded less fantasy than the Mr Muscle plus crazy Welsh professor theory.
In case you persist, I’m sure the details could be tweaked, like in a good Sudoku grid.

9-27-2013 at 15:37:29

No problem Eugene. I’m surprised myself to be back at ‘square one’ 🙂

Would there be a connection between BM and LR? (SM ladies man, reason divorce, LR, BM, BM has daughter perhaps? perhaps something worse than ‘just sleeping with …’?)

(now this IS speculation, I know)

9-27-2013 at 15:47:32

@ Max

You don’t need any connection between BM and SM (or LR). Or the connection would be cycling.
Lynda objects by stating SM had become a YPOC kind of guy, but to a true philanderer, there’s no such thing as “easy meat”. Only missed opportunities. And let’s be honest. What straight guy has never day-dreamed of giving it to a flight attendant?

9-27-2013 at 16:00:49

“What straight guy has never day-dreamed of giving it to a flight attendant ?”

Me !

The difference between a “hostie” and a jet engine ?
At the gate, the engines stop whining.

9-27-2013 at 16:06:34

@ James

Okay. But you’re a saint. Or a wise man: never mix business with pleasure.

PS can’t you use “reverse thrust” before you have to taxi back to the gate?

9-27-2013 at 16:13:52

In the JMD/LP ‘exclusive reveal’ article it was mentioned (as exclusive) that a 3rd cyclist had seen SM. It is not mentioned if this 3rd biker perhaps also saw BM.

So, who exactly can vouch for BM?

The only one I can think of would be the MC1 (coming down, as reported by BM)

Strangely enough, with the ‘exclusives’, there seems no info being shared from EM to journo’s about this MC1. But this MC1, who supposedly is accounted for, must have seen BM, and very probably also must have seen SM going up, possibly SAH as well … and perhaps even have info on the notorius X5.

It would be handy if we would know more about this MC1

– M

9-27-2013 at 16:23:51

@ Max

Bet there’s no MC1. Or to be clearer: MC1 = MC2 or Gentle Giant

You’re funny: if BM is involved, why would you take his report of “MC1 going down” at face value? The best lies are always drowned in an ocean of truth, so X probably noticed MC2 or GG and used that as decoy.

9-27-2013 at 16:26:26


TCAS is….remembering before hand to give her a “wrong” number !

They are a nightmare.
Having survived a few, I speak from experience.

( And they always eat standing up…. and can sleep 16 hours straight.)

9-27-2013 at 16:46:20

@ James

That’s probably why 4 stars are 4 studs.
But let’s speak of something else. Don’t forget we’re being currently monitored not only by NSA ( my proxy IP # in Iceland is but also by Marilyn’s trusted Celeste, French for heavenly. Better take care of the latter.

So do you think all of the “witnesses” can be written off, as Inspector Clouseau instantly declared. Or should we put the question to the test?

9-27-2013 at 17:07:43


Well….I’ve been a thinking about that !

If “car enthusiast” and “ex RAF man” are one and the same…which I suspect they are, then he saw the SUV twice. Once going up…and once going down.

The police are looking for said SUV with the statement “it was seen at 15.20”.
Now if Martin saw it at this time, which way was it going ?

Up !

That is if you take the time of 15.40 as the approx time of the shootings. And that’s the other time the police mention when they gave their appeal.

And that’s interesting as Martin later says “about midway up” when he speaks of seeing the SUV coming down (“and later the motorbike”…but we don’t know how much later).

Because “midway” up would be 1.5kms…and approx 15.25 !

9-27-2013 at 17:15:21


It passes Martin twice….in a 5 minute time frame.

The SUV has to travel 2kms to The Martinet….and then 1.5kms back to Martin who has climbed 0.5kms in that time. 3.5kms…in 5 minutes.

That’s about 25mph “average”.
Without time allowed for stopping, without time allowed for manoeuvring.

Factor in some other things…and it looks quite interesting.

9-27-2013 at 17:36:56

@ James 9-27-2013 at 17:15:21

James, you wrote;

“The SUV has to travel 2kms to The Martinet….and then 1.5kms back to Martin who has climbed 0.5kms in that time. 3.5kms…in 5 minutes.”

In reply I’m just going to reprint my comment of last night:-

Re: “…too tight in fact”

One of the implications of the walk-in walk-out killer (see my post on 9-24-2013 at 16:29:53) is that the timeline is loosened.

In particular, since neither 4×4 (if it exists), nor MC1, need to go up to Martinet then the constraint on the earliest start time shifts, as does the latest end time. The end result is a longer window.

Unfortunately my descriptions of Mr Muscle and the other protagonists were perhaps a little too lurid, or compelling, for what was meant to be (and was described as) an illustrative scenario.

9-27-2013 at 17:45:48

I know. Meaning that within 5 minutes (15:20 to 15:25) the SUV would have driven the last mile up to Martinet, had its occupant shoot down four people, and then driven down again for almost a mile. This is not a killer, this is Spyderman!
Or someone is telling lies, and naive public buy them.

9-27-2013 at 18:05:17


Now it could be done.
The SUV could arrives there, turns around and leaves.
3.5 kms in 5 mins averaging 25mph on those road conditions.

He then could have passed Martin at 15.20 2k’s from the car park.
And passed him again at 15.25 1.5k’s from the car park.

But if he was going up there, why didn’t he stop ?
What did he see that made him leave ?

Al Hilli would have been in Arnand at 15.15.
The SUV would have been at the car park after 15.20…and would have left before 15.25.

It’s even likely that the SUV and Al Hilli passed each other on the Combe D’Ire.

9-27-2013 at 18:59:04

@RiffRaff Re:’wall of silence’

Yes, I am surprised too. I have lived in Swedens ‘smallest town’ with around 5000 inhabitants, i.e. somewhat smaller than Ugine. I can’t imagine that it could be possible to create a wall of silence there. Not for a year at least.

Perhaps it would be possible far up in the northern parts of Sweden, with very tight knitted communities, where almost everybody are relatives, or belong to just a couple of families.

I am not so surprised about Ugitech/Cezus. I think they recommended their employees not to speak to the press. Since I think that Sylvain’s brother(s) still work there, they could just motivate it with that the family wanted to be left in peace.

But I am surprised. Surprised of their trust in E-Maillaud’s investigation, and surprised that they don’t think about the children, how this very prolonged investigation will affect their lives.

9-27-2013 at 19:01:15

But if they passed each other, did they wave hello like good hares do?

9-27-2013 at 19:12:06

Whatever “SUV man” saw…. he wasn’t for warning others !
Maybe it wasn’t such a threat, more of a nuisance ?

A big eared loon pulling “wheelies” in the car park covered in peanut butter ?
Who knows !

9-27-2013 at 19:30:04

Beware, James, Eric Idle is living not far from there and riding dark coconuts.

9-27-2013 at 19:57:35

@Eugene, “but to a true philanderer, there’s no such thing as “easy meat”. Only missed opportunities”, gosh, ‘your friend’ to whom you must be referring is very well informed ! 😉

9-27-2013 at 20:37:00

@ Lynda

How would I know?
I’ve been married three times and never cheated only once on any of my wives.

9-27-2013 at 21:12:33

So now they should be looking for the British Bomb Woman. Samantha Sokxx. The bitch has a right to remain silent. But she is foetsjie. Maybe she died in the commotion? Her head was not on the FBI most wanted website and also not on the Interpol website. Strange.

9-27-2013 at 21:50:36


Was ‘never cheated only once’ a Freudian slip of the tongue, or did I miss something? 🙂

9-27-2013 at 22:04:56

@ Lars

You’re bad.

And now for something completely different, did you notice that in his interview WBM explained that when PD/B drove up to the lay-by he was still so tense that he backed up to be in crisis parking, just in case?

Who’s Freud?

9-27-2013 at 22:13:47


Nope. In the reports I read (e.g. Le Parisien: Les confidences d’un témoin du drame de Chevaline, published 9 September 2012) Bossy followed him back to to the lay-by.

9-27-2013 at 22:44:24

@ Lars

From the transcript:

“MARTIN: Yea, the French folks then decided to carry on up to see if they could do anything and I followed them back up which I was quite apprehensive about because it was very prevalent about where the shooter was but we went back up. They turned their car round to be able to make a prompt getaway if anything turned bad and the gentleman, the lady stayed in the car and the gentleman and I went up to the scene, looked around.”

Actually, the skid marks close to the BMW could be from PD/B’s car.

9-28-2013 at 00:59:36

@ Lars 9-27-2013 at 18:59:04

Re wall-of-silence up in the french mountains, have a read of this article

Recovering a WWII bomber hidden in a French cave

9-28-2013 at 09:33:45

Good Morning!


To me that means that they turned the car around more or less where they met Brett-Martin.


Thanks! Interesting story.
I have always hoped that me could get some local (i.e. Savoian) commentators here. Someone who could e.g. explain if there are reasons why the people don’t want to speak. These are things that we as outsiders never can know and understand.

The wars have always been reasons for people to keep quiet. No matter if you ended up on the winning or the losing side. Too many nasty things happened. I have mentioned a murder in Stockholm just after WWII above. This murder was probably committed by the Norwegian resistance movement. Until this day, the few members still living, refuses to comment on the thing. Their only comment is that you shouldn’t dig in this matter. And they are supposed to be the heroes.

9-28-2013 at 09:43:21

Morning all…

Do we still have any car enthusiasts reading the site..?
I was sorry to see Ron leaving the other day, and even sorrier that nobody felt to comment on it.

As mentioned earlier, I’ve never given the skid marks that much regard because, without direct information we’ve no way of knowing whether they’re pertinent to the crime…

However having now located an ‘X5’ within the vicinity of the shootings, I’ve been forced down this road. To my naked eye, the prominent arcing tracks have always looked pretty broad and ‘heavy’, and most likely far wider than Saad’s BMW. A simple paper-and-scissors measurement confirmed them to be around one sixth wider than the wheelbase for Saad’s car, and I dare say some computer wizardry could produce an even more accurate readout…

So, even allowing for some distortions caused by the aerial perspective, I’m satisfied that these skid marks have not been caused by Saad’s BMW…

…in which case I’d be keen to hear the thoughts of other students of ‘matters automotive’…

9-28-2013 at 10:16:28

@ Lars

This is possible, but unlikely:
a) it would imply PD/B made the choice to leave his two female friends by themselves, exposed to potential further attack.
b) it seems difficult enough to turn around using the lay-by to maneuver, it would certainly take extensive repeated maneuvers to do this just on the road itself, narrow as it is
c) it would have prevented PD/B from using his car as protection or makeshift weapon against an assailant on foot.

To me the likely sequence of events was that he drove up to the lay-by, visualy scanned the scene from within his car, and only then backed up with his wheel locked before walking out to make a close-up inspection. He may have left WBM to walk behind them, as he was still unsure about him being an uninvolved witness at that point.

9-28-2013 at 10:53:38

@ Partlucid

Agreed about Ron. He might be back some day though.

Car enthousiasts or not, the trick about the tire tracks is that most of us try to use them as positive evidence, I mean clues into “what happened”. I think there are too many unknown variables for this, so it’s a slippery road.
It makes more sense I think to look at them as negative evidence, to try and find out what theories they can exclude.
In my opinion, they exclude that only the Al-Hilli’s BMW parked there, they exlude that SM was dragged around for 40 feet before lying in front of it. They also question the assumption that the car ended up stuck in the mud, as is usually accepted.
The truth is out there.

9-28-2013 at 11:07:07

Could he not have turned the car around in the clearing before Le Martinet, where we see all the gendarmerie etc. parked up ? Ideal place to turn a vehicle, I can imagine he would have told the women to stay in the car.

What exactly would BM have said to PB in his bad French ? PB only seeing a man with blood on his hands. Would BM have said an accident, an incident, a shooting, PB may not have been aware that it was the latter, we’ve never been told what he said in his first phone call to the Pompiers, before going up to the scene.

9-28-2013 at 11:39:01

@ Lynda

Yes, he could.
But, as opposed to BMW and also the gendarmes, this was for PD/B his first visit to the place. He had no way to know beforehand that the proper Martinet lay-by was just a few yards further the first clearing you mention. And stuck by the embankment, the BMW wasn’t visible either from the road until you were actually level with it. So it’s much more likely that he had to pass by the victims’ car before deciding to stop.

9-28-2013 at 12:06:33


I agree with Lynda. If he didn’t turn around earlier he probably did it on the lay-be just before Le Martinet (where all the policemen later parked their cars). I actually think the women were safer where they where, not to move them also to the crime scene. With what was Bossy going to defend them, if the killer was still there?

You forget who Bossy is. He is a professional mountain guide. Trained to care of people who have had accidents in the mountains. He knows that you shouldn’t mess with a crime scene.

9-28-2013 at 12:12:11


Your link above also shows what you still can find in these mountains, especially if you are a mountain guide or a mountaineer, moving outside the beaten tracks, and having these mountains and forests as your daily place of work.

9-28-2013 at 12:19:50

@ Lars

Well, since you say so..
Meanwhile, that’s our problem with the witnesses in this case: they’re basically intouchable. WBM as a former RAF man, PD/B as a professional mountain guide. Lucky ducks. But EM also has a remarkable background, hasn’t he?

9-28-2013 at 13:05:11

@ Eugene 9-28-2013 at 12:19:50

“Meanwhile, that’s our problem with the witnesses in this case: they’re basically intouchable. WBM as a former RAF man, PD/B as a professional mountain guide. Lucky ducks.”

Well it’s only a “problem” if you don’t want to accept their testimony.

The way I look at it, is that the police (and Zainab) got pretty much the best possible first attending witness.

However, they were ‘Lucky Ducks’ as you say. The police interviewed BM for six hours.

Imagine if the first person on the scene was a local scally with a record, up there to buy/sell drugs. I suspect that they would not have been released, a la the EM dictum of “Bang em up, and let them sweat”.

The later, slightly craven, references to the unempeachable ex RAF officer suggest to me that maybe les flics were a bit, shall we say, ‘persistent’.

However, they weren’t getting a false confession from him, his RAF anti-interrogation training wasn’t wasted.

9-28-2013 at 14:05:35

Why should we “accept” a testimony, if we may not first question it, put to the test? If we go along that line, it’s called faith, not reason. There are other places for that.

9-28-2013 at 14:53:14


Did you see the story this week of the young Savoyard, who found a box on Mont Blanc, containing jewels believed to have been from a crashed Air India flight in 1966.

He has chosen to remain anonymous.

@Eugene, I accept he my not have been able to see the vehicle, would he not have been able to see Zainab or the legs of Sylvain Mollier ? The third cyclist the VTTist told Lise Ducher that he saw nothing but the cyclists legs…. so something was visible as he approached, apart from the people there, he was told to go back down/keep away.

Were the ‘people’ the first responders or BM and PB, I favour the latter, the former arriving after BM and PB had gone back downhill.

9-28-2013 at 15:14:33

@ Lynda

Don’t forget: both Zainab and Mollier had been gently “moved to the side”, because the BMW might have lurched forward.

9-28-2013 at 16:13:53

@Eugene, nevertheless the VVTist according to Lise Ducher, said he saw the legs of a cyclist on the ground.

Would Bossy not have seen the same from a car ? Could Martin have indicated in his bad French it was just after the next clearing, even if with hand gestures ?

I cannot see when putting all the bits together that Bossy entered Le Martinet, reversed and turned the car to face downwards, hasn’t he said he went up to see if there was anything he could do ? Bossy ahead of Martin.

There is never mention of the women in the car, I suspect they ‘saw’ nothing, but no doubt filled in with the details by Bossy as he drove the car downhill coming to a stop outside Duchers Farm, which is opposite the Beweeks house where Fillion-Robin and his builders mate were working.

When you see photos of a farm with a Red 4×4, that is Duchers place.×4-fonce-512035

9-28-2013 at 16:25:56


Thanks! What nice stories! First Rashomon’s and now yours, in one day!

But you missed (?) the nicest part:
En 1975, le guide de haute montagne Christian Mollier avait lui découvert sur les Bossons le train d’atterrissage du Malabar Princess lors d’une course en montagne.


Yes, even the witnesses are strange in this case.
I, for one, have never believed Brett-Martin since I heard that interview for the first time. I have never been able though to prove that he is lying. I keep my feeiling in the back of my head and if I one day will find a proof that will nail him I will not be dissatisfied.

So I am not preaching the truth to you but just saying what I find reasonable to believe, as long as we have no facts.

9-28-2013 at 17:52:15

@ Lars

With the very strange way this case has been unfolding, another problem for us armchair sleuths is that we can’t tell the difference between a (potential) lie from a witness and the (high) possibility of him “withholding the truth” at the request of investigators. Or a combination of the two.
The “wall of silence” we’ve been discussing so often doesn’t apply only to SM’s family, it applies to everyone involved, witnesses and media included. It’s not just pictures that we lack, but almost everything of the background.
I just can’t think of any other murder case, in France or around the world, where people in control have made such a point of leaving the public in the dark. How come?

@ Lynda

I guess I can’t convince you about the PD/B “drive-by”. And actually it doesn’t make much difference, beside possible implications on the timing of the phone call to rescue services.
Otherwise, you being our links mastermind, can you refresh our memories: I think I recall reading a report (UK press?) mentioning that Mr Beweek was also a former RAF serviceman. Can we confirm that? If correct, it’d sound very unlikely that they wouldn’t know each other.

9-28-2013 at 18:18:23

@ Eugene, 9-28-2013 at 17:52:15

I believe that the gentleman’s name actually is John Edward Bewick, that he is a civil engineer and has been one for a long time (too long, I think, for him to have been a flying ace before, but I could be wrong about that).

9-28-2013 at 18:35:23


I agree totally.

re: “…where people in control have made such a point of leaving the public in the dark. How come?”

I don’t know. And I really would like to know. That’s the reason why I am contemplating writing a book on Chevaline (when the case is solved), to explain why.

9-28-2013 at 18:35:50

@ Peter

Thanks. I did think the other spelling was unusual. Whatever his professional background, it’d bd interesting to know how well WBM and him were acquainted. After all, if one of your friends is having repair works done on his home while he’s away and you happen to have your own house just 2 miles from it, it’d be natural if your bike ride takes you there to take a look at things, maybe say hello to the builders..

9-28-2013 at 19:06:44

And Kingston, Lewes, Mr Bewick’s company address, is just a stone throw from Brighton. So is his home address. What a small world. East Sussex, the middle of the earth.

9-28-2013 at 19:58:13


Thanks for the Bewick-research. The information (incl. spelling) will be included in the next version of the summary.

9-28-2013 at 21:01:43

@Eugene your 10.53 of this morning…

Sorry to be so delayed in coming back Eugene, I’ve been otherwise engaged today.

That’s an interesting theory; your Negative Evidence. I dare say it’s maybe well known to sleuths but it’s pretty new to me. And interestingly, for it to work, it still means that you have to consider that the tyre tracks are ‘in play’…

If I’ve understood you correctly, I’m not quite sure how you get to those too big tyre tracks necessarily excluding Saad’s BMW from being parked up there in that top right-hand corner. I’m broadly agnostic on whether he has attempted the manoeuvre which all reports seem to attribute to him, as like you? I think, I’ve always had a little difficulty with the very straight wheel alignment…

The body dragging incident I’ve really got no useful thoughts on, although I know others have analysed that very carefully.


Does anybody know what sort of all terrain? 4WD the ONF use?
I too looked on their website but there appeared to be little on the operatives themselves…

9-28-2013 at 21:41:25

@partlucid, go to Google Streetview, 7 or 9 route du Moulin, you’ll see at least two. One parked in the road one inside a front garden. I do not recall who gave us the links, sorry.

@Eugene, you are assuming that all Brits ‘know’ one another. I avoid the leeches like the plague !

9-28-2013 at 21:42:55

I can still find no news of what happened to Abiodun David John.

9-28-2013 at 21:43:28

@ Partlucid

Thanks. Yes, those tire tracks have at least been useful in showing what did NOT happen. Best joke ever since JFK’s magic bullet.
I’m not sure about ONF, but since it’s a government agency, they probably mostly tend to stick to domestic vehicles, maybe Nissans too since its part of the Renault galaxy. No X5s for them..

9-28-2013 at 21:51:25

If you want to read about Christian Molliers heroic achievements in “The Aiguille du Midi cable car accident” can e.g. read here:

The Aiguille du Midi cable car accident

I have learnt through studying them a bit that these “guides de haute montagnes” are a special kind of people.

9-28-2013 at 21:51:45

Lynda, thanks I’ll try’n’ have a look!

Eugene…actually I’ve just come across some pictures of big green Hummers! bearing the ONF logo. H3/ H3T I gather. Scroll down

The wheelbase appears substantial…

9-28-2013 at 22:05:07

I’m trying (for the zillionth time) to make sense of the BM, MC1, ONF, X5, MC2 stuff. rereading relevant newsitems etc.


Quant au fameux 4 x 4 vert aperçu par certains témoins, il pourrait s’agir d’un des nombreux véhicules de l’Office national des forêts, très présents dans ce massif.


Quant au véhicule tout-terrain vert, vu par le cycliste anglais qui a découvert les corps, il est acquis qu’il s’agissait bien d’un engin de l’Office national des forêts dont le conducteur a été mis hors de cause. Ce qui intrigue bien plus les gendarmes, c’est cette moto franchissant le col de Chérel dans la soirée du drame, toujours recherchée.


« Il était environ 16 heures, c’était une grosse moto de route et son pilote n’était pas très sûr de lui car on le voyait souvent mettre pied à terre. Son engin n’était pas adapté à cette route, dégradée à cet endroit. Il y avait des sacoches accrochées de chaque côté. Je l’ai vu à 50 m environ, j’étais en train de nettoyer des planches à fromages », se souvient un éleveur qui possède un alpage au col de Chérel, dans cette région où se fabriquent des tomes réputées.

Cette moto, les gendarmes qui enquêtent sur l’exécution de trois membres de la famille britannique Al-Hilli et du cycliste Sylvain Mollier le 5 septembre dernier à Chevaline (Haute-Savoie) la recherchent toujours. Le conducteur de cette cylindrée, aperçue par l’éleveur quelques minutes après les faits, pourrait peut-être apporter un témoignage important pour l’enquête.

L’exploitant agricole, installé de longue date sur le col dont il connaît chaque recoin, a « suivi du regard un moment » cette moto qui, selon lui, « montait de la Savoie vers la Haute-Savoie ». Un sens qui ne correspondrait pas à la fuite de l’assassin car ce dernier a sans doute emprunté la piste de montagne qui part du lieu-dit du Martinet, quittant Chevaline en sens inverse. Mais la présence de cette moto, ce jour-là, à cette heure-là et toujours non identifiée, intrigue les gendarmes de la section de recherches de gendarmerie de Chambéry. Une des hypothèses envisagée est que ce deux-roues pourrait être un relais pour le tireur et les éventuels complices de la tuerie de Chevaline.

L’éleveur, qui avait déjà apporté son témoignage au début de l’enquête, a été entendu de nouveau récemment car les enquêteurs sont dans la phase de vérification de tous les éléments dont ils disposent. Et le propriétaire de cette moto ne s’est toujours pas manifesté auprès des gendarmes malgré l’appel à témoins lancé au début du mois.

**** M E L V I N *** (red. Max)
Un autre jeune pilote de moto trial aperçu le jour du drame dans les environs de Chevaline a, lui, été retrouvé depuis. Il s’agit d’un adolescent qui pilotait son engin dans la zone de réserve de chasse du massif des Bauges et qui a été mis hors de cause.


Les enquêteurs sont toujours à la recherche d’une moto aperçue ce jour-là. Le conducteur roulait non loin du lieu de la tuerie quand il a été interpellé par des agents de l’ONF (Office national des forêts). Ces derniers lui ont demandé de quitter la zone car la forêt de la Combe d’Ire abrite en partie une réserve naturelle, où la circulation est interdite.

Or un cycliste anglais aurait croisé cette même moto plus bas, quelques instants plus tard, avant de découvrir les corps des victimes. Le pilote est-il l’assassin ? Seule certitude, ce motard est passé à proximité du véhicule des Al-Hilli dans le créneau horaire du drame. En dépit des appels à témoins, il ne s’est toujours pas manifesté.


Quels sont les véhicules recherchés?

Le 4×4 de couleur sombre, qui avait été vu par le cycliste britannique ayant découvert la tuerie, appartiendrait à des agents de l’Office national des forêts (ONF). Un doute subsiste cependant, les agents en question n’ayant pas souvenir d’avoir croisé un cycliste sur leur route.

Une moto “blanche ou de couleur claire” est par ailleurs recherchée mais les enquêteurs ne connaissent ni sa marque ni son modèle. Les témoignages divergent sur sa description, certains évoquant de grosses sacoches, d’autres un top-case. Cette moto, qui s’était aventurée sur des sentiers forestiers, “avait été reconduite dans le chemin de la combe d’Ire par des agents de l’ONF”, a indiqué le procureur. Son conducteur n’a jamais été retrouvé malgré les appels à témoins.


The X5 surfaces!

9-28-2013 at 22:09:48


That’s a hefty post Max; it’s almost as chunky as an ONF Hummer…
I’ll come to it in a bit…

9-28-2013 at 23:22:30

@Max 9-28-2013 at 22:05:07

“Les enquêteurs sont toujours à la recherche d’une moto aperçue ce jour-là. Le conducteur roulait non loin du lieu de la tuerie quand il a été interpellé par des agents de l’ONF (Office national des forêts). Ces derniers lui ont demandé de quitter la zone car la forêt de la Combe d’Ire abrite en partie une réserve naturelle, où la circulation est interdite. Or un cycliste anglais aurait croisé cette même moto plus bas, quelques instants plus tard, avant de découvrir les corps des victimes. Le pilote est-il l’assassin ? Seule certitude, ce motard est passé à proximité du véhicule des Al-Hilli dans le créneau horaire du drame. En dépit des appels à témoins, il ne s’est toujours pas manifesté.”

>>> Les agents de l’ONF ne connaissent ni la marque, ni le modèle de la moto.

9-29-2013 at 00:11:19

@Lars 9-26-2013 at 09:19:29

Toutes les informations que nous avons sont connus des enquêteurs et cela n’a pas permis de résoudre cette triste affaire.

Il faut de nouvelles idées comme celle de @Rashomon

Voici la mienne basée sur genesis 19:17

Les criminels étaient 2 (2 anges) . Ils ont épargné et laissé partir PB et les 2 femmes (Loth et ses 2 filles). PB (4X4) redescend vers Chevaline (Zoar) et croise BM …


9-29-2013 at 00:23:38


So we have…..

The BMW 4×4 driver that passed Martin at 15.20hrs and again at 15.25hrs.

The Motorbike rider that passed Martin at “later than 15.25hrs”.

And the motorbike rider (with big saddlebags) on the Col at 16.00hrs

….ALL of whom have not (it is reported) come forward with a statement or declaration as to “who they are” to the police.

BUT what the hell.
We’ll ignore them…and concentrate on the 4×4 BMW that could not have been involved in the shooting !!!!!!

One word to the French. “unprofessional”

Work with a French pilot…and you soon get what France is all about.
It is little wonder that the French (in my profession) seldom get the good jobs.
“Lazy”, “over unionised”, “think everything is unfair” and “lack professional ability”.

Sorry…but it’s true. And “true” of their police force.

9-29-2013 at 00:28:03

…and the “crime scene” turned into a joke.

9-29-2013 at 00:36:19

@ partlucid, 9-28-2013 at 21:51:45

If the words “tuning photomontage” and “Tuning virtuel” have not given away the game there, then the lousy Photoshopping should have done so (a low-res ONF logo slapped on the slightly higher-res image of an entry-level pimpmobile).

Still, the image made me chuckle, as it reminded me of that ole, ole ONF anthem:
I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK
I sleep all night and I work all day
(He’s a lumberjack and he’s OK
He sleeps all night and he works all day)
I cut down trees, I eat my lunch
I go to the lavat’ry
On Wednesdays I go shopping
And have buttered scones for tea
(He cuts down trees…)
(He’s a lumberjack…)
I cut down trees, I skip and jump
I love to press wild flow’rs
I put on women’s clothing
And hang around in bars
(He cuts down trees…)
(He’s a lumberjack…)
I cut down trees, I wear high heels
Suspenders and a bra
I wish I’d been a girlie
Just like my dear mama
(He cuts down trees…)
(He’s a lumberjack…)

9-29-2013 at 00:43:45

@ Bacchus 9-28-2013 at 23:22:30


Thanks – you found the quote I was looking for :-

“Les agents de l’ONF ne connaissent ni la marque, ni le modèle de la moto.”

“Les agents” plural.

9-29-2013 at 01:14:51

@ partlucid 9-28-2013 at 21:01:43

Try the link below for the ONF 4WD. Click on the photo for a larger image. I was going to suggest that we have a ‘caption competition’ but I couldn’t think of anything that wouldn’t get me banned!

As an aside, seen briefly from a distance with dappled sunlight, I could see how that vehicle could be mistaken for an X5.

I think I have a picture squirelled away of the ONF vehicle taken during the reconstruction. I shall have a look for it tomorrow.

9-29-2013 at 01:24:56

The april 2013 stuff (X5 etc)


Les enquêteurs avaient eu rapidement connaissance de ce 4 x 4 roulant vite et ayant failli percuter un autre véhicule dans le village de Chevaline. Mais ce témoignage, évoquant un conducteur « brun », était jugé trop imprécis car recueilli sous le coup de l’émotion. Il a donc laissé les enquêteurs circonspects jusqu’à ce qu’une autre personne évoque à son tour ce tout-terrain blanc circulant à vive allure. Ce nouveau témoin, un agent de l’Office national des forêts (ONF), a assuré avoir croisé ce qu’il a décrit comme étant un modèle de type X5 de la marque allemande. Une voiture au gabarit inhabituel sur les routes étroites de Chevaline. Les deux hommes qui ont découvert la tuerie, un cycliste britannique et un randonneur français qui circulaient un peu avant 16 heures sur la route de la combe d’Ire, n’ont pas croisé cette voiture.


Près de huit mois après le début de l’enquête, la gendarmerie explique, dans un communiqué, qu’elle cherche à entrer en contact avec «le propriétaire d’un 4×4, avec conduite à droite, possiblement un BMW X5 de couleur grise (ou toute couleur foncée pouvant s’y apparenter) qui a été vu circulant le long de la Combe d’Ire», à Chevaline le 5 septembre 2012, jour du crime, «entre 15H15 et 15H30».


Le 4×4 vert décrit par un témoin a ainsi été identifié comme un véhicule de fonction de l’ONF et son conducteur a été interrogé. “Aujourd’hui, il ne reste plus que deux véhicules non identifiés : la moto de couleur claire aperçue dans la montagne, au dessus de la place du Martinet et ce 4×4 noir ou gris, sans doute britannique puisque le volant était à droite.”
Une moto et une voiture dont les conducteurs étaient sans doute présents à proximité du lieu de la tuerie, au moment ou la famille al-Hilli et le cycliste Sylvain Mollier ont été abattus et qui pourraient détenir des informations capitales pour l’avancée de l’enquête. “Ce travail de recoupement et de tri, sur le types de véhicules aperçus, les lieux où ils ont été vus et les horaires, était vraiment nécessaire pour parvenir à ce résultat et resserrer les investigations avant de faire appel à la population” conclut le procureur Maillaud.


**BACK TO 05-09-2012 (17:25!!)

Des habitants auraient vu un véhicule quitter le village à vive allure en fin d’après-midi


Un témoin assure avoir croisé une voiture blanche suspecte

Une jeune femme s’est confiée à des journalistes de BFMTV. Elle dit avoir évité de justesse une voiture blanche, hier vers 16h, près de la scène du crime. «Juste au niveau de Chevaline, il y a un virage qui est très dangereux et il y a une personne qui est arrivée en face. Il a pris le virage très très vite donc il s’est carrement déporté, il est venu sur moi et je l’ai évité de justesse. Il était en panique complet, on avait l’impression qu’il ne maitrisait plus du tout son véhicule, une voiture blanche, genre 206 ou 306. J’ai vu qu’il y avait un monsieur brun (…) une chemise noir ou un polo noir”, a-t-elle déclaré.


Les enquêteurs continuent de creuser la piste d’un 4×4 vert et d’une moto qui auraient été vus par plusieurs témoins après les assassinats. Un témoin a raconté par ailleurs avoir croisé une voiture blanche “un peu folle”, sur une route non loin du lieu du massacre, peu après l’heure estimée du crime. Cet homme, qui n’a pas souhaité donner son identité, s’est ensuite présenté devant les gendarmes présents à Chevaline non loin de la scène du crime pour leur livrer son témoignage.

9-29-2013 at 01:38:06

@ James 9-29-2013 at 00:23:38

James, I always want to support the underdog and if you carry on in that vein, I shall be forced to defend the French.

Please don’t make me go there.

9-29-2013 at 01:44:24

Re 4×4, motorbikes, BMW X5, etc.

I have put all quotes together in 1 post, ordered by date. (I might add more quotes if relevant)×4-vert-the-motorbikes-the-rhd-bmw-x5-etc/

– M

9-29-2013 at 07:12:30

In one early newspaper report I thought it was the Times but I cant find it, it said that Leila Lamnaoeur had been close enough to the crime scene to see bullet casings, at the time I thought it odd that she had not published any photos being the first journalist on the scene and then thought maybe they were confiscated or the paper had made a translation error about that point.
It it was correct then she could be the women who stayed in the car.

9-29-2013 at 07:57:33

@Peter your 00.36

As ever Peter, I’m grateful for your vastly wider grasp of matters technical and computer-related…the Lumberjack song made me laugh too…

…however I don’t have the UK police putting out a mistaken Crimewatch appeal for witnesses to Saad’s BMW, which they have in their own pound…


Thanks Rashomon, that was very helpful; clearly your perusal of the ONF pages were more fruitful than mine. I did actually have better success with a google search for “vehicules ONF”


and it’s clear that they have a range of vehicles for different jobs. My interest in this currently is to look for a match with those heavy arcing tracks – as seen on the overhead photos. I know this is a flimsy exercise on one level because it’s probably very difficult for us to confirm that they pertain to the crime. My simple paper template definitely rules out Saad’s BMW 525, and actually the ‘X5’ as well! which has caused me to take this stroll in amongst the fleet of the ONF…

And although I haven’t finalised my arithmetic yet (the tracks are nigh-on one sixth bigger than the 525) I can’t help wondering whether they might have been made by one of the much heavier? emergency vehicles braking into the lay-by to administer first aid presumably. Doubtless that thought will already have been issued previously…

9-29-2013 at 09:16:03

Good Morning! Guten Morgen! God morgon! Bon jour!


Je suis d’accord, nous avons besoin des informations supplémentaires.
Deux anges? Ange exterminateur ou ange de la vengeance?

9-29-2013 at 10:03:22



….mais Chevaline (Tsoar) n’est pas épargnée, n’est-ce pas?

9-29-2013 at 10:12:55

I guess that the plain of Jordan is then the valleys of Haute Savoie.

The question is though where are Sodom and Gomorrah, is it Annecy and Chamonix?

9-29-2013 at 11:38:24

@ Lars @ All

I’ve always been quite puzzled by the mysterious 15:15 pictures of the Al-Hillis. Not only because they were never published (even after blurring out the children’s face), but also by something else: that house we’re being told they used as background certainly looks nice, but not to the point of making it a “must see” for a photo album. I’m quite sure lots of other houses in the close vicinity must look even much more picturesque.
On the other hand, the location, at the corner of route de la Poste, would make it a perfect spot for an appointment. And if you don’t feel like making it obvious you’re expecting someone, what better cover for foreign visitors than to pretend you’re taking souvenir pictures? Quite natural.
Also, starting from there, if you just follow route de la Poste for only 1 mile, where do you end up? In Lathuile, exactly by the backyard of WBM’s property. A 2 minutes bike ride. It must be a coincidence, another coincidence.

9-29-2013 at 12:46:42

The Jill Dando (UK Crimewatch presenter) murder in Fulham, London.
Her killer is still at large.

Again the police were “only” interested in “nailing” their key suspect.
He was eventually jailed…and then released after serving several years.

The “evidence” was amazingly flimsy.
And yet the police focused their attention on this.

Key to the case was “forensics”.
However with the two officers that rushed to her aid…along with the paramedics….what “forensics” were eventually left ? None.

As so to Chevaline.

Martin, Bossy, The emergency services, the police, the journalists.
By 16.30 there would be no point in calling forensics !

But a finger tip search may provide clues to the killer.
….so they opened the crime scene…and sent up a road sweeper !

Maybe they going to rely on seeking the public help in tracing “likely suspects”.
….a messgae for “help trace this car” was sent out in 8 months later !

Maybe this person saw something ? I doubt they were the killer(s).
But what about the search for the TWO motorbikes.
What have the police told us of that ?

You can see why “The Investigation” is focused on Zaid Al Hilli !
Over a year later…..and they can’t make anything “stick” on anyone.

The “back to the start” approach may throw up something !
Something that they had missed….whilst they were concentrating elsewhere.

9-29-2013 at 13:30:51

@Eugene re:picturesque

Well, we have discussed earlier if Le Martinet is a beauty spot. To me it is just a small lay-by in the forest, but then I have several similar lay-by:s close to where I live.

I find the house quite picturesque, but then I like plants and flowers. I can’t see what kind of climbing plants there are on the house, I guess some are ivy, but there could also be plants with big flowers like wisteria. If you also look at the photos from the surroundings you see more flowers and the here quite calm stream Ire.

We have to ask Alex if there are other beautiful houses in Chevaline/Doussard.

Yes, that is true. If Brett-Martin went to Route Forestiere via Route du Moulin he probably passed that corner.


I think the photo of the road sweeper is emblematic. It signifies the French police sweeping the proofs under the rug. 😉

9-29-2013 at 13:35:09

The Dando prosecution was an utterly shameless episode. I did have some sympathy for the police given that the media pressure and public glare would’ve been unrelenting, but to ‘build a case’ against such an obviously innocent party was unforgivable in my view…

I can only think that – judging by the reputation-saving puff which appeared in the Guardian following the verdict – the defence must have made a right Horlicks of the trial.

…and even worse, Chief Inspector Campbell was soon promoted thereafter to Chief Super…

Dreadful all round.

9-29-2013 at 13:36:20


Back to start? I would start with the ‘LR 2 SM’ phone call, dig into this, wouldn’t hurt anyone imho.

EM also stated that perhaps they needed some luck … now the ‘LR 2 SM’ phonecall came out of nowhere (I assuming this). But perhaps EM’s problem is that he can’t see luck when it dangles in front of him:)

– M

9-29-2013 at 14:25:08


A shot of the road sweeper entering the route Combe D’Ire..and chugging up it.
A voice over of Eric saying “it may not be zolved in zee ten years”

Then “looney Tunes” playing as Bugs Bunny says “That’s all folks” !

9-29-2013 at 14:36:35

@ James @ Max

I’m afraid there’s no plan for anyone to go “back to the start” on the Clouseau team. Once again, it’s a case of meaning “lost in translation”.
Remember? “We’re looking for the killer, but we can’t find his mobile”..

9-29-2013 at 14:40:00


False leads and false trails.

1. The “family feud” leading to Zaid Al Hilli….who wasn’t there.
2. The BMW 4×4 …..that also wasn’t there.

Mollier would be a very good starting point.

He wasn’t lost. He was where (where ish) he should be….
And at the time he should be.

He rides “everyday”. This day was no different. In fact better than most.
A quiet Wednesday afternoon at the end of the summer season.

9-29-2013 at 15:00:57


2. Crimewatch says otherwise James…

….but each to their own, of course…

9-29-2013 at 15:19:42

Hello everybody.This is Celeste.

I see that the mice are behaving themselves while the big cat is away. I will tell the big cat that she need not send in a man with a Luger because she does not have a ‘mobile’ to do so.

9-29-2013 at 15:40:52


Crimewatch said 20mins before the 15.40 shooting…
….and 2km from the car park.

That makes it 15.20.

Martin “said” (made it sound) it passed him as he was half way up.
I presume he arrived AFTER the shooting….
….and 1.5km from the car park

That makes it 15.25.

And that’s if you ONLY passed Martin ONCE (on the way down !)

How then could the BMW 4×4 be involved in the actual shooting ?
The Time/Space vortex of Annecy ?

9-29-2013 at 15:41:14

@partlucid, A great deal of ‘faith’ (Eugene, won’t be happy) is placed on this one event (Crimewatch).

@James, I have long said that Mollier was where HE had planned to be…

The house is covered in what I call VINE IVY, my last house had an inner courtyard with this over the old walls.

There were other photos taken outside typical chalets and farmhouses, the 15:15 timestamp being the last.

@Max and Lars, appreciate the links and order, so Sylvies 206/306, came forward, I suspect the motorcycle did to.

By the way, I wondered if it was Melvin who saw the dark 4×4, going by the statement that the gendarmes were aware of ‘it’ within hours of the crime, it can’t be him, because when he first started spouting off it was to the press and he HADN’T been interviewed by the authorities.

9-29-2013 at 15:52:28

Put it another way….

The police say that Al Hilli was in Arnand at 15.15.
Crimewatch say the shootings were at 15.40 approx.
Martin says it a 30 minute climb up The Combe D’Ire
Crimewatch say that the 4×4 BMW was sighted at 15.20
Martin says it passed him at the mid point of the climb.

And that is just taking the “official” figures !
….and with the “inference” that the 4×4 was only sighted ONCE, on it’s way DOWN.

According to those timings…are they saying that the 4×4 BMW has something to do with the murders….BEFORE they happened ??? And yet they are claiming that Al Hilli was “the target” ?

Pure BS on their part I’m afraid.

9-29-2013 at 15:55:35

Finally satisfied that I’ve found the quote from the Press Conference of the 6th September:

“commission d’enquete, qui devait s’achever le 21 septembre, reconduite pour un an”

inquiry, which was to end on September 21 renewed for one year

Vinnemann had also indicated that at least another year required to translate all the documents in their possession.

9-29-2013 at 16:00:06

Hi heavenly,

Well, if Marilyn doesn’t have a “mobile”, she can just sell phone then.

9-29-2013 at 17:06:36
9-29-2013 at 17:36:15

I’m still adding to the deadzone article on the vehicles.

9-29-2013 at 17:56:00


On the question of timings, I think it’s probably difficult for us to ‘prove’ or disprove much in the case, because the reports we have are really pretty sketchy. In my view it’s wise to allow considerable tolerance in this area.


Personally I wouldn’t equate a declaration, that there was an ‘X5’ around the crime scene, by the UK police investigating the crime…with an act of faith. That would rank fair-ly highly on my truth-o-meter, although still below Maillaud’s released details from Zainab’s testimony, for example…

As to the part where I propose that the ‘X5’ is the same vehicle as BM saw departing the crime scene…well that I concede is more speculative…

….although just how many right-hand drive vehicles were out on that road that day…?

I thought the announced one year ‘extension’ to the case pretty ominous really, as was Maillaud’s “we need something that will stand up in court”..

9-29-2013 at 19:00:40

Re: ‘ill gotten gains’

Oops! 🙂 Did I forget some cash in Moscow this time. I have wondered where it was. I thought I might have forgotten it at 7-Eleven. 🙂

9-29-2013 at 19:07:48


So we have heavenly joy here at the MZT-blog!

Fits nicely with Bacchus angels (ange) above, but I guess you are more of the guardian angel type, and his angels might be more sinister.

9-29-2013 at 20:18:50

@Partlucid, I also originally thought, its been on Crimewatch it must be true.

Now, I’m not so sure, as for EM and Zainabs account, I’m inclined to believe what has been said to be true, it is attributable to someone, he didn’t have to say anything.

Tks Max, will look in later, already saw your earlier stuff, very well put together and easy to follow.

The foliage on the house, probably better known as Virginia Creeper ….the house looks pretty with the Ire running beside it.

9-29-2013 at 20:44:19

@ James 9-29-2013 at 15:52:28

James, you wrote:-

“According to those timings…are they saying that the 4×4 BMW has something to do with the murders….BEFORE they happened ??? And yet they are claiming that Al Hilli was “the target” ?”

Theories are your flexible friends, here is one I made earlier. The drive-in walk-out theory. Shooter is too lazy to walk all that way up there so he gets a lift!

I have advocated a mistaken identity at the heart of this given the combos of people, cars and bikes. However I still think that the SAH party as primary target is still in play. In fact you could argue that a murderer hiding in the culvert by the barrier, or behind the sign on the hairpin, should have plenty of time to confirm that they had the right people in their sights.

9-29-2013 at 22:22:43

The Crimewatch X5 space-time coordinate is very precise, 15h20, 2 kms from Martinet.

The 14-04 LP article informs us that a ONF witness called a ‘X5 type’
The 30-04 Francetvinfo article mentions a ‘temoin fiable’ (prolly this ONF), and adding the RHD bit

So, it was the ONF who called the X5 RHD

The SAME ONF who was seen driving down Route Forestiere (RF) in his 4×4 ‘vert’ some minutes later by BM

Above is probably correct unless BM is lying

I don’t know who was MC1 (but my guess is that it could have been Melvin)
I don’t know what to think of MC2 (Col de Cherel)
I don’t know what to think of the X5??

Did ONF mistake SAH for X5? Did he invent it? Or does the X5 really exist, in which case it was practically on top of SAH, and why, in that case did the ONF NOT see SAH (and SM)??

Because, by his own account, ONF places himself on RF, 15h20, 2 kms from Martinet. And by BM’s account ONF was still on RF around 1530-35 or so … but SAH was 1515 still in Arnand, so ONF should have spotted SAH coming up the RF. But was did ONF see?? Not SAH but ‘a shiny X5’

Does it even exist?

– M

9-29-2013 at 22:36:39

Before I forget. I have to note a very interesting ‘weird’ detail! In the previous post I explain that the X5 caller is very probably ONF. And that the same ONF was seen by BM a bit later. No problem

But in the 29-10 RTL article there is this strange mentioning:

‘Le 4×4 de couleur sombre, qui avait été vu par le cycliste britannique ayant découvert la tuerie, appartiendrait à des agents de l’Office national des forêts (ONF). Un doute subsiste cependant, les agents en question n’ayant pas souvenir d’avoir croisé un cycliste sur leur route.’

Why does/did this ONF (these ONF, plural?) not remember BM??

The ONF is ‘weird’. Does not spot SAH or SM, does not spot BM which he practically had run over … but he does remember a X5 RHD (and he directed a motorbiker back to the road)

– M

9-29-2013 at 23:29:40


Thanks for pulling all these X5 related references together for us. I would like to say that it has clarified things for me, but actually it has highlighted some issues.

I guess that the police came to recognise this too, which is why the Crimewatch appeal was eventually launched.

9-29-2013 at 23:40:48


Sodom and Gomorrah are the current world.

À la Genèse on lui fait dire ce qu’il nous plaît. Moi ça m’a plu de dire qu’il y avait 2 criminels et qu’ils ont épargné PB et les 2 femmes. Mais peut-être que c’était PB et les 2 femmes qui étaient la cible (@Rashomon).

Avez-vous dejá lu le livre de Anne Bossy ?

J’espère que le Lt.Col. Vinnemann l’a lu. Qui sait s’il n’y a pas une histoire qui ressemble à celle de Chevaline ?.


9-29-2013 at 23:58:23


“On the question of timings, I think it’s probably difficult for us to ‘prove’ or disprove much in the case, because the reports we have are really pretty sketchy. In my view it’s wise to allow considerable tolerance in this area”

Those timings are from what Martin indicated in his interview…AND from the press releases given by the police.

They are not “reports” from newspapers !
That’s a whole different ball game.

So you therefore are saying “nothing is true, lets just make it up” ?

9-30-2013 at 00:29:19

Having another go at it (seeing the dz61 vehicle article)

Assuming ONF is implicated in the killing

fact: ONF comes forward later (after hearing about the massacre)
very probable fact: ONF knows he is been seen close to Martinet (by BM)

ONF puts up his defence, because he has no alibi … and thus:

ONF tries to undermine BM’s account by saying ‘he can not remember seeing a biker’ … of course ONF tries to get out of the ‘being seen by BM’ situation

ONF ‘invents’ the RHD BMW X5 … to have a 2nd way to get out the ‘ONF is implicated’ situation

In short: I still think the X5 does not exist. It is an ‘invention’ by ONF, because the ONF is implicated.

– M

9-30-2013 at 02:58:08

@Max 9-30-2013 at 00:29:19


I cannot see the ONF agents being implicated in contract killing. However I could see them occasionally robbing people up there who are very unlikely to report to the police that they were robbed (drugs, dogging, prostitution etc). Such could be seen as ‘fines’ for despoiling le foret with their immorality.

If they only stole cash and gold rings etc, so there was no credit card trail, it would be low risk.

All they would need would be a gun, a mask and some overalls. One guy could be dropped off above Martinet and the vehicle drives off to a prearranged meeting point, from there they could get onto the interdit roads and then they would be in the clear.

Maybe they have cheap and cheerfull kids walkie-talkies. Low power would be good because less chance of being listened in on. The valley would help with that.

If they were ever questioned they would say that they were both in the vehicle trying to catch a motorcyclist who was on the forbidden trails. “Hey, it must have been him who did the robbery!”

However, why would it turn into a massacre of unarmed innocents? Even if it went pear shaped, all that any such robber would need to do would be to run off through the woods. Just fire into the air to deter pursuit.

9-30-2013 at 08:55:40

Good Morning all!


Nice find. I would very much like to read ‘Les Grandes Affaires Criminelles de Savoie’ by Anne-Marie Bossy, as well as ‘Meurtre au sommet’ by José Giovanni.

9-30-2013 at 09:03:36

Hello to everyone. Marilyn is going to kill me for not saying good morning in the mornings or goodnight at night. (No, she is not Killer X.)

Marilyn will still not be here this week, but I tell her every day about the comments.

In six days it will be 1 year and 1 month that this murdering happened.

9-30-2013 at 09:41:24


“I don’t know who was MC1 (but my guess is that it could have been Melvin)
I don’t know what to think of MC2 (Col de Cherel)
I don’t know what to think of the X5??”

The more you look…the less it makes sense.

I don’t believe it is a local “Mr Muscle” who has planned to “take out” a few bags of “charlie” and the dealers “dinner money”…and has got a lift from a mate in his UK plated “pimp machine”. (But then again, mad things happen).

I am more on the side of…
A. Mollier was the target for reasons unknown or
B. This crime is linked to other crimes (and is of a “serial” nature).

Due to the lack of “forensics”, which has been largely destroyed in the initial phase of this crime (the rescue) and further “evidence” that may have been available for collection has been “hoovered up”… the police have little to go on.

9-30-2013 at 10:17:24

@James re ‘The more you look…the less it makes sense.’

I agree

… but perhaps the ‘makes no sense’ is actually a good thing. Because perhaps the ‘makes no sense’ is the result of somebody telling lies/tweaking the story. So perhaps by trial and error we can find out WHO is the one telling lies.

So we could work like:

EM=lying, others speak the truth
BM=lying, others speak the truth
PD=lying, others speak the truth
ONF=lying, others speak the truth
TS/CS=lying, others speak the truth
LR=lying, others speak the truth
Combinations of above …
etc, etc …

Problem is always that we (the public) do not have all the info that EM has. So we have to ‘fill in the blanks’ … and than it could become pure speculation.

But still, imho, it IS possibly to point to someone who is MOST LIKELY to be the liar (and from there you could muse about the motive and X)

– M

9-30-2013 at 10:19:25

@Bacchus, PB was late.

The question is would SM and PB have known one another ?

@Max, if you read what has been said, the Inquiry Team knew about the mysterious 4×4 within hours of the murders.

They (ONF) apparently didn’t come forward for some time, unless of course this is a ruse and they had, which is why EM was able to write off the vehicle as being one of theirs so quickly.

The MC1, must have been identified, since it no longer features on the ‘wanted’ list. Maybe like Sylvies white 206/306, the rider came forward.

The word being used to describe the vehicle is that it ‘disappeared’, that is an optical illusion worthy of David Copperfield !

I wonder if all the garages and barns in Chevaline, Arnand have been checked out ? Upwards to the Marceau’s and on to Lathuile …… you don’t have to go through Doussard, take a look at the map.

9-30-2013 at 10:22:08


As I understand it, “20 minutes before the shootings” is a very imprecise time because the police reportedly have calculated a 4-6? minute window for the gunman to do his ugly work. So even with all the information that they have – mobile phone stuff, witness testimonies, the photographs, car computer data? and the timings from reconstructions – there’s still seems to be a considerable slack in the timeline. Thus, attempting to rule anything in or out, by a relatively narrow margin, simply won’t work in my view…

Incidentally, I thought Eugene made an intriguing proposal yesterday that BM might conceivably have passed by the Al Hilli’s as they were taking their photographs at the ‘vine house’…but as with so much, we’ve got zero chance of confirming that…

….and equally your own earlier timings point about SM perhaps being at Le Martinet BEFORE the Al-Hillis was potentially interesting, I thought…but it would need a fairly accurate understanding of SM’s timeline, and I’m not sure we have that…?

9-30-2013 at 10:43:28

@Lynda, re ‘first few hours’

BM states he saw a 4×4 … EM puts out the word instantly, the 4×4 ‘vert’

Now this 4×4 ‘vert’ appears to be the ONF (later on, after a few days) … EM deems the ONF ‘fiable’

This ONF in his turn comes up with the X5

So what can we make of the ‘first few hours’?????

It should be ‘after a few DAYS’ … or EM is playing tricks!!


– M

9-30-2013 at 11:10:09

It should by now be obvious that the “official’ timeline is inconsistent. None of us, a year on, has found a way to reconcile the various testimonies. So someone must be either lying or at least “withholding the truth”. The next step is to find out who this is.
Otherwise, better call it quits and just wait for EM’s further reports of closing doors. For another nine years.
In any case, the gremlins/trolls shield hasn’t been effective at all here, they certainly can’t expect any compensation for work done.

9-30-2013 at 11:15:22


As mentioned earlier, I do have a scenario whereby the Crimewatch information is unreliable…and that would be where, contrary to Maillaud’s assertions, the ‘joint project’ between the French and UK police is actually a shambles and the appeal has simply been put out in a slipshod and under-researched fashion to preserve the spirit of co-operation. In truth, I consider that only slightly more likely than the investigators ineptly accepting false testimonies, or misidentifying Saad’s BMW…
I would expect the programme to have a little more integrity than that.

….and having now watched the appeal again (thanks Lars) one further thing has become clear to me, which I’d slightly lost sight of…

The broadcast is NOT an appeal aimed at the driver of the ‘X5’ to come forward and eliminate himself from the inquiry, as both Peter and myself thought possible. At the end the presenter specifically asks for anyone who was in the area to come forward if they’ve seen such a car…

….and that would echo the words I put up from DS May who was particularly hoping for sightings from tourists who might’ve also found their way into Chevaline or Doussard…

A jackpot result from such an appeal would have been if somebody had noticed such an ‘X5’ parked up around the campsite, for example…

And finally, has the ‘white’ motor bike really been dropped from a list of “things unaccounted for”…?

9-30-2013 at 11:26:32


“…..there’s still seems to be a considerable slack in the timeline”

Kind of, but not so. (unless as Max states “find the liar”).

You see we do have basic times. And geography. And physical abilities.
Excel really is a better friend than google, sometimes !

I’ll tell more later if I get chance.
But we know the Combe D’Ire is 3kms long. And we know the gradient.
We can estimate “average times possible”.
If we take the Arnand pictures as “truth” (are they ?) then estimates are possible.

The two “times” you can consider are 15.48 and 15.15
Martin can not arrive after 15.48. Nor can he arrive outside 15.15.
These are your “absolutes”

From there add in your potential “waypoints”.
They being “midway” and 15.20 / 15.25

Alter those “waypoints” to produce variants…but do not exceed your “absolutes”.

And what you find is important.

9-30-2013 at 11:35:54


I look forward to your further elucidations…although I think you would do well to bear in mind that seemingly nobody was ‘on the clock’ that afternoon, and the distances appear equally unmeasured…

…but you do have my attention, for what that’s worth…

9-30-2013 at 11:49:11

@Lynda and others

….or tailing Sylvain Mollier on one of his daily? runs; if you’re of that persuasion…

9-30-2013 at 12:03:11

@Rashomon your 2.58 of yesterday

R do you really have the ONF down as a bunch of ‘moral pirates’ who might pick off the odd miscreant who strays onto their patch…?

I had wondered about the culture of their organisation, and indeed some of our number do I think implicate them in the crime…but it seems quite a leap to turn what appear to be everyday woodland folk – with a probably very green agenda – into privately and criminally! profiteering ne’er-do-wells…

Any instances of ‘illegal logging’ scams for example..?

9-30-2013 at 12:26:04


Who’s listening to me ? Who cares.
I’m doing this because I hate it when “the news” tells me what I should and shouldn’t believe.

Marilyn kindly allows like minded people to “bounce” ideas around.

For my part, I am interested in “when Mollier arrived” in relation to “when the Al Hilli family” arrived. Someone or something triggered this shooting.

The Al Hilli family “could” have been at that car park for hours.
It’s only the Arnand photos (if they are “right” and “real”) that claim they were there at 15.15

And the 15.48 (if that was indeed “the call”) tells us that the murder had ended.

So how soon before 15.48 did Mollier arrive ?
Clearly there is “Martin and Bossy time” to be deducted….but from there you can “play around” with Molliers hill climb times, until you hit other “relevant” times.

The other thing about “times” is…
How long did it take for Martin to get down the climb…and the emergency services to pass ?
We know Bossy “had a go”. Did Bossy then let him into his car ?
Did they all wait near by ?

How did Martin…covered in blood, sweating and “on edge”…explain to Bossy “in bad French” that he didn’t do it.

9-30-2013 at 12:32:54


I am merely thinking along the following line:

ONF transported X to Martinet. X wanted to ‘deal with’ SM. Threatening perhaps or even killing him by faking an accident. Whatever. But … things got out of hand. X killed SM, but the unforeseen SAH made it so that the whole thing evolved into a big massacre, perhaps due to a trigger happy and panicking X.

Now ONF has a problem. What was to be a ‘SM accident to be discovered later’ became a ‘massacre with half of Europe watching’. And … ONF was seen by BM, was called out by EM (4×4 ‘vert’ anyone) so he HAD TO come forward. And he had to come forward with ‘a good story’

… enter ‘the X5 story’

– M

9-30-2013 at 13:04:10

People and their cars

Bossy is a ‘guide de haute montange’, i.e. a mountain guide, who often goes on ‘outings’/expeditions with his clients. They often start from some place with their private cars and go to the place where the hiking will begin (like Le Martinet).

Bossy has to transport a lot of equpiment for an outing that may last a couple of days.

So what kind of car is Bossy driving at these expeditions? A Morris Minor?
Hardly, probably a big 4X4 of some kind.

9-30-2013 at 13:19:00

@Eugene your 11.10 of this morning

It should by now be obvious that the “official’ timeline is inconsistent. None of us, a year on, has found a way to reconcile the various testimonies – See more at:

Eugene I’m sorry but I find myself puzzling over this a little. Perhaps I’m being unusually obtuse, even by my standards…!

There are the two fixed timepoints at either end of the murders: the 15.15 and the 15.48 (and I take full cognisance that some people dispute these)…and then there is primarily Brett Martin’s testimony…with additional contributions from Bossy? and the shady? ONF man who’s only ever surfaced in reports I believe…and then I s’pose the builders?

I’ve confessed already that I’m no devout follower of timelines, but I can’t quite see that the Official Timeline is so decisively unconvincing…

9-30-2013 at 14:45:06

@Partlucid, the motorbike that is still on the ‘wanted’ list is the one seen on the Col-de-Cherel, so assume that Brett Martins motorbike has been identified.

Whilst you have picked up ‘white’ in the British Press, French Press and EM referred to it as ‘clair’, light coloured, that could be silver, I suppose.

9-30-2013 at 15:09:17

@ Lynda

Ah…so you’re persuaded that those ‘two’ bikes are not one and the same…?
(I know there’s a timing difficulty around Janin’s statement)

….Martin would obviously have been shown Melvin on HIS bike, for example, with a view to eliminating him…

….and perhaps even some of Claude Antoine’s ‘locals’ as well…

9-30-2013 at 15:32:21

@Partlucid, a long time ago I pondered whether the one seen by Brett Martin left the Combe and speeded around to Jarsy, Precherel and up to the Col, being seen by Janin at 16:00.

The ONF apparently gave a time stamp of 15:15 above Le Martinet to when it shooed off the bike they can’t identify, back to the autorised section of road.

Melvin didn’t leave the area until he heard sirens, so that is much nearer 16:00 and then he knew how to get away without being seen.

BM reports that the motorbike rider wore a helmet, so no chance of identifying a person, I suppose.

9-30-2013 at 16:08:22


“….but I can’t quite see that the Official Timeline is so decisively unconvincing”.

It is…. mainly because there isn’t one “as such”.

Firstly Martin gave an interview. It isn’t testimony. It therefore doesn’t have to contain all the relevant “facts”. He is not under oath.

Secondly Martin gives the vaguest of timelines. That being, midway he was past by a large 4×4 vehicle…and then later a motorbike.

The question(s) therefore is simple….but bizarre.
Who was where, when.

Did the 4×4 leave the car park before the Al Hilli family arrived ?
Did the motorbike leave the car park before the Al Hilli family arrived ?
When did Mollier arrive ?
When did the Al Hilli family arrive ?

Let us assume that Martin was indeed passed by the 4×4 BMW a second time.
And it’s direction of travel was down hill. Lets assume that this was at 15.25.
Let’s further assume that Al Hilli head upwards past Martin after this event.

Now do you think the 4×4 BMW was involved ?
Those timings could well apply. They are not beyond reason.

We merely assume that the 4×4 past Martin coming down from the car park….and Martin entered it to find this massacre.
The timings matter.

…and as it is highly likely that Martin was passed by Al Hilli, he (and the police) would know this.

Maybe that is why the “public appeal” took so long.

The 16.00 sighting of a motorbike on the Col would therefore have more relevance to this massacre than the 4×4 BMW would it not.

9-30-2013 at 16:45:39

@ James

Thanks for correcting me. You’re right: the “official timeline” doesn’t even have to be inconsistent, because it doesn’t exist, as far as we know. It is only suggested by the few clues made public, and those just don’t add up.
As Max would say, it doesn’t FIT.

@ Partlucid

But this is only the way some of us look at things. I would certainly never question your beliefs. You can easily call these inconsistencies “timing difficulties”, just like the white X5 can be a “light” shade of gray.

9-30-2013 at 16:51:54

@ Lynda

So the next question is: did the gentle giant wear a full helmet, did he have a topcase or side-bags on his trial bike, etc..

9-30-2013 at 18:35:59

@Lynda your 15.32

I haven’t had time yet to look at a map to consider that route you speculated on for the biker. As mentioned previously, my antennae pricked up big-time when I came across that press report stating (if my French was correct) that DJ hadn’t even seen the shadow/ ombre of a vehicle across his land that afternoon…

….and yet we know from other reports that he had…

….and I think it was Max who put up a piece, in French, which strongly suggested that the 15.15 ‘ONF bike’ and BM’s downhill sighting were most likely the same bike, although there seems to be an unfortunate lack of
detail around this bike, making a better identification very difficult.

Melvin, I’m sure, is just what he is. A kid mucking about on his bike. His press nickname of Gentle Giant suggests the reporters were rather taken with him…

9-30-2013 at 19:06:35

@ Lynda

One of the few things that are clear in WBM’s account is that he saw a motorbike go down route forestiere past him as he was riding up the hill himself.
Please explain how that bike could have “left the Combe and speeded around to Jarsy and up the Col” as you suggest in your 15:32 post. Are we talking ET?

9-30-2013 at 19:48:44

@Eugene, I said ‘I pondered’ many months ago, if not near the beginning of this thread.

In fact, if you look it up, it was way before all sorts of other elements were introduced and wondered if the motorbike had left someone at Le Martinet and was due to meet that someone after events, going by foot towards the ‘light coloured’ motorbike, with the big bags, that was going in the direction of Le Martinet ! I was trying to say why Partlucids one and the same motorbike could have been accounted for.

I live amongst farms, I do not think the Denis Janin timestamp would be out by an hour, they live by the clock, by the cattle, he is afterall a cheesemaker, he was washing cheeseboards, he told his wife he saw a motorbike, she gabbed off to the press, in between he said I didn’t see anything (not wanting to get involved), then because of his wifes gabbing he had to admit he saw something, afterall the motorbike wasn’t going away from Le Martinet, but towards it.

@Partlucid, it was my ‘link’ that gave the 15:15 timing – from La Liberation, via Troisieme Oeil, irrelevant who added the information to this blog, it is a collective as Lars would say.

Melvin, according to himself didn’t use the Combe to escape, helmet or not.

@James, EM via Zainab has said there was nobody there when they arrived (Le Martinet).

9-30-2013 at 20:17:40


I wasn’t looking to challenge you as such Eugene; it was just when you wrote @11.10 this morning that there were testimonies which couldn’t be reconciled that I began to wonder whether I was missing some GLARING INCONSISTENCY in the (un)official timeline which would blow the whole thing out of the water. For me, as things stand, I don’t think there’s anything beyond some minor hiccups which I’d tend to attribute to the fact that nobody was particularly looking at their watch in this part of rural France. I don’t think any of the participants had a train to catch, or a meeting to make. I personally don’t see any kind of a ‘deal-breaker’ out there as regards timings…but maybe others do….

9-30-2013 at 20:44:12

@Partlucid, Melvin in the press is described as ‘jeune colosse’, it is us who have christened him the ‘gentle giant’, he’s a big lad for his age, maybe at 15/16 he’s just a tall boy from a tall family…..

I have seen video footage of a Melvin on a trial bike at the foothills of Les Bauges, his father a gardener, I wish I could recall the surname attributed to them, began with an M, maybe Meribel ? Not sure, sorry guys, maybe someone else can give an insight.

9-30-2013 at 21:09:28

@Lynda your 19.48

I still haven’t looked at a map yet!

I’m interested in what you write about the Janin’s Lynda, because I only have a pretty sketchy sense of their statements; and in asking you about this I’m aware that you wrote some time back that you didn’t think the biker was our killer. I’m broadly neutral on the biker as the killer – as indeed I still am on the ‘X5’! – but I would be keen to establish as best we can which vehicles are actually ‘in play’…

So, from what little I do know…and interpreting your take on things, I find myself with two possible opposing scenarios…and I’d be grateful for any corrections you feel to offer…

(a) on the one hand, and according to Denis Janin, there’s a leisurely biker stopping for his cows and unsure of his route who then heads off in the direction of Le Martinet at around 4pm but then evidently exits the park undetected, and by a route other than Combe d’Ire. And this bike may, or may not be the same one as encountered earlier at 15.15 by the ONF.

(b) or on the other hand…there’s the version from his wife, Catherine? who believes that the sighting of the leisurely biker, stopping for the cows and unsure of his route, occurs at around 3pm?, before the man makes off in the direction of Le Martinet. In this case the chances then increase? that this biker becomes the same one as encountered by the ONF at 15.15. And then additionally perhaps by BM who is chugging up the slope in the interim…

9-30-2013 at 21:57:06

@Partlucid, as far as I’m aware Catherine Janin/Jeanin DIDN’T give a time stamp, she was reporting what her husband had told her he’d seen….

Either way, if this farmer was an HOUR adrift, it would take much longer than 15 minutes to cover the zigzags on a stoned road to get to above Le Martinet and be told off at 15:15 etc. google Col de Cherel and images. Then pass Brett Martin circa 15:25.

One of our earlier posters, See_Bee had cycled in the 2000’s the route, the tarmac goes about 2kms beyond Martinet, here is where the plan was to open the road to traffic, make Martinet a picnic area and parking at the end of the tarmac for 42 cars, including toilets at both spots.

From the Jarsy, Precherel side, the tarmac appears to stop at the Pont Leyat, this is a road of stones, unbelievably zigzagging.

The motorbike rider was unsure of his ground, not stable, which I guess would be quite normal on such a surface. Not that he was unsure of his route.

I’ve said before, why didn’t Janin scream at the ‘out of bounds’ motorcyclist, ‘go back, this is a no through road, you can’t cycle this route’ and other not so pleasant wordings !

Afterall he was observing from only 50 metres away …… was he used to seeing unauthorised vehicles on the Col ?

Which leads me to ask, having not seen anything, to seeing a motorbike, did he see a modern 4×4 pass in the direction of Jarsy ?

You see when someone says they didn’t see anything on wheels be they two or four, then you say well actually I did see a two, but it was going towards the scene of the crime, then why not a four ?

9-30-2013 at 23:03:08

Thanks Lynda, I’ll probably come back tomorrow, I’m already tired…

9-30-2013 at 23:30:59

Off topic

J’ai vu récemment un ancien feuilleton de Columbo. “Deux en Un” (“Fade in to murder”).


9-30-2013 at 23:39:53

@ partlucid 9-30-2013 at 12:03:11

Partlucid, you wrote

“Any instances of ‘illegal logging’ scams for example..?”

No, no, no. They see themselves as defenders of le foret.

Maybe it is folie à deux.

10-1-2013 at 00:45:47


I knew that Rashomon…which is why I was so taken aback by your proposal that some amongst their number might go in for opportunistic thieving…!

10-1-2013 at 03:20:00

@ partlucid 10-1-2013 at 00:45:47

People go through all sorts of moral and linguistic contortions to justify their actions. Defending the sanctity of le foret by ‘fining’ miscreants for their misdeeds would not be a huge stretch.

Out of all the currently identifiable people, that were near the scene of the murders, the ONF agents are in my opinion the most likely to have been involved.

10-1-2013 at 09:21:40


Thanks for putting that up Rashomon; I’d wondered if you maybe had thought some rogue element? amongst the ONF might’ve been involved…
….and when you put it in those terms then it’s maybe not so implausible as I first thought…

I realised that I knew/ know absolutely nothing about them as an agency. On the face of it they obviously appear worthy and committed, but I’d just allowed myself to consider whether there might not be some little pockets of malpractice or corruption in their midst; hence my absurd! suggestion of illegal logging (it was all I could come up with which might pertain!).

Presumably your ‘folie a deux’ sees one ONF man (or a pair?) and one other starting off with a spat which then escalates horribly..? I’ve always retained a memory of Bossy in the French doc suggesting that ‘you could tell from the way the bike had been abandoned that Sylvain had gone to help…’
(or words to that effect).

But I still can’t help thinking that if there were some ONF involvement…then surely the investigators would have been able to track that down, no..?

….and I’m not much of a one for ‘scenarios’ as such…but I did like your basic premise that the murders might have been committed as a result of something having gone (badly) wrong…

10-1-2013 at 11:04:36

Morning all


Just a thought or two to your helpful 21.57 of last night…and once more apologies if this has been suggested already…

Is it possible Janin might have phoned in to the ONF to report the feral biker? They’ve then driven up – from wherever it is they hang out – through Le Martinet and beyond the 2km of tarmac, and out onto the hill with the intention of intercepting the miscreant. It would obviously be in Janin’s interests to have good relations with the ONF. My crude googling and map-reading indicates an approximately 3km? long track – Combe Dite Chaplain? – before you’re on to the zig-zags up to Col du Cherel…

Now, I’m not sure how specific the accounts of the encounter between the ONF and the biker are…but couldn’t that 15.15 exchange have taken place anywhere along that route – and indeed even on the Col itself – and still be described, journalistically at least, as being ‘above Le Martinet’…

Thanks also for correcting me on Melvin; a nice touch from one of our contributors.

10-1-2013 at 11:40:36

@Bacchus Re Columbo

The good thing about Columbo (the old series is one of my all-time favorite tv series) is that:

1. You always see the murder
2. Columbo knows instantly who did it
3. He traps/catches the killer by the one mistake every X always will make!

Let’s catch X, the killer of SM, by the mistake he most surely has made.

– M

10-1-2013 at 11:50:28


“EM via Zainab has said there was nobody there when they arrived”

1. who knows what game EM is playing
2. But it fits !

The 4×4 had left the car park (arrived and left). The time fits.


No, not ET. But the other motorbike. The killer probably wasn’t seen on the Combe D’Ire at all.

More later. Must fly.
But Lynda…the farmer, how close was he to the motorbike ?
He could have killed him ? But he wasn’t the “target”.

10-1-2013 at 12:47:46


The better part of your 16.08 to me yesterday does present a plausible scenario and timeline which would fit in around the limited and imprecise information we have. However in my view, that simply reinforces my original point….which was…that with Brett Martin’s account being so obviously unmeasured and effectively untimed, then it becomes very difficult to pin stuff down decisively with that. His narrative fits in very loosely, and ‘somewhere’, around the fixed points at either end, but unless you’re privy to ALL his information – which we’re manifestly not – then you really are dealing with something pretty elastic. Even the police have seemingly concluded that THEIR piece of elastic could be about six minutes long…

And a further point: it suited my thinking to equate BM’s downhill sighting with the Crimewatch ‘X5’. I also wrote at the time that would not necessarily implicate that vehicle in the crime; it would simply confirm that it was very close to the scene…

10-1-2013 at 13:06:18

@ James

Okay. So, if I understand you correctly, you assume there were 2 motorbikes involved. One that was seen going down towards Chevaline on route forestiere (by WBM, or the ONF crew, or both), the other near the Janin farm up on the Col (which presumably did the round trip on the dirt track. No easy way to tell which bike was the killer’s. Maybe both: for a good ambush, one man on each side makes a lot of sense.
And then obviously the gentle giant is like icing on the cake, even though I’m ready to think he saw more than he would admit. Better stay safe.

I don’t think the ONF team could have been involved. Seems like an outstretched theory. Haute-Savoie isn’t the wild, wild west.

The role of the elusive light-dark X5 is unclear. Timings, location, we’re left guessing most of the circumstances. But if involved, that would mean 3 players. No need to reload, 30 seconds good enough.

10-1-2013 at 13:09:40

I’m burning my time in GTA5 and very shortly in GTAonline … It sometimes happens that I catch an NPC under my wheels. With ragdoll physics and all that, this NPC sometimes gets ‘dragged’ by the car. At that moment there is the ‘Mollier’ feeling:) (gruesome I know)

10-1-2013 at 14:36:41

I think there were two motorbikes, the ONF/BM one seen and since identified/come forward, which leaves the one on the Col as seen by Janin going towards the crime scene at about 16:00, like the mystery 4×4 it has also disappeared, easier to dispose of than a car, hope they’ve checked all the ravines, caves and pools….

Appears they have checked CCTV and all the ‘PV’, that’s parking and speeding fines.

@James, Janin says the motorbike was 50 metres away from him as he was washing the cheeseboards.

@Partlucid, I like the ‘phone call’ to the ONF, BUT the timings don’t fit, I’m sure that a farmer would know what time he was moving the herd, or maybe they were just meandering from one meadow to another.

I wonder if Janin went home for lunch or did he eat up there ?

More than one gunman, all using the same type of gun, wouldn’t the forensics reveal that the bullets were fired from different guns ?

10-1-2013 at 14:39:17

I’ve answered myself, move cattle and wash cheesboards at the same time, difficult, when he was interviewed on TV, there was someone else working with him, I wonder if he was there that day ?

10-1-2013 at 15:54:14

There could be even more motorbikes and cars. What we (and EM) are talking about are the vehicles that have been seen. Who knows how many there were that were not being seen.

I don’t want to complicate matters, but that is how it is.

I still have to add the MC2/Janin stuff to the article. But I think MC1 (BM) is not MC2 (Janin). It can hardly be the same MC because of the timings and direction.

Therefor if it is only MC2 which is still missing it means that MC1 (BM) is accounted for. I get the impression MC1 is not Melvin, but that makes it all the more mysterious , because who IS MC1? … he was awfully close to Martinet at the time of the killings.

Remember that Melvin has reported to have heard the gunshots. He was very close to Martinet.

I often have the impression that it was Melvin who was directed to the RF by the ONF … but I’m not sure.


– M

10-1-2013 at 15:58:20


Ah, so they didn’t actually live up there; it was just an alp. Sounds similar to a summer I once spent goat-herding in Switzerland: the farmer ferried me to and from the pasture on a daily basis.

And am I right in thinking that there was some talk on the blog about an hour’s discrepancy, and if so, was that just PURE speculation from somebody like me sniffing around for a connection…or do you know if there were any reports to that effect? It would seem a slightly odd speculation just to have dropped out of thin air…although, on the other hand, maybe it’s not so different from casually re-interpreting the builders’ time check so that things fit in…

10-1-2013 at 16:15:13

@ Max, 10-1-2013 at 15:54:14

I consider it quite unlikely that Melvin encountered the ONF. First, this was never mentioned anywhere, second, he seems too canny to allow himself to get caught by the ONF, third, unless they knew him personally and were quite chummy with him, they would not have let him get away.

I have a sneaky suspicion that Melvin’s trial bike actually is a trail bike (i. e., a “hard enduro” or a pure MX bike). Whichever it is, it is quite distinctive, and thus the ONF guys would have been able to tell what kind of motorcycle it was that they chased away. Moreover, it is precisely the kind of motorcycle that forest wardens don’t want to see in the forest, because it is purpose-built for going where they don’t want any bikes to go, and it makes a lot of noise in the process, scaring the wildlife. Finally, according to the reports, it was uninsured, which I take to imply that it didn’t have a number plate.

Thus, if this had been Melvin, the ONF guys would have been able to tell at a glance that this was not some hapless tourist who had lost his way, but a local guy deliberating flouting the rules. As I have said, unless they knew and liked that local guy, they would not let have him get away with it.

10-1-2013 at 17:25:31

@Peter Re Melvin

Thx, yes that is quite possible. Melvin roaming around and not get seen/caught. Of course he WAS caught, first by a journo 1410, later questioned and ‘mis hors de cause’ by the police. See×4-vert-the-motorbikes-the-rhd-bmw-x5-etc/

If only MC2 was spotted at 15h00 in stead of 16h00, then we would have a nice FIT, with MC2=MC1 as follows: MC spotted by Janin (15h00) going towards Martinet where is later spotted by BM (15h25/30ish)

Anyway, with Melvin out of the way, and MC2 (Janin) being searched for we still have the question: WHO IS MC1???

If MC2=MC1 then it is clear. Then this MC is searched for

If MC2 is not MC1 … ??????? big questionmarks!!!

– M

10-1-2013 at 17:51:41

@ Peter 10-1-2013 at 16:15:13


re trial vs trail

I can’t find the video right now but from memory, if the youtube video was of Melvin, then his MC definitely was not a trials bike. It seemed to be more an enduro style as you said. I don’t think it was an pure racing motocross bike though.

I have owned trail bikes myself. I haven’t got a bike ATM but if I bought one again I would go for the SuperMoto type rather than a trail/enduro.

Having said that, now that electric bikes are now coming in, an effectively silent trail bike could be interesting.

10-1-2013 at 19:24:08

Does anybody have any new ideas about motive?
@ max, you are good at this.
There are highwaymen in haute savoie. It is the wild, wild east. There are drugs in them there hills

10-1-2013 at 19:24:08

Does anybody have any new ideas about motive?
@ max, you are good at this.
There are highwaymen in haute savoie. It is the wild, wild east. There are drugs in them there hills

10-1-2013 at 19:33:16

When I started to search information about this case over a year ago I could never imagine that it would still be unsolved today. I started to search information since I couldn’t believe what I read in the newspapers. That is not so unusual, but usually the mysteries disappear as you find more information, but not so in this case.

Since I couldn’t imagine that the case would still be on the agenda after a year, I didn’t start collecting material at once. Lots of material that was previous available has now disappeared.

One of the things I miss the most was a TV-interview with Dennis Janin at Col de Cherel. There he explains with a fantastic Savoian dialect what he saw that day. I hope it still exists in some TV-archive somewhere in France.

10-1-2013 at 19:58:24

@Eugene and @Lynda

Eugene, yes…basically.
I assume there were two motorbikes.
Three if you include the gentle giant.
Are the *the two) connected ? I don’t know.

Like Lynda pointed out. The farmer who saw one of them…. was washing some equipment…and herding cattle !

Cheese, cattle, bringing them in. I assume he’s a dairy farmer then.
I guess if he was bringing them in he’d have a pretty good idea of “the time”.
You just don’t milk when you want to. Cows are pretty “routine based” beasts.

The “SUV”. Was it connected ? again I don’t know. But if you run various scenarios on “time” (plotting various possibilities based on 15.15 and 15.48 with a 30 minute timed climb (20/25/30/35 minutes)) it looks pretty damn impossible that the SUV was there at the time of the shooting.

If you “make” Al Hilli get to the car park at 15.20 or 15.25, then it is possible for the SUV to arrive and leave the car, passing Martin twice. Martin could have indeed ridden the route in approx 30 mins….and arrived “after” (at 15.40) the shootings.

The problem is. It’s tight for Al Hilli. But “possible”.
And Mollier. He would have had to have been there for “sometime”. Maybe 10/15 minutes. However when Al hilli arrived at the car park, it is reported that “no one was there”.

10-1-2013 at 19:59:38

Hallelujah! 🙂

I am accepted in Marilyn’s blog again. Praise the Lord!

I am not anonymous anymore.

Don’t ask we why. I haven’t tried to do anything for a long time. Just now I found a Norwegian (sic) version of Marilyn’s blog and I noticed that I could read it without using any backdoors. So I checked if I could read the English version and voila here I am! 🙂

10-1-2013 at 20:12:46

Thx Freda:)

There is enough men power working on the SAH side, so I stick to the SM side. I think this is all about SM. I think there were people who wanted him to go. I don’t think those people wanted the massacre, they didn’t expect SAH to be there.

Motive? Perhaps SM just entered the wrong circle. I don’t know

Freda, you triggered a new thought in me;) as follows

The LR to SM call just minutes before SM was killed … I find this suspect. I guess we all do. Strange how the/my mind works, because I instantly thought that LR was perhaps actively connected to the killing of SM. That is why I wondered if the call was made from mobile (suspect) or fixed (save, alibi)

But I now realize that it could be that LR is PASSIVELY connected to the killing of SM

Perhaps LR somehow was worried that SM was in ‘danger’. Perhaps LR phoned to check if SM was (still) alright, or maybe even to warn him??

Perhaps just like CS, who was worried that SM had not come back, LR was worried.

Of course with SM being killed there was nothing more to do, it was too late to turn back. SM was killed. The ‘circle SM’ probably knows what caused this (perhaps an inner affair) and decides to shutdown, to create the ‘wall of silence’.

An ‘are you alright?’ call from LR to SM makes perfect sense (if she knew there was something boiling over)

As you (and all) can see. Every time a piece comes up I can fit it quite good in a SM=target picture. The SAH=target picture does not work like that, I can’t make **** out of that.

I have the feeling ‘local’ forces are tweaking some facts. I’m not at all convinced that there was an X5 driving around.

If there was no X5, then the witness who called the X5 is suspect! He knows more. (And imho LR knows more too)

– M

10-1-2013 at 21:06:15


Witness 3: Laurent Fillion-Robin, born 1974, local builder, residence 48 Montée de la Treille, 74210 Cons-Sainte-Colombe (Bilans gratuits )

10-1-2013 at 21:07:34

‘Scenario in shorthand’ (could be the title of a Columbo episode;)

SM is doing his Col de Cherel tour. X as MC (=MC1=MC2) goes the route in opposite direction. LR is expecting ‘trouble’ and calls SM minutes before X and SM meet. X and SM meet at Martinet. X kills SM and has to kill SAH’s who are the unfortunate witnesses. X (who had trouble doing ‘Col de Cherel’) escapes via RF, and is seen by BM. ONF invents 2(!) stories. 1. X5 2. ‘redirecting’ MC. J tweak the time of MC to 16h00. With this MC becomes MC1 and MC2. MC2 and X5 both do not exist.

– M

10-1-2013 at 21:46:51

@Max, Did Janin make up a story to tell his wife, to impress, she then spoke to the press, excepting that the Inquest is still looking for a motorbike with saddle bags on the COL makes my assumption to be nonsense.

Personally, I would be looking in two places:

1) the circle of SM, extended to include ex-lovers of CS and his own, or current, this is France afterall !

2)mistaken identity, did P Bossy have an enemy, in his position as a Mountain Guide ? Possibly someone who took exception to him trading there, PB says it was the first time he’d approached from this side, why did he do that this time ?

10-1-2013 at 21:55:47


As I regard you the ‘Janin expert’ 😉 … How come Janin did say he saw nothing (sept 14th)?

‘Surtout, passé la forêt, on roule à découvert dans les alpages et Denis Janin, le berger, n’a pas vu l’ombre d’un véhicule à moteur, à deux ou quatre roues, ce mercredi 5 septembre depuis son chalet isolé au col de Chérel…’

– M

10-1-2013 at 22:03:20

@ Lynda 10-1-2013 at 21:46:51


Re (1) above: steady on, they don’t have that many investigators!

Re (2) above: good point, hadn’t thought about professional rivalry or some kind of turf war.

A further point, I seem to remember that you suggested that P Bossy “was late” and had been hurrying to make up time. Am I correct in this?

If so have you a reference? Presumably he had been picking up his hiking companions, perhaps one of them was tardy. The traffic generally should not have been bad at that time. Have you any idea how late was he? I am sure you can see where this may lead.

10-1-2013 at 22:15:41

@Peter (and all)

Any chance on knowing if L could drive a motorbike? (some time ago I did remark that the age of L and Melvin is the same, the latter being a fluent motorbike driver … just musing here of course)

– M

10-1-2013 at 22:29:20

I ‘think’ it went a bit like this:

Catherine: Did you see the brouhaha at the otherside of the Col, near Le Martinet?

Denis: I saw a touring motorbike going towards Chevaline at about 4 o’clock, he stopped to let the herd pass over the road, he was only 50 metres away from where I was washing the cheeseboards.

Catherine: Have you told the Police ?

Denis: Well, no, the guy was going towards the scene, after it had happened.

The reporter collars Catherine : Did you see anything ?

Catherine: No, but my husband says that a motorbike was near the Col on the afternoon of the killings, he said that the rider was unstable on the ground, stopped to allow the herd to cross the road.

Reporter: Why hasn’t your husband reported this ?

Catherine: Because he thought it irrelevant that the motorbike was going towards Chevaline after the event. The news channels and radio was full of the killings.

Reporter: He says that he didn’t see any two or four wheel ‘engines’ ?

Catherine: Well, that isn’t what he told me.

10-1-2013 at 22:56:49

@Max & Lynda

If you have heard Denis Janin speak I think you should include ‘lost in translation’ as a possibility.

The article in Le JDD was written shortly after the murder. It was written by a journalist that I believe is stationed in Grenoble. I regret that he hasn’t continued to write about the case. He could very well have phoned M. Janin and I guess it is not so easy to understand even for a local Frenchman to understand what M. Janin says. It was perhaps easier to understand Catherine later.

10-1-2013 at 23:53:57


I added the Catherine quote to the article. Curiously enough she says (that her husband said) ‘Il en passe de temps en temps.’

Which must mean that this motor biker was there more often (unless it is a quote error and should be e.g. ‘Il a pris son temps’ … he took his time)

But if MC2 was there more often, why was he not seen anymore after sept 5th?

Was he perhaps ‘preparing the route’ (driving it ‘more often’ and timing it)?
Or was he perhaps killed and dumped together with his bike somewhere in those mountains?
Perhaps he was ‘not in a hurry’ because he drove counterwise and was sure he would bump into SM?

And the time, 16h00. Now how do you have this timestamp so precise? Esp. when you are NOT aware of the importance of that MC2. Was it pure luck that Janin looked at his watch? Or could he gauge it against something he remembered doing which had a timestamp going with it. E.g watching the news and then going to clean the planches des fromage.

No wonder the investigators find MC2 interesting. The guy is a mystery. Not the only mystery I might add. MC2 sure ties with X5 in who is the most mysterious person competition.

But let’s not forget MC1 (seen by BM). Who the hell is he? and what was he doing so close to Martinet?

– M

10-2-2013 at 00:14:12

@ Max 10-1-2013 at 23:53:57

Max, you wrote:-

“I added the Catherine quote to the article. Curiously enough she says (that her husband said) ‘Il en passe de temps en temps.’”

He said that did he?

The bike with the paniers was a regular!

Maybe my ‘illustrative scenario’ regarding Mr Muscle wasn’t so lurid after all.

10-2-2013 at 00:31:49

“How how do you have this timestamp so precise?”

I guess you’ve never lived on a farm !
Milking is VERY routine. I grew up on a farm.

“……temps en temps”

Does this mean “often” or “slowly” ?
Slowly after a mass murder. That’s odd.

Was “he” in a panic…and went the wrong way in his need to escape ?

10-2-2013 at 00:48:23

@James, agree on the ‘farmers’ argument. So 16h00 it is.
@Rashomon, yup, more often? Are we back to the ‘shady business’?

If 16h00 designates MC2 NOT being X, he still might be somebody going to Martinet for a ‘transaction’ of some sorts. Of course he would have found out that something was gone horribly wrong, and of course he would NEVER return to Martinet:) Makes sense.

But if MC2 was going to meet someone, I guess it must have been SM. As SM was ‘on route’ to Martinet.

Was X part of the ‘transaction’ team, or was he perhaps part of the ‘competition’? Doesn’t matter really. He finished SM and perhaps took what SM had brought to Martinet (money?)

Now was X = MC1?

And (in trying to keep this local) what is a RHD X5 doing here? I still don’t get the X5 part (as I think it is not about SAH but about SM, and thus local).

If the X5 does not exist, perhaps ONF is part of the ‘meeting’ too.

Anyway, we have been here before, the ‘SM shady stuff’. It doesn’t sound so bad, and amongst others, can explain the abundance of ammo X brought to the party.

But, as said, the main thing which keeps bothering me is the X5 (RHD) stuff. Does not make sense.

– M

10-2-2013 at 01:05:23

@ Rashomon

She didn’t say that the bike was a regular…
She said: “My husband just saw a motorcycle. Some (motorcycles) go this way from time to time.”
“Mon mari a juste vu une moto. Il ‘en’ passe de temps en temps” (= Il passe ‘des motos’ de temps en temps)

10-2-2013 at 01:56:16

@Max, 10-1-2013 at 22:15:41

I don’t know about mopeds and such, but the legal minimum age for riding anything like a proper bike in France is 16 years:

Thus, I would guess that Melvin either had the *right* enduro bike already, but not yet the right kind of licence, or that he just rode some clapped-out MX bike (which can be had for > 300 Euros).

10-2-2013 at 09:01:51

@Lynda et al your 14.36 of yesterday

I don’t think it’s necessarily more than one gunman. But the biker could fit a number of scenarios, although the Al Hilli end then begins to get pretty complex…and probably includes an ‘X5’…

But the biker’s obviously a strong candidate for a feral psychopath, and presumably also for those of you who believe Sylvain was the target. Particularly if he knew Sylvain would climb the hill, and if he was in place beforehand at 15.15. The Janin sighting may well be independent of the 15.15 man, but if there were somehow a continuous timeline between these ‘two bikes’ (lots of inverted commas in this investigation! SM’s ‘bike’, the ‘X5’ and now these twins…) then that would further strengthen a biker candidature in my view…


Re Lynda’s notion of Bossy encroaching upon someone else’s patch. That would certainly fit big-time into your idea of something have gone pyrotechnically wrong..

10-2-2013 at 09:32:45

Good morning to you all from Celeste.

10-2-2013 at 09:34:42

@Bibi (10-2-2013 at 01:05:23)

Thx! Very helpfull! The ‘en’ word;)


We also have another long standing problem. Namely:

– What was the ‘route’ of SM?

The offical explantion is the SM ‘was lost’ (trompe). But I think we all agree that it is a bit weird for a fanatic biker (3x a week) to be ‘lost’ in a region where he bikes a lot (the ‘oncle’ reference and the ‘tour lac Annecy’ reference)

Now … Martinet? Was that to be the ‘endpoint’ of SM (e.g. because he had a meeting)? Or was SM on a ‘route’ tour which made him pass Martinet (e.g. over Col de Cherel)?

One question is if his expensive (delicate) 5000 euro race bike is suited for ‘Col de Cherel’? Of course SM would know this.

Because if Col de Cherel can be done with the ‘SM bike’ it makes it possible that SM was doing this tour, and that in turn makes is possible that X went ‘counterwise’ to (be sure) to bump into SM while at the same time X would not attract attention.

Anyway, all ‘Martinet options’ have the pro’s and con’s but they ALL look suspect regarding SM:)

– SM ‘got lost’ (TS tweaking?)
– SM went to Martinet as ‘endpoint’ (SM having a meeting?)
– SM went the ‘Col de Cherel’ tour (X (MC?) going counterwise?)

– M

10-2-2013 at 09:48:50


If he is a climber/ grimpeur, as he’s been described, then I think Sylvain’s probably most interested in that 2km of uphill tarmac after the hairpin bend.
I was surprise at how poor the road surface was along to Le Martinet; all those potholes really wouldn’t make for a very enjoyable ride…

….but with the better water run-off on the slope, then it’s possible that surface might be so much better, and a quiet traffic-free climb for a couple of kilometres – with possibly even a lovely view at the top? – would make for a very pleasing trip in itself. I certainly can’t see him heading over any mountains or rough tracks on his expensive ‘racer’; that simply doesn’t make any sense for a mature cyclist.

10-2-2013 at 10:05:41

Good Morning!

It’s nice to belong to the non-anonymous again! It’s a private quest of mine.

I think it is worth to notice that it was pretty easy to predict that the two local Frenchmen on the scene, Mollier and Bossy, were going to be there, at Le Martinet, at around that time that day. It was a part of their plans for the day.

It was probably not so easy to predict that the aliens, the Englishmen Brett-Martin and the Al-Hilli’s, were going to be there at that time. I doubt that they had that specific plans.

I still think that this is a premeditated murder, committed by a local perpetrator, with a local target and with a local motive. I think he came and left the scene on foot. I think he used a weapon that probably legally is not his and thus not traceable to him. That doesn’t mean that he stole it from someone, but that he ‘picked it up’ somewhere. Maybe for another purpose. Since the weapon is not traceable to the killer, and then of little help to the investigation, I think it is now hidden somewhere in the mountains, somewhere pretty inaccessible.

10-2-2013 at 10:33:34

@Max and all, I’m afraid to say that the quote of Catherine doen’t mean that he passed from time to time, it does mean :


Double checked it with the FRENCH husband.

Will read in later.

10-2-2013 at 10:49:35

I see Bibi, who lives in France, may be French interprets it differently. If you link it with the fact that the rider stopped to let the herd pass, then he ‘wasn’t in a hurry’.

I’ll re-read Catherines statement and then Denis’.

What has never been said is whether the motorbike continued towards Le Martinet or turned back, personal feeling is that it has nothing to do with the murders.

UNLESS of course it was part of a low-cost hit squad, who had never checked out the route before and didn’t know that the farmers worked up there.

Anyone local would know both route and habits and that it is ‘interdit’, the likelihood of being spotted by ONF/Private Rangers/Mountain Guides, all appreciative of the flora and fauna, would not be happy, probably add the farmers to that list.

10-2-2013 at 10:50:22


A scenario just for fun:

Sylvain: I am going to take a tour over Col de Cherel today.

X: Tu est fou! With that expensive bike of yours. You’re going to ruin it.

Sylvain: No problem I can always get a new one. 😉

X: Merde! If you go one meter passed Le Martinet I am going to kill you!!

Sylvain: Ha, ha sure.

(PS: personally I believe that he was indeed on a round trip over Col de Cherel)

10-2-2013 at 11:11:25

But doesn’t the route just become gravel? or grit? after the end of the tarmac…?

That wouldn’t be a problem for BM on his mountain bike, or the 3rd cyclist on his VTT…

….and doesn’t Claire Schutz drive immediately, and early? as soon as she gets wind that something’s afoot, to the Combe d’Ire, suggesting that she expected to find him somewhere along that route. Depending upon when she did go up there, she must have been tipped off in my view…

10-2-2013 at 14:01:12

Janin report

If the original quote is “il en passe de temps en temps”, there’s no doubt. Il can only mean: “we have such passers-by once in a while”. Nothing else.

Multiple gunmen

EM implicitely excludes this theory. But is it enough to rule it out ourselves?
Because, 3 gunmen for instance, with only 1 magazine each, would have 21 rounds (or more) available without reloading.
No more question about the 30 seconds shooting spree, no more dancing around the car, no more question about why bring so much ammo if the target was a single person. It FITS. And explains the unaccounted for vehicles..

10-2-2013 at 14:02:47

Re CS looking for SM

(also this has been discussed in the past. I might create an article with the few info available)

Some snippets:

Mr Mollier left his home for the last time around 2.30pm on September 5. Much later that afternoon, when he did not return from his bike ride, Miss Schutz became worried. Eventually, she decided to get in her car to go and look for him. Mr Mollier, 45, had told her where he was going, so she knew where to start her search. But her way was barred by a police road block near the bottom of the Route de la Combe d’Ire, leading up the mountainside, a route popular with hikers and cyclists. Miss Schutz told the police she was very concerned about Mr Mollier; that he had not come home when she had expected and had not rung her. Miss Schutz was asked to get a photograph of Mr Mollier and bring it to the police station. When she produced a photograph, her worst fears were confirmed.

Quant au cycliste, retrouvé lui aussi mort à côté de la voiture, c’est son épouse, inquiète de ne pas le voir rentrer de sa promenade à vélo, qui a donné l’alerte mercredi 5 septembre au soir, sans avoir fait le rapprochement avec la tuerie de Chevaline. Elle s’est donc présentée avec une photo de son époux auprès de la gendarmerie d’Ugine, les militaires ont rapidement fait le rapprochement et son époux a été clairement identifié comme étant la quatrième victime de la tuerie.

La quatrième victime, le cycliste retrouvé à l’avant du véhicule tué d’une balle dans la tête, était un habitant d’Ugine, près d’Albertville. Sylvain Mollier était père de trois enfants dont un petit garçon né en juin dernier. Il était parti se balader à vélo et serait passé, semble-t-il, au mauvais endroit au mauvais moment. Sa compagne, ne le voyant pas revenir avait donner l’alerte mercredi vers 17h.

The interesting bit is that it seems from these 3 sources that CS:

1. first went to look for SM
2. then was asked to bring a photo
3. only AFTER the photo was brought to a police station it became clear SM was the 4th victim

Now, we have this very interesting 17h00 timestamp which most probably should designate action 1

17h??? for CS to become worried of SM (doing some stuff at Combe d’Ire)
Now, add to this the LR to SM phonecall minutes before SM was shot

Could it be that both women somehow ‘worried’ over SM? And if yes, why the worry?? What were they worrying about?

– M

10-2-2013 at 14:18:29


They’ve been pretty consistent throughout on just the one gun Eugene, and different guns leave different signatures on the shells? and bullets?, don’t they..?
I dare say someone will inform…

Where a second party could come into play – in the case of a planned assault on the Al-Hillis for example – would be in performing some sort of blocking manoeuvre, with an ‘X5’? – as Ron outlined before he left us. I’ve always struggled from the outset with just one guy armed with seemingly only 3 magazines of 7 bullets each, targeting a family of five (or three)…but if you throw in an assistant then it starts to look a little more achievable…

10-2-2013 at 14:30:25


Do we know what time SM set off…from Ugine?

To me, Claire must’ve either got wind of a shooting up at the Combe d’Ire (I don’t believe any report has stated that though) or, even more specifically, perhaps a policeman, recognising SM, has either called her or perhaps even the well-connected? Thiery?

I can barely believe she’s just gone up there blindly because Sylvain’s half-an-hour? late…

10-2-2013 at 17:09:28


The snippets say SM did leave Ugine 14h30. factor in 1 hour bike ride to Martinet and he would be 15h30 at Martinet (so, seems correct)

Now if the 17h00 is correct then SM would indeed be less than 30 minutes late … which would be remarkable.

So … the big question here is … IS THE 17H00 TIMESTAMP CORRECT?

The 17h timestamp was penned down by Virginie Salanson, maybe she can confrim

– M

10-2-2013 at 17:24:15


Thanks Max, I must have had an information block!!

….just musing further over my scenario whereby someone calls Claire/ Thierry Schutz to inform them that Sylvain’s ‘been involved in an accident’.
There must have been, what, 30?40? emergency crew there within half-an-hour? All it would have needed would be for just one of them to (a) either come from Ugine or (b) have an interest in cycling for them to recognise Sylvain and his new bike…

….now whether that would be either formal or informal practice for the French police (or even a journalist friend?) to make a call I wouldn’t know…

…and the timescale would have to be slightly altered as well. With Bossy’s call timed at 15.48 then Claire couldn’t ‘knowingly’ have been up there for 5pm surely. But the story about her only allowing Sylvain half-an-hour’s slack seems improbable as well.
Something doesn’t seem to quite fit there…

10-2-2013 at 17:32:15

On top of that, the entire ride from Ugine to Martinet via Doussard is only 20kms. For a “bon amateur” on a top-notch bike, don’t you think 1 hour is a little long??
Once again, timings don’t easily fit.

10-2-2013 at 17:49:13

@ Max

From your “snippets”:
“Miss Schutz was asked to get a photograph of Mr Mollier and bring it to the police station.”
So Claire could afford to offer her significant other a € 5,000 bicycle, but she didn’t have with her a cellphone on which was stored photos of him?
What a fairy tale!

10-2-2013 at 17:49:38

Time for me to resurrect my notion that Sylvain may have been killed on his way BACK down the 2km hill…!?

I’d always struggled with the idea that the gunman could have been unaware of either one of the ‘two groups’ of people. The road heading back towards Chevaline is very straight, and the gunman would’ve seen anything coming up that stretch in good time…but if he were targeting the Al-Hillis and Sylvain whizzed round the hairpin – having achieved his target of making the top of the climb by, say, 15.30! – then he would in all likelihood have completely surprised the gunman. Additionally it’s possible that the killer wouldn’t have heard him either – above the sound of the Ire?

And here I’ll reiterate an earlier question: did we ever establish what way the bike was actually facing…? (not that that would be conclusive)

10-2-2013 at 17:52:41

@ Eugene

I think that’s a fair point Eugene, although might they maybe have required something a bit more formal, and larger, even for those initial recognition purposes…?

…just a thought…

10-2-2013 at 17:56:20

@ Partlucid

Good try. But, no, missed.
These theories are just like walking in quicksand.

10-2-2013 at 18:03:11

@ Eugene, 10-2-2013 at 17:32:15

Good point, particularly so because the route Ugine – Doussard is almost completely level
A good road-racing amateur, even if riding on his own, should average at least 30 km/h on that stretch.

10-2-2013 at 18:05:53

Which way was Mollier’s bike facing?

None of us will ever know: it’s been consistently reported that it had been “pushed in a corner”. By the killer? By Will Brett? By both? In any case, it’s too late to draw conclusions from this.

10-2-2013 at 18:10:47

@ Peter

Agreed. So 45 minutes sounds like a maximum for the whole ride. Unless he had to stop on the way to take a leak (like some commentators suggested might have explained Zainab being out of the car)..

10-2-2013 at 18:42:19

….or equally he could maybe even have called in at his uncle who happened not to be there that day…

…thus the Uncle ‘speaks out’ when the story’s put about that Sylvain was there ‘pour la premier fois’. The poor man would possibly be berating himself in those circumstances…

10-2-2013 at 19:07:04

@partlucid Re:’and the gunman would’ve seen anything coming up that stretch in good time’

To get things straight: You can see around 100 meters max from Le Martinet, then the road bends. That is possibly to check on a large number of photos. If 100 meter allows you to see something ‘in good time’ is a question of taste (takes U.Bolt around 9 seconds on foot).

10-2-2013 at 19:13:32

I think the whole tale about Claire’s reaction to Sylvain being late is purely creative writing. Firstly it doesn’t sound probable at all, secondly not one journalist has been able to speak to her so how could they know about her reactions? Why would the police talk about her reactions when they are so silent about things, that are not at all sensitive.

10-2-2013 at 19:17:41

@ Lars @ All

There is in France such a thing in the criminal code as the “constitution de partie civile” (vaguely translated into English as “adhesion procedure”). This option, since it’s not mandatory, entitles the next-of-kin of the victim of criminal action (or the victim if he/she is still alive) to have full access to the prosecution files, including police reports, so as to be fully informed of the investigation. This procedure is free of charge, can be introduced at any time prior to trial, is submitted to a gag order (people cannot report what they’ve read in the dossier), but is a public record: if you file as such, it’s black on white on the file listing, and the court stringers know. Hence the media forward the info.
It seems that in the Chevaline case, nobody has found fit to exercise this right. Otherwise, it would have been reported. And yet, lots of people could have: Saad’s sister-in-law, through their legal guardian his two daughters, other relatives, Mollier’s ex-wife in her capacity of guardian of his older children, Claire as her partner and mother of his newborn.. None of them did!
Is it a lack of curiosity or something else? We have often enough complained about a “wall of silence”. But there’s more: there’s a “wall of deafness”. How strange. Comme c’est bizarre..

10-2-2013 at 19:22:41
10-2-2013 at 19:46:35

@ Lynda

“What is said is that PB drove via Chevaline, and called Codis in Annecy” Where on earth did you see that last clause in those articles?

What is said, in the JDD, is that the BMW was still an AUTOMATIC stll in reverse. Guess FB should sue them for libe, we now all know Saad HATED automatics.

10-2-2013 at 20:00:57


I did not know about these rights (“constitution de partie civile”) but I hope someone will use them one day.

I am as you consternated by the disinterest in his case from the French side.

If I had belonged to the Al-Hilli family I had probably started legal action against E-Maillaud and his team.

10-2-2013 at 20:11:45

@ Lars

I’m afraid nobody can enter legal action against Inspector Clouseau: being stupid is not a crime. And if you think it’s something else, you have to prove it..
The disinterest that I tried to underline is on both sides: I’m very surprised that Saad’s sister-in-law didn’t file as “partie civile”, especially since she’s been granted temporary custody of her nieces. She must know, she’s educated, she has a lawyer, she knows. There must be terrible pressure somewhere..

10-2-2013 at 20:24:41

@Eugene, not in the same article, nevertheless aren’t we trying to put together a ‘puzzle’.

“l’appel au Codis d’Annecy, le mercredi 5 septembre?”

“Grace au téléphone de Philippe D., un randonneur de la région qui arrive en voiture avec deux amies juste au moment où Martin s’apprête à rebrousser ”

“Environ quinze à vingt minutes plus tard, c’est au tour de Philippe D…, 41 ans, de « monter par la route de Chevaline chemin pour chercher de l’aide, les pompiers d’Annecy sont prévenus”

You will also see in the links, Catherine Jeanin and what she said, taken in context, maybe it does read differently ?

As for the ‘pipi’, where is the problem, this was many peoples thoughts in the first days, even down to the BBC indicating a place after the hairpin bend, put right by our very own OUI.

Even in the ‘comments’ section of the newspaper article, this was proposed as an explanation for the ‘caravanning family’ to have stopped.

10-2-2013 at 20:42:03


I think that libelling and smearing a family’s reputation is a crime.

If it had been me I had been pestering our foreign ministry and the foreign minister to get protection against these types of campaigns from France.

10-2-2013 at 20:49:06

The only one who has protested, so far, is the Al-Hilli uncle Ahmad Al-Saffar.
I think, as FB can confirm, that the pressure was pretty high on the Al-Hilli side if they wanted to have the girls released.

10-2-2013 at 20:51:39

@ Lynda

In your link to the JDD, their subtitle is complete fantasy:

a) they time the Al-Hillis passing through Chevaline @ 15:40, which doesn’t make any sense,
b) the Codis moniker they mention is professional linguo to the firefighters in France: it’s *their* dispatch center *they* call by radio when they need support on a theatre. It’s not a number accessible to the public, that Brett or Didierjean aka Bossy could have called at 15:48 or later. See Wikipedia.

10-2-2013 at 20:53:18

Typo: read 14:40

10-2-2013 at 20:58:56


Lars, I think you favour a scenario which sees the gunman targeting Sylvain Mollier from a position where he is unable to see/ or is unaware of the Al-Hilli group. Given that the distances involved appear so small, I have some trouble with that, but my speculation wasn’t intended to undermine your thinking. I was simply trying to turn things round and envisage a situation where a gunman, seeking to kill the Al-Hillis, might have been unaware of/ and surprised by SM….

…and that could arise by the gunman either positioning himself within the lay-by itself…or on the road, and in such a way that his back was facing Sylvain Mollier as he came wheeling along…

I wasn’t really proposing any one theory over another; I was simply thinking aloud. Indeed some of my posts today would probably support the SM side of things! even although that’s not my personal preference…

10-2-2013 at 21:22:44


I am primarily, in this discussion, interested in that the basic facts are correct. I guess that we all the time get new readers to this blog. Readers who have not followed the discussion from the start. I don’t want them to get wrong impressions from this blog. There are enough of these in the media.

Even if there are so many important things that we don’t know, due to the policy of the French police, there are still a number of things that we do know like names, relations, age, places, distances and topography etc.

I just wanted to point out that you can’t see the road very far from Le Martinet (only around 100 meter).

10-2-2013 at 21:34:36

@Eugene, 18 or 112, I still favour the 18, what number would you call, when you are in France ? Bossy is a Mountain Guide, could he have had the ‘private’ number, perhaps already installed in his phone ?

If the 15:15 time stamp of the LAST PHOTO taken beside the Virginia Creeper covered property, diagonally opposite La Poste, is a fact (why wouldn’t it be), then the Al-Hillis took a return to the ‘dangerous road’ sign, as proposed by me, Max and The Telegraph, to name but a few.

There were reportedly more photos, taken between 15:00 and 15:10 in front of typical chalets and farmhouses, I see that as something ‘normal’, had grandma been to France before ?

I leave everyone to make up their own minds.

In one of those links it does attribute the type of moto ridden by Melvin, I feel sure he wasn’t the one seen by the ONF and told off, he was still up there when the sirens started, he deliberately avoided the noise.

Unless of course, he is lying through his teeth, he did the deed along with some friends, just a bit of fun and his father backed up the story by hearing gunshots that others didn’t – no more weird or fanciful than all the other theories that have been looked at on this thread and others, is it?

Maybe Melvin wasn’t alone that day, meeting his friend on another bike in amongst the forests…… the one ‘escorted’ back to the authorised route.

I am still of a mind that something went very wrong that day and the cumulative deaths were not the plan.

The motorbike with large side boxes and possibly top box
Within 50 metres of Denis Janin
Then disappeared

Where did it go ?

Going towards Martinet at that point would not mean that was its final destination, there are many routes off this one, linking carparks, maybe just maybe it continued and took one of these, they aren’t the best of ‘roads’, maybe some visting ‘Pole fancied his chances, not understanding French he drove through the Pont Leyat, not observing the ‘interdit’ sign.

10-2-2013 at 22:01:27

@ partlucid 10-2-2013 at 17:49:38

partlucid, your notion that Sylvain may have been killed on his way back is becoming more interesting to me.

I have struggled to work out how the murderer could have missed either of the parties. My thinking centered around acoustics and their precise field of view down the Combe d’Ire.

This obviously favours SM being the overlooked party, yet this explanation still seemed contrived as it relies on the killer positioning themselves sub-optimally.

So your suggestion that SM effectively surprised the killer by coming round the hairpin into their peripheral vision is interesting.

Another variant could be if there were a confrontation between SM and the killer in the stretch of road just around the hairpin (ie above le Martinet). SM could have headed off down round the hairpin with the killer sprinting after him, shouting and firing. They both then run into the SAH party.

10-3-2013 at 00:01:48

@Rashomon et al

It’s an idea that’s had a slightly convoluted genesis.
I was always puzzled why a ‘proper cyclist’ would take himself up that road – the beauty of it notwithstanding – because the surface looks so dreadful in Alex’s video. That is not a pleasant ride: either bumping over potholes, or having to keep your eyes peeled to avoid them. Then Lynda described Sylvain as a grimpeur, a climber. Ergo that hill AFTER Le Martinet, reportedly 2km of traffic-free climbing, became in my mind the thing he was primarily after. And it was then James, during a squabble over time lines, who figured out that it was just possible that Sylvain could arrive at the lay-by BEFORE the Al-Hillis…but of course Maillaud informs us, via Zainab, that the car park was empty when Saad’s BMW gets there.

So logically…Sylvain has simply carried on, which is what any self-respecting climber would do, and attacked his climb. He was never actually making for Le martinet at all, and I actually don’t think that my elegant speculation of him seeking to be at the top of the Combe within an hour of leaving home/ Ugine is so fanciful. Remember that he’s reportedly ridden it often enough, and that 3.30 time target would also fit perfectly with the calculated window for the shootings…ie…five minutes or so to whizz back down and around the hairpin…

But tough to ‘prove’ of course….

10-3-2013 at 01:11:19

Did Sylvain sack Mr. Muscle?

I was thinking about SM and why he was shot so many times, it seems so personal, whereas the SAH killings seem impersonal. Now this may be just that SM surprised the killer, allowing SAH to make a break for it, thus the killer gets enraged.

However, another possibility occurred to me, perhaps it was connected to SM’s employment. As most readers are, I am sure, aware SM was on long term paternity leave from his job, described on Lars’ summary page as a “welder at Ugitech Ugine”.

As a summary, that description is accurate, however it sells him short. Sylvain seems to have put in almost two decades of service at that business (which seems to have had a number of divisions or trading names). He certainly seems to have started as a regular shop floor worker, presumably gaining welding qualifications over time.

At some point he took on supervisory responsibilities. I am guessing here that his progression was something along the lines of chargehand,
team leader, backshift supervisor/manager etc.

Early in my career, I had experience in an analagous industry and I understand the resentments that can build up when someone shifts sides as it were.

One day he is one of the boys swinging the lead with his fellow cohort of apprentices, clocking his mates in when they are late or absent etc. A few short years later he is clamping down on the same crew. Inevitably, over that length of service, SM will have disciplined, or outright sacked, no small number of guys.

A minority of men in that situation will harbour a serious grudge, they feel betrayed.

What occurred to me was that SM could have interrupted a robbery or carjacking that day being carried out by one such guy. A disguise sufficient for tourists is not be good enough for someone who knows them well. He is recognised.

Thwarted at every turn by SM, he goes berserk.

10-3-2013 at 07:09:08


That’s an interesting angle Rashomon, and eloquently argued, although I can’t help thinking the investigators must surely have combed through people who might’ve held a grudge, either personal or ‘professional’, against both the Al-Hillis and SM. Your car-jacking/ robbery scenario does of course mask that to some extent…but surely the cops would’ve figured out whether there was a potential ‘shooter’ in any of the victims’ histories, no? Even allowing for the unseemly bias towards the Al-Hilli end of the investigation, that would still be extraordinarily inept of the police to overlook that, it seems to me…

And on your point that the shooting appearing to be ‘personal’ to Sylvain: given our ballistics information vacuum, I think that’s a tough call. We don’t even know definitively how many bullets he took; I believe most accounts do favour 7, but I have also seen some persuasive reports for 5. He certainly received the killer’s signature two shots to the head, and reportedly also three shots to the back but I think it starts to get a bit hazy after that…

….and we also have no telling indication of the nature of his wounds either…ie…some of them could have been just grazes or to his limbs, both of which would necessitate further body shots…

10-3-2013 at 08:41:16


No, it is not Celeste, but *boss* Marilyn. And no, I am not back, but Celeste told me that you all want me to open a new thread. So here goes:


I was thinking anyway that it would be good to open a new thread (our 15th) before September 5 is here as there may be quite a few comments then. There may be some new ‘revelations’, ‘interviews’, documentaries, who knows?

Do continue to discuss this case. I am sure we are going to solve it.

Have a nice commenting day anyway.

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