'Gilded' murder baffles gendarmes

THREE weeks after the murder of a wealthy Englishwoman in her house near Cannes, French police say they have made no progress in efforts to find her killer.

Patricia Green, a former lawyer from Keighley, was found shot dead in her home at Theoule-sur-Mer, near Cannes, on 26 January. She was 52. Her husband, Derek, a stockbroker with offices in Geneva, Monaco and London, was in Florida at the time.

The body was found by friends who, passing by, were surprised to see that the front gate, controlled by a video security system, was ajar. Inside, they found Mrs Green shot in the head and above the heart. A third bullet had lodged in a wall. Jewellery and money in the house were not touched. Two guard-dogs were shut in the kitchen.

The three-storey house is of the sort that exemplifies the Cote d'Azur for most outsiders. Red- roofed with an inside lift, the terrace cradles a limpid swimming pool on a hillside with a superb view over the Gulf of La Napoule with Cannes spread out on the far side. The conservative daily Le Figaro summed up the murder with the headline, 'A bloody epilogue to a gilded exile'.

Gendarmes in Cannes believe that Mrs Green knew the murderer and had let him in. 'We don't understand what happened,' Nicholas Green, one of the Greens' three children, told French reporters. 'But my mother certainly knew her murderer because she opened the gate and let him in after shutting the guard-dogs in the kitchen.'

The gendarmes said yesterday that they had still to find a motive and had not come close to identifying a suspect. 'There has been no progress and there is nothing new to say,' said an officer.

Other sources following the inquiries said various avenues had been explored including an investigation into Mr Green's business affairs 'but everything was above board'. The murder occurred four days after Mrs Green returned to France after a long holiday which had taken her to England at Christmas and then to South Africa.

The Greens bought their house at 49 Boulevard de St Hubert six years ago and, according to locals, were people 'sans histoires' - without problems - who lived discreetly and well and were liked in a village where the wealthy, mainly Germans but including one Arab sheikh, abound.