Murder mystery reopened

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PARIS - A Marseilles lawyer asked the Paris appeals court yesterday to re-open the case of the 1952 murder of Sir Jack Drummond, his wife and daughter, writes Julian Nundy.

Gilbert Collard acted on behalf of the son of Gaston Dominici, who was sentenced to death for the triple murder before this was commuted to life imprisonment.

Drummond, 61, and his 48-year-old wife were found shot dead near their Hillman on 5 August 1952 near Digne in the Alps. Elisabeth, their 11-year-old daughter, was found just alive. Her skull had been crushed.

Mr Collard asked for the review on behalf of Gustave Dominici, now 75, who found the Drummonds' bodies. Gustave was sentenced to a two-month prison term for 'non-assistance to persons in danger' because he did not call an ambulance in time to save the girl. On Europe 1 radio yesterday, Mr Dominici said his father had first confessed to the crime and he had corroborated his confession because 'the gendarmes ill-treated us'.

Mr Collard said 'all the hypotheses leading away from Dominici were ignored. I'm not saying Dominici was definitely innocent, just that all the leads were not followed. It has all the faults of French justice.'

The Dominicis, whose farm the Drummonds had visited the day before the murder, were prime suspects in a case rife with rumours: that Sir Jack, a nutritionist knighted during the war, was a spy; that Soviet-bloc secret services wanted to recruit him.

Gaston Dominici, released in 1960, confessed to the crime in November 1953 but then tried to blame other members of his family. Yvette, his wife who later divorced him, gave evidence against him then retracted it.