ON THIS DAY    14 July      Graphics version >>   BBC News >>
Search ON THIS DAY by date   
  Go back one day Go forward one day

Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
1971: Suicide note reveals murder confession

Cheshire Police have called off the hunt for the murderer of three French tourists after another body was found in Staffordshire.

The body of Michael Bassett, 24, was found in a maroon Ford Escort by two friends in a beauty spot near the village of Barlaston yesterday evening.

There was a pipe from the exhaust into the car and Bassett was cradling a gun with a confession written on a local newspaper beside him.

He admitted shooting dead Monique Liebert, 22, her sister Claudine Liebert, 20 - both teachers from Fontenay le Comte in northern France - and Claudine's fiance Daniel Berland, 20, a student from St Medard des Pres near Fountenay.

His letter claimed: "They provoked me so I taught them a lesson."

Bodies by the roadside

Farm workers found the victims two days ago. They saw one of the women "obviously dead" by the roadside before discovering the group's tent and car nearby.

Mr Berland was also dead, but the other sister was still alive. She was taken to Chester Royal Infirmary but died during surgery.

The three arrived in Dover on the 6 July for a camping trip around England and Wales.

They were all shot dead by .22 sized cartridges - which were found at the scene - but the murder weapon was not recovered.

Police said there was no evidence of sexual assault or robbery, but a diary belonging to Monique Liebert gave vital clues about the trio's movements before the attack.

Detectives had been looking for a fairground rifle and Morris 1000 car - since recovered in Lancashire - stolen from Rhyl, North Wales the night before the incident.

Bassett was a publishing salesman and frustrated writer who played piano at local pubs.

He had spent most of his life in Barlaston and lived with his sister and brother-in-law.

The parents of the French tourists arrived at Manchester Airport yesterday.

An inquest into the deaths will open tomorrow.

In Context
An inquest in Chester revealed the three French tourists had been killed with gunshot wounds to the head, chest and abdomen.

In Stafford the coroner recorded Michael Bassett died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

The inquest also heard he drank 415mg of alcohol, which would induce an alcoholic coma.

His family doctor said there was no history of mental illness in the family, but a sealed suicide note, dated May 1970, was found in his room.

The inquest was not concluded until August 1971 when a jury at Oakmere, Cheshire found Bassett guilty of the shootings. /CPS:BOX>


Search ON THIS DAY by date   
  Go back one day Go forward one day

Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
^^ Back to top |