Italy launches probe into 1970s heiress murder

Italian police said on Wednesday they are launching an investigation into the possible murder of a French heiress 36 years ago, after fresh revelations emerged from the trial of her former lover.

Italy launches probe into 1970s heiress murder
Maurice Agnelet was this week accused of killing Agnes Le Roux (pictured) during a camping trip to Italy. Photo: Le Roux family/AFP

Maurice Agnelet was this week accused by his son of killing Agnes Le Roux, 29, during a camping trip to Monte Cassino in Italy in 1977, in the latest twist in a sensational case which has gripped France.

"We are carrying out an initial investigation, the results of which will be communicated to the local public prosecutor's office," Captain Silvio De Luca, chief of the Carabinieri military police in Cassino south of Rome, told AFP.

Le Roux's body was never found and Agnelet, 76, is currently undergoing his third trial for her murder.

The former lawyer was initially acquitted of the murder but convicted on appeal in 2007 to serve 20 years – a verdict that was eventually overturned by the European Court of Human Rights.

On Monday Agnelet's son Guillaume claimed both his father and his mother had separately said that he had murdered Le Roux.

He said his mother had confided to him that his father killed Le Roux in her sleep during a camping trip in Italy, shooting her in the head and dumping the body by the side of the road.

Agnelet then supposedly threw the gun he had used in a river and left the white Range Rover car the couple had been driving at a train station with the keys inside, before taking a train back to France.

Guillaume said his father had also confessed in the 1980s to knowing the location of the corpse.

Agnelet had been having an affair with Le Roux, the heiress to the Palais de la Mediterranee casino in Nice, at the time of her disappearance – which came several months after she sold her shares in the casino to a rival Italian company.

The money – three million francs, worth about €1.7 million today – ended up in an account in Agnelet's name.

He was initially the prime suspect in the case but produced an alibi when another mistress claimed he was with her in Switzerland at the time. She later admitted she had lied and the case was re-opened.

READ MORE: Playboy murder saga grips France 36 years on

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Tourist fined after drone crashes in St Mark’s Square

A tourist was fined on Tuesday after his camera drone crashed into Venice’s iconic St Mark’s Square.

Tourist fined after drone crashes in St Mark’s Square
The tourist was fined after his camera drone crashed into Venice's Sat Mark's Square. Photo: Joe Shlabotnik

The man was trying to get aerial shots of the famous canal city, where drones are banned, but lost control of the mini aircraft, which happened to land close to a group of police officers patrolling the area.

Fortunately, the 2kg drone fell in an area where there were not many people and nobody was hurt.

The unmanned aircraft had been hovering over the Punta della Dogana, on the opposite side of St Mark’s Basin, before crossing the canal and crashing in St Mark’s Square.

Police were perplexed as to who owned the drone, until the tourist came forward on Tuesday and asked for it back.

The amount he was fined has not been reported, but violating Italian aviation rules is an offence potentially punishable with fines of up to €113,000.

Current guidelines say drones cannot be flown above 230 feet (70 metres) and must remain within a 490 foot (150 metre) radius of the pilot at all times.

Laws also state that drones must carry third-party insurance and that piloted aircraft must not come within 80 meters of private property. Crucially, they cannot be flown over populated areas or railways, factories and roads without obtaining prior permission from Enac.

In April, a French tourist was arrested in Rome after piloting his camera drone over the Colosseum.

Last year a pair of Israeli tourists were detained for flying their remote-controlled aircraft over the Vatican, while a Korean tourist in Milan found himself in hot water after slamming his drone into the roof of its iconic cathedral.