Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The St.Gerard`s Day Massacre

This was a French version of the infamous Chicago massacre in 1929, that will never garner the attention of the other despite the fact that there were more victims.  Varying reports put the number of bodies as 8 or 9, and was speculated that it was a result of an Underworld war between the associates of a jailed armed robber and a suave night club owner.  ( I remember reading the story in the Daily Mirror.)  This slaughter commenced on St Gerard`s Day, 3rd October 1978, in a district of Marseille.  Four masked and armed men walked into the Bar Du Telephone in the area of Canet.  The victims included the owner, Andre Leone and seven customers.  Some of them were minor villains.   But was it a war between two villains for control of the Marseille Underworld?

    Another theory, but not mentioned by the newspaper article, was the massacre was over control of a fake banknote scam worth millions.  Certainly enough to commit mass murder.  And they do not fuck about in Marseille.  One man who managed to avoid the slaughter, had told cops about the racket, and had also survived an assassination attempt just before the murders.  This man was 28 year old Roland Luperini, who believed he was a big time villain.  He was with an associate, Jean Pagano, were ambushed by a gunman, exiting a bar in Cassis.  Luperini managed to evade the gunfire but Pagano was not so lucky.  He was killed outright.  But time was running out for Luperini, and the end came for him and another associate on 27th October 1978.  Luperini and a friend named Bouchon went to a club called Coves Club in the west of Marseille, but never left.  Both were executed with shots, and their bodies loaded on to a stolen fishing boat and taken out to sea.  The boat was found about a mile from shore, with blood in the bilges.  Police searched the club and found a not very good attempt at a clean up.  Some hasty redecorating had also been undertaken.  Was the case ever solved?  It seems not.   Just one of many extremely bloody occurrences in the French Underworld, and in particular, Marseille.