Human skull marked wth 'death to paedophiles' found on French Riviera seabed

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Human skull found on seabed in Cap d'Antibes
Human skull found on seabed in Cap d'Antibes

A murder inquiry has begun after a human skull marked with a target and the words 'death to paedophiles' was found among other bones on a seabed in the French Riviera.

The gruesome discovery was made by a sea urchin diver in Cap d'Antibes, a popular tourist hotspot and a millionaire's playground.

As well as the skull, a male thigh bone, one male and one female humerus, and a part of a jaw, were found six metres beneath the surface near the foot of a rock cliff at Cap d'Antibes.

According to the Guardian, DNA tests on one of the detached upper arm bones have revealed it belonged to a 17-year-old Parisien, Stéphane Hirson, who disappeared in 1994.

Scientists have yet to identify who the other bones belong to, and suggest the skull is that of a man under 50.

It is thought the remains come from two women and two men, and that they have been in the water for at least a decade.

Although the diver came across the remains in February, an inquiry into "murder, sequestration, abduction, and hiding corpses", opened this week on Wednesday.

Gael Marchand, group commander of the Alpes-Maritimes gendarmes, told the Daily Telegraph : "This place is no marine cemetery where bodies wash up, so this is an exceptional discovery."

Georges Gutierrez, the prosecutor in the inquiry in Grasse, said the probe would "try to discover to whom these bones belonged and if these people were deliberately killed", but that they were :faced with a series of engimas".

Mr Gutierrez said there were a lot of question marks hanging over the inquiry. "Why was just one bone per individual and not more parts of the skeleton?" he said. "This is just one of thousands of questions."

One theory is that the diver has unearthed an underwater cemetery of a serial killer.

Cap d'Antibes is home to one of France's most exclusive hotels, the Hotel Du Cap-Eden-Roc, which accommodates the rich and famous, from aristocracy to movie stars, particularly during the Cannes Film Festival.

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