The parents of a Brit killed in paradise today say they WILL get justice for their former Royal Marine son.
Andy and Maria Davies have been given new hope after a coroner ruled son Carl was unlawfully killed.
The determined couple vow to return to the French overseas territory of Réunion in the Indian Ocean to see the killers put behind bars. Carl was just 33.
His body was found slumped in an open drain in the island’s capital of Saint-Denis in November 2011, just days after the ship Carl was working on docked in the city.
Islander Vincent Madouré was sentenced to 15 years in jail for Carl’s killing in 2017 – then acquitted on appeal in 2019.
Carl’s family has visited the remote island twice during their decade-long pursuit of justice and say his son’s killers are widely known among Réunion’s islanders.
But Andy likens the two main suspects to 1960s East End villains the Kray twins – and says locals are too scared to speak out for fear of reprisals.
Andy, 60, is originally from Kent and now lives in Fife with wife Maria.
They are driven by a cherished picture of their beloved son which hangs on the wall. And a giant poster declares their determination to get to the truth.
Andy says: “I’m going to dedicate my life to getting justice for our son. The inquest verdict has breathed a new lease of life into us.
“My son was unlawfully killed. What we got was the verdict we knew he deserved. We’re delighted with the coroner’s verdict and we deserved it for our boy.
“The fight continues. They can’t close this case. It has to reopen. One day I will be going back for another trial. We’re not going to stop.
Maria adds: “Underneath, I am absolutely broken. But when you take something so precious from me and my family, don’t expect us not to fight.”
At an inquest in Maidstone, Kent, this month the coroner ruled Carl’s death was an “unlawful killing” caused by injuries sustained from a “vicious assault” with a blunt instrument and possibly a screwdriver.
The judgment marks another milestone in the quest for justice pursued by Andy, Maria and daughter Kerrie, 40 – who is seen beaming alongside Carl in the family snap.
The Davies have gathered almost 1,000 pages of documents – which are stored in a safe.
They took the fight for the truth into their own hands after becoming disillusioned with Réunion Island police’s “sloppy” investigation.
Ex-Marine Carl worked at a school for underprivileged children in Sittingbourne, Kent, before landing his dream job as a security guard on the Atlantic Trader cargo ship – protecting it from pirates.
The vessel docked at Réunion on November 7, 2011 and Carl enjoyed a night out drinking with colleagues before they parted ways.
His co-workers returned to the ship and left the following day after Carl failed to return.
On November 9 Carl was found dead in the storm drain at the foot of a 30ft ravine near the island’s Lambert Barracks. It was initially suggested Carl’s injuries were sustained in a fall.
But a postmortem revealed that he had been stabbed and beaten with a bottle before being pushed into the ravine.
A murder investigation was launched and French police documents listed potential suspects as a group of youths known to rob people outside a popular nightclub in the city.
Vincent Madouré and three other men were arrested in 2013, but only Madouré went to trial. Carl’s family believe his true killers are two of the three men released.
Andy said: “The police were out of their depth. It was embarrassing. The investigation was sloppy. Not all the stones were overturned. All the dates were there, but they failed to join them up.”
Speaking about the duo he believes are his son’s true killers, he adds: “They’re like the Krays of London in the 1960s. They’ve been to prison previously for violent offences. Everyone is afraid of the two.
“We need people to be brave enough to go in a court of law and speak out against them.”
Carl’s family now plan to continue their pursuit of justice in Réunion with the help of lawyers.
They will first write to judges on the remote island, 587 miles off the coast of Madagascar, urging them to review the case.
Andy and Maria left Kent shortly after Carl’s death to build a new life in Scotland. They have a photo of their laughing son mounted on the wall of their Fife home.
Andy says this reminder of the spirit of their much-loved son keeps him going in his battle for justice.
He added: “We’ve a big picture of Carl laughing on a frame on our wall.
“Every day we will go to work and there’s Carl laughing and smiling. And every time we leave, we see Carl smiling. I see him laughing and smiling and that’s how we remember him.”