Photo ‘vital lead’ in Belgian murder spree case

Photo ‘vital lead’ in Belgian murder spree case
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Handout picture shows a man holding a weapon in a forestImage copyright

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The handout picture shows a man holding a weapon in a forest

Authorities have released a new picture of a man which could be key to solving one of Belgium’s most notorious crimes.

The unidentified man is a “vital lead” in the investigation into the so-called Crazy Brabant Killers gang, police have said.

The group murdered 28 people, including children, during robberies and raids between 1982 and 1985.

Police are appealing for information to identify the man, who is seen posing with a shot gun in a wooded area.

The gang was named after the province in Belgium where they were most active, targeting jewellers, bars and hostels and supermarkets, the BBC’s Gavin Lee reports.

The group is said to have comprised of three men who covered themselves in face paint during the raids and became known for their violent and merciless attacks, shooting dead staff, customers and children during the robberies. Some of the victims were tortured before being killed.

The men, who were never identified, became known by nicknames as the Giant, the Killer and the Old Man.

The Belgium Federal Prosecutor’s Office started to reinvestigate the decades old case in 2018, and officials say there have been a number of significant leads and developments since then, due to the advances in DNA identification techniques and forensic technology.

In the past two years, police have gone through thousands of documents linked to the original case, carried out more than 1,200 DNA tests, and have identified around 3,000 “persons of interest” that they are looking to speak to.

The unidentified man in the photograph – taken in 1982 – is said to be a “vital lead in the case”.

There have been multiple conspiracy theories and rumours in this case over the years and police say there have been a small number of people in the past, who have come forward, falsely claiming to have been involved in the crimes.

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