|The man who reportedly confessed on his deathbed to being the giant, pictured years ago in a carnival costume (Picture: CEN)|
Before he died, the officer told his shocked brother that he was one of the ‘Crazy Brabant Killers’ that killed 28 people in a string of robberies in the 1980s.
Officials on Monday confirmed reports that detectives have been working on a new lead for months, and were optimistic about finally identifying the group, which is also called the Nivelles Gang.
The gang’s bloody, three-year spree has long fuelled conspiracy theories involving right-wing plots and official cover-ups during the Cold War era.
It had members dubbed ‘The Giant’, ‘The Killer’, a getaway driver known as ‘The Old Man’ and possibly other accomplices.
The gang terrorised towns the in Brabant province around Brussels, staging more than a dozen raids – often on supermarkets, where they would gun down customers, staff and even children.
In 1985 they burst into a shop wearing grotesque face paint and disguises before killing eight people.
Then, they vanished as they had appeared three years earlier. On the weekend a man told broadcaster VTM that his brother, a retired policeman in Aalst near Brussels, confessed as he lay dying two years ago that he was the tall suspected ringleader of the gang – the one known as ‘The Giant’.
‘In the beginning I was in denial because I really struggled with it,’ the unnamed man sobbed on camera. ‘But today I can say formally that this is my brother.’
Newspapers published archive photo-fits from the 1980s ‘wanted’ posters that once papered the country, along with off-duty snaps of the towering, bespectacled former special forces gendarme.
‘I hope for the relatives of hte victims that we can close this chapter soon,’ Interior Minister Jan Jambon said on Monday.
Ministers have convened investigators to review the new evidence.
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