The recent fatal shooting in the south east of France, which left four dead, stirred up unpleasant memories of the horrific murder of a student friend of mine in roughly the same location almost exactly 40 years ago.
Rob Latter and I were first-year English students at Warwick University. During the summer vacation, he and his fiancee, Joy Jaffe, were hitch-hiking their way home from a holiday in Spain when they were attacked on August 29, 1972. The savagery of their murders left emotional scars that have remained with me ever since.
The only reference I have ever found to Rob and Joy on the internet is the following article in the Croydon Advertiser:
“Joy Jaffe, 20, of Succombs Hill, Warlingham, was raped and so badly hacked she was almost decapitated. Her 23-year-old fiance Rob Latter of Hartley Road, West Croydon, suffered multiple stab wounds to his face and arms, apparently in a vain bid to save his girlfriend…The couple first met at Croydon College. When they died, Rob was training to be a teacher and Joy was a student at Birmingham University. Their bodies were dumped by a country lane near the city of Toulouse. Their torsos were found by some hunters out looking for rabbits. A Citroen, believed to be the vehicle in which they took their final fateful hitch-hike, was found burnt out nearby. All their money, a camera and other possessions had been taken. The only clues to their identity were two rail tickets from Spain and a dinner receipt from a hotel in Andorra. A check in the hotel’s registration book revealed that someone called RC Latter had signed in that night – and this led detectives to eventually establish who the murdered pair were. French detectives said they believed a machete had been used to hack them to death.”
Friends and family only learned of their deaths via the Sunday newspapers. As far as I’m aware, their killers were never found.
I’d rather remember their lives than their deaths. Please contact me if you remember them.