French Connection Gangster: Wrong Man Convicted in Decades-Old Murder

Jean-Pierre Hernandez, 75, said his conscience finally forced him to break a gangland secret over who murdered Agnès Le Roux, whose mother owned one of Nice's most prestigious casinos - the Palais de la Méditerraneé, according to an article in the U.K.'s The Telegraph.

Miss Le Roux, 29, disappeared at the wheel of her white Range Rover in 1977. Her ex-lover, Jean-Maurice Agnelet, 72, a former playboy lawyer is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for her murder.

However, in his book, Confessions of a Gang Leader, Hernandez said the "tears of Mr Agnelet's sons drove him to reveal the 'true' culprit - his 'best friend' Jeannot Lucchesi, another well-known figure from the Marseille underworld.

The pair had been instrumental in the French Connection, the lucrative heroine trade between Marseille and New York and the subject of a Hollywood film.

According to Mr Hernandez, shortly before his 1987 death, Mr Lucchesi had confessed: "I went up to Nice to bump her off."

He and unspecified accomplices abducted Miss Le Roux and dumped her body into the sea in the rocky inlets off Marseille. They had her car squashed into scrap metal by a mafia-run garage.