Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

An Unlikely Mercenary; HOW A SCHOOL PREFECT BECAME AN ASSASSIN AND MET A BLOODY DEATH

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

An Unlikely Mercenary; HOW A SCHOOL PREFECT BECAME AN ASSASSIN AND MET A BLOODY DEATH

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDR PAINE

HE WAS a school prefect whose ambition was to work in the fashion industry.

Marty Cappiau had a typically middleclass upbringing in a smart Kent village; he played rugby but shunned violence.

So he was an unlikely candidate for any army, let alone a life as an arms dealer and contract killer.

But as a new TV documentary reveals, that was to be his fate - ending in his violent death at the age of 31 after he executed a Zagreb gangster.

Cappiau's extraordinary story came to light after his childhood best friend, Ronnie Beacon, decided to investigate what drove him into a life of violence.

The pair had been inseparable at grammar school, playing rugby and going on holiday to Spain together.

They met at Maidstone Grammar School in the mid-Eighties. Cappiau lived in a large bungalow in Wrotham with his mother Jan, stepfather Arthur - a company director of a London printing firm - and younger sister Sam.

But within a few years of the schoolboys' meeting, Marty Cappiau would be sucked into a world of bloody sectarianism.

Mr Beacon, 33, has produced a Channel 4 documentary, A Murder Between Friends, in which he charts Cappiau's life and death.

Mr Beacon, who grew up in Headcorn, near his friend, said: "When I met him at school at 14 he had a lot of energy and seemed to be very successful with girls. He was a charismatic person.

"He could hold his own at rugby but was not the sort to get into fights.

"He was very close to his family.

It was one of those houses where the parents are always throwing parties.

We used to serve the drinks together. They were a typical, middleclass, fairly well-off family."

With his eye on the world of fashion, Cappiau worked as a shoe salesman in Paris after leaving school at 17. He was of Belgian origin and when he visited the country to see his father's family he was discovered to be a national, arrested and made to do military service.

He enjoyed the army and, after befriending Croatian nationalists in southern France, he enlisted for their struggling army in war-torn Yugoslavia in the early Nineties.

The documentary's director, Nick Hornby, said: "None of his old schoolteachers or friends suspected he could live this life. …

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