Published: 10:16, 06 January 2021
| Updated: 13:08, 06 January 2021
The death of a former teacher whose body was found on an Indian Ocean island almost 10 years ago was "an unlawful killing", an inquest has found.
A coroner has ruled today that Carl Davies's cause of death was head injuries following a “vicious assault” to the 33-year-old, which left him with serious cranial injuries.
The vessel docked on the island of Reunion on November 7, 2011, where the former Marine enjoyed a night out with two colleagues where they visited bars and clubs before being split up before midnight.
His colleagues returned to the ship which left the following day after Carl failed to return.
An inquest at Maidstone's Archbishop's Palace heard how Carl's body was found by a storm drain near Lambert Barracks on the Island on the morning of November 9.
After an initial medical examination it was believed he died after suffering head injuries from a fall from height.
One year later, after a French court ordered a post mortem, a stab wound was found on Carl's left side and it was concluded his cranial injuries were the result of around two to four blows to head.
As a result a murder investigation was launched, which led to French authorities scouring through CCTV, making door to door inquiries and interviewing 69 people in the process.
A report from Kent Police's detective chief inspector Gavin Moss revealed documents from the French police detailed potential suspects as a group of youths who were known for attempting to rob people outside Le Loft nightclub, somewhere Carl and his work friends had been.
Further documents from an interview with a potential suspect revealed French authorities were told one gang member attempted to rob a British tourist but was "knocked out" in his attempts.
He went on to tell police how more members of the gang attacked the victim, stabbing him with a screwdriver and hitting him round the head with a champagne bottle.
Although the suspect couldn't be sure the person who was attacked was Carl Davies, records from DCI Moss's report explained the description given matched Mr Davies.
Vincent Madouré, who was found guilty of Carl’s murder in June 2017, was acquitted of all charges in May 2019.
He was one of four men who were arrested and charged in 2013, but all charges were dropped against the other three and only Madouré proceeded to trial after which he was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.
But, in a twist of events, Madouré was released in October the same year under judicial supervision. His appeal for a retrial had been successful and he was later acquitted of all charges.
Ahead of the retrial Carl’s family, who were from Sittingbourne but now live in Scotland, rallied against the decision holding protests, leading petitions and appearing on a number of TV shows to continue their fight for justice.
'It was murder. It wasn't an accident...'
His parents Andy and Maria Davies and his sister, Kerrie Stewart, appeared via video link for the hearing at Maidstone's Archbishop's Palace.
Speaking before the inquest, Kerrie said: "It's taken so long for Carl's inquest to take place because the investigation over on the Reunion island took so long and, obviously, we had two trials.
"It was meant to happen last year, but it was delayed due to the coronavirus.
"I am not sure what difference and what outcome today will make. I think it's a formality, to close the case here, but we will continue to pursue things over in Reunion island. We will never stop."
The 40-year-old added: "It doesn't really make a massive difference because there is nothing that can be done over here.
"It's a bit of a piece of mind that things are moving again, and Carl hasn't been forgotten.
"We are 10 years in in November but we are pursuing it like we were in the beginning.
"They will be brought to justice, they have to, they can't get away with what they did to Carl. It's murder. It wasn't accidental."
The inquest heard how Carl, of Harrier Drive, Sittingbourne, had completed tours in Northern Ireland and Iraq and was tipped for a commander role before he ventured into teaching.
Concluding the inquest coroner Patricia Harding said: "Carl Davies was subject to a vicious assault, with the assault carried out by a blunt instrument and screwdriver.
"Sadly we will never fully know what happened to poor Carl Davies on that fateful night. I want to the family to know how very sorry I am for their loss."
Speaking after the conclusion Andy Davies emotionally thanked the continued work of Kent Police.
He said: "I just want to express our gratitude and thanks to them for their work. When everyone else around us was failing they remained excellent and professional."