Thierry Tilly is a “super-man” or agent for a secret society dating back hundreds of years which protects the world from evil – or so his followers would have you believe. “French investigators, though, take a different view. To them, he is a vulgar – and violent – con-artist, who has used brain-washing techniques and even torture to rob three generations of a wealthy French family. Mr Tilly, 45, is now in custody in south-western France. He is accused of using ‘acts of torture and barbarism’ to persuade 11 members of the aristocratic Védrines clan to hand over furniture, jewellery, paintings and property worth €3m over the last eight years. Eight members of the Védrines family, aged from 16 to 68, are believed still to be hiding in Mr Tilly's Oxford base.”