French police re-arrest suspect over 2012 gun massacre of British family in the Alps after ‘discovering inconsistencies’ in his statement
- Suspect arrested over the deaths of British family, French cyclist nine years ago
- Al-Hilli family and Sylvain Mollier were gunned down in Chevaline, French Alps
- The Al-Hillis’ daughters Zeena, four, and Zainab, seven, survived the massacre
- Suspect was arrested before, police are now re-checking his original statement
A suspect has been arrested in connection with the murders of three members of a British family and French cyclist in a gun attack ten years ago.
In a dramatic development to what many had considered a cold case, a prosecuting source in Annecy, eastern France, on Wednesday confirmed that ‘a man was placed in custody at 8.05am and is being questioned at length’ in relation to the savage attack in the Alps.
The unnamed had been arrested before but police are ‘examining inconsistencies in his original testimony and checking out his alibi,’ said the source.
Surrey businessman Saad al-Hilli, 50, his wife Iqbal, 47, and his mother-in-law Suhaila al-Allaf, 74, were gunned down as they tried to escape the area in their BMW car on September 5, 2012.
French cyclist Sylvain Mollier, 45, also died in the bloodbath, after being shot seven times at point blank range.
The Al-Hillis’ daughter, Zeena, four, hid in the footwell of the vehicle and was unscathed, while her sister, Zainab, seven, was shot and beaten but made a good recovery.
Despite an investigation stretching across the world, those responsible have never been caught, leading to accusations that the French now view it as unsolvable.
But Line Bonnet-Mathis, the Annecy Prosecutor, has confirmed that the enquiry is still very much active.
Referring to the nearest hamlet to the crime scene, she said at the end of last year: ’The Chevaline case is continuing, and still involves an investigating judge and investigators.’
Ms Bonnet-Mathis said the ‘preservation of physical evidence’ was a priority and that ‘for us, this is not a cold case.’
She confirmed that forensics officers from the research section of the Chambery gendarmerie had returned to the scene.
Earlier in 2021, detectives said they were investigating a possible link between the murders and a bungling gang of contract killers based in Paris.
Pistol rounds found at the home of one member, a former police intelligence officer, were of the same calibre as those fired by the antique Luger PO6 used to kill the Al-Hillis.
Investigators believe that if the gang was involved, it be more likely that Mr Mollier was the primary target.
He was a welder in a subsidiary of the Areva nuclear power group, but tensions in his personal life are more likely to have provided a motive for him being targeted, they said.
Baffled French investigators have considered numerous other potential reasons for the attacks.
These range from Mr Al-Hilli’s past life in Iraq, including potential financial links to the late dictator Saddam Hussein, to claims that a ‘lone wolf’ psychopath was responsible for a random attack.
But none of the numerous theories surrounding the so-called Alps Murders have stuck, meaning there have been no criminal indictments.