Bomb disposal unit spend two hours at al-Hillal home after concerns of 'improvised explosive device' at the French Alps murder victims' Claygate address

Officers from the Royal Logistics Corp bomb disposal team arrived at the mock-Tudor property in the affluent village of Claygate earlier this morning.

A bomb disposal unit today spent more than two hours at the Surrey home of the French Alps murder victims, after ‘concerns’ were raised over items found at the address.

Officers from the Royal Logistics Corp bomb disposal team were seen arriving at the mock-Tudor property in the affluent village of Claygate at around 10am this morning, as neighbours living close by were evacuated from their homes.

Members of the media, who have been camped outside the house since the shootings last week, were also moved back 200 yards.

The latest development focussed on a shed at the bottom of the garden, with speculation that it housed some sort of improvised explosive device.

However the bomb disposal unit left around midday, with the cordon used to block an extended portion of the road outside the house dismantled shortly after.

Officers later confirmed the items discovered were not hazardous and said neighbours evacuated from their houses could safely return.

Attention on the property intensified as police in Annecy in France waited to question seven-year-old Zainab al-Hilli, who was shot and beaten during the attack that killed her parents, and remains under sedation after coming out of a medically-induced coma.

Her father Saad al-Hilli, 50, was murdered in his car alongside his dentist wife, Iqbal, last Wednesday while the family holidayed in the picturesque region.

Mrs al-Hilli's mother also died in the shooting along with Sylvain Mollier, 45, a French cyclist who appears to have simply stumbled across the attack.

Zainab's four-year-old sister Zeena, who survived the attack after hiding under her mother’s skirt, yesterday flew back to the UK with carers and two relatives – reportedly an aunt and uncle.

Police plan to look at aspects of Mr al-Hilli's life to try to find a motive for the murders. They also plan to speak with his brother Zaid Hilli who investigators say has approached UK police to deny any feud with his sibling over an inheritance.

It is believed detectives are looking into Mr al-Hilli's professional life for possible clues. He worked as a contractor for a satellite technology company in Surrey.

Each of the four victims of the shootings was shot twice in the head, with investigators finding 25 spent bullet cartridges at the scene of the murder – a car park in the Combe d’ire forest near Chevaline. Two mobile phones found in the al-Hilli’s bullet-ridden BMW are also being analysed.

Witnesses have said they saw a green four-wheel-drive vehicle in the area at the time of the killings, and possibly a motorbike.

One theory is that shots could have been fired during a bungled armed robbery, with Mr Mollier being a witness to the crime.

But speculation about other possible motives, including a pre-planned attack by professional hitmen, remained rife.

One man, thought to be one of the last people to see the family alive, told reporters the family had arrived at the isolated car park at least an hour before they were killed.

Laurent Fillion-Robin, 38, also said there was no sign of any vehicle following the family.

The builder said he was working on a house in Chevaline when he saw the red British-registered BMW drive past between 2.30pm and 3pm. The shooting was reported to police just before 4pm.

Mr Fillion-Robin added that he did not hear any shots fired that afternoon and said the car park, near Lake Annecy, was not the sort of place that families with young children would usually go.

However, public prosecutor Eric Maillaud revealed the family had visited France a number of times before and it was not the first time they had been to Le Solitaire du Lac, a campsite in Saint-Jorioz where they were staying when the attack happened.

Some media reports have suggested that Mr al-Hilli, an engineer who left Saddam Hussein's Iraq several years ago, was known to the security services and was put under surveillance by Metropolitan Police Special Branch during the second Gulf war.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said they could not comment, but it is understood there is no link between the deaths and any national security issues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
News
Lois Pryce... Life Without a Postcode. Lois lives on a boat with her husband.. Registering to vote in the election has prooved to be very difficult without a fixed residential post code. (David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing