British man who was first on the scene at French Alps massacre feared he'd be killed by 'some nutter with a gun'

French Alps massacre 'was like a Hollywood movie' says Briton who was first on the scene
  • @bobjwilliams

The British man - who was first on the scene at the murder of three Britons in rural southern France - has today described how he feared he might be shot by the gunman or gunmen who carried out the killings.

Brett Martin told the BBC that he feared the killer or killers could be nearby and had began to scour the woods thinking he could be shot as well.

The ex-RAF pilot told the BBC he was afraid 'some nutter' with a gun may be still in the area, and that he could be the next victim.

Martin, who discovered the bodies of the al-Hilli family who were shot dead in the French Alps, also described how he saw a “lot of blood and heads with bullet holes in them”.

He described the killing of three Britons in the French Alps massacre as being like a Hollywood movie.

He was speaking as the French prosecutor in the case stated that the causes and origins of the killings were in the UK.

Annecy's chief prosecutor Eric Maillaud made the comments as he travelled to the UK as investigators continue to probe the mystery.

Mr Maillaud and examining magistrate Michel Mollin, along with another senior member of the inquiry team, met officers from Surrey Police at Woking police station to discuss the case.

Mr Martin, who encountered the scene in a secluded car park close to Lake Annecy, told reporters that he initially thought there had been a road accident.

Speaking to the BBC he said the family BMW was still revving and its wheels were spinning. Inside the vehicle were the bodies of engineer Saad al-Hilli, 50, his dentist wife Iqbal, 47, and her mother.

A fourth body, that of Sylvain Mollier, 45, the French cyclist who reportedly stumbled across the attack, lay on the ground.

Mr Martin encountered seven-year-old, Zainab al-Hilli, who he says was lying in the road semi-conscious,

“It was the sort of thing you would never in your life expect to come across,” he said.

“As I approached the scene, the first thing I saw was a bike on its side. I had seen the cyclist ahead of me much earlier so I thought he was just having a rest.

“As I got a little bit closer, a very young child stumbled out onto the road and at first I thought she was actually just playing with her sibling because she sort of looked, from a distance, as if she was falling over, larking about like a child would.

“However, as I approached her it was obvious that she was quite badly injured and there was a lot of blood on her.

“As I got even closer, I then saw the car with its engine revving and its wheels spinning. It seemed at that moment in time like there had been a terrible car accident.”

The horrific sight was like a Hollywood scene, Mr Martin said,

“It was pretty much what you would imagine a set from (TV crime series) CSI Miami would be like,” he added.

Mr Martin had set out from his base at 2.30pm that day, as he climbed to the top of a hill in the Combe d'Ire forest, near Chevaline, last Wednesday, he was faced with a bloodbath.

Mr Martin first moved the body of the seven-year-old from where it lay in front of the car, as he feared it might lurch forward and run her over. He then put her in the recovery position, before she fell unconscious.

The little girl appeared “severely injured” and there was “a lot of blood”, he said.

Mr Martin then inspected the scene inside the vehicle and realised there was nothing he could do to help them.

The former RAF officer was not aware, and neither were police and emergency services for another eight-hours, that the al-Hilli's younger daughter Zeena, four, was alive in the car cowering underneath her mother's body during the horrific attack.

Mr Martin then switched off the vehicle's engine and took the difficult decision to leave young Zainab and go and seek help, as he feared if he moved her he might injure her further - or even kill her. He has subsequently been credited with saving the girl's life. She was reportedly badly beaten in the attack and is now recovering in hospital.

“The wasn't a very comfortable decision to have to make,” he said of the decision to leave her to seek help.

Mr Martin also moved the body of Mr Mollier away from the vehicle.

“It seemed to me like he was probably dead,” he said.

“I could not feel a pulse and the most obvious thing was the totally inanimate body.”

To turn the engine off in the vehicle Mr Martin had to break the window which was riddled with bullet holes.

He said: “I've never seen people who have been shot before... it seemed to me just like a Hollywood scene and if someone had said 'cut' and everyone had walked away, that would have been it.

“But unfortunately it was real life.

“It became quite obvious, now, taking stock, that it was a gun crime.”