French Alps killings 'not a professional hit,' say police

Clues at the scene of the quadruple murder in the French Alps last month imply that the killer may have been a "lone psychopath" rather than a professional hitman.

The chief investigator into the killings yesterday formally denied a French press report that a local cyclist – and not the British-Iraqi Al-Hilli family – was the first person to be shot.

"Nothing allows us to establish the order in which the four victims were executed," said gendarmerie Lieutenant-Colonel Benoît Vinnemann, who is in charge of the joint Franco-British investigation.

But Colonel Vinnemann, and the Annecy area prosecutor, Eric Maillaud, did not dispute a ballistics report leaked to the newspaper Le Parisien, which concluded that the murders on a remote forest road on 5 September were "not compatible with the profile of a professional killer".