French Alps murders: Annecy shooting victims had moved campsite

 

A British man murdered alongside his wife and mother-in-law on holiday in the French Alps moved his family from one campsite to another two days before they were gunned down.

A Dutch couple believed the group planned to spend a week at the three-star Village Camping Europa site in St Jorioz but they left after a two-night stay.

The campers said father-of-two Saad al-Hilli acted strangely during that time, leaving his family alone several times each day.

They also noticed an unusual man wearing a smart jacket visiting while the al-Hillis were there.

The family moved into neighbouring site Le Solitaire du Lac last Monday before the brutal attack in a remote spot close to Lake Annecy on Wednesday afternoon.

Investigators have said each victim was killed with the same gun, fuelling speculation they were targeted by a contract killer. Each person was shot twice in the head.

Detailed ballistic analysis of 25 spent cartridges found at the scene revealed they all came from a 7.65mm automatic pistol.

Sylvain Mollier, 45, a French cyclist who apparently stumbled across the attack, was also killed.

Staff at Village Camping Europa described the family as "very quiet, nice people".

A manager, who refused to give her name, said: "They came to stay with us on Saturday evening and left on Monday.

"That was pre-planned - they were here for just a few days."

She dismissed suggestions that Mr al-Hilli behaved oddly during his stay, adding: "There was nothing strange. All families leave the campsite at all sorts of times to run errands, go to the shop, organise activities, that sort of thing."

And she said comments about a mysterious man described as appearing "to come from the Balkans" were "ridiculous".

She said: "That was an Italian man who was here. He left and got on his plane as was planned."

The bodies of Mr al-Hilli, 50, from Claygate in Surrey, his dentist wife Iqbal and Mrs al-Hilli's mother were discovered in their bullet-ridden BMW in a secluded car park in the Combe d'Ire forest, near Chevaline, just a few miles from Le Solitaire du Lac.

The al-Hillis' two daughters survived the horrific attack.

Seven-year-old Zainab - who was shot and so brutally beaten that doctors placed her in a medically-induced coma - is now seen as one of the key witnesses.

Police spoke briefly with her after she regained consciousness on Sunday and are waiting for approval from medics before they can question her further.

Her younger sister Zeena, four, escaped unscathed by cowering behind her mother as bullets rained down. She has flown back to Britain with carers.

French police are examining two mobile phones found in Mr al-Hilli's car and are understood to be examining the hard disk for a laptop.

British officers are working with their French counterparts to try to unravel the mystery surrounding the four deaths.

Yesterday, the spotlight turned on the al-Hilli family home after police identified items of apparent concern and called in a bomb disposal squad from the Royal Logistic Corps.

Neighbouring properties were evacuated as experts examined the mock-Tudor house, focusing on a shed at the bottom of the garden. But officers later said that the unidentified items were not hazardous.

Detectives were today continuing their search of a safe which had to be opened using power tools.

Police are examining all aspects of Mr al-Hilli's life to try to find a motive for the murders, looking at his personal and professional links which include work for a satellite technology company in Surrey.

Investigators have disclosed that his brother, Zaid Hilli, approached UK police to deny any feud with his sibling over an inheritance.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee