Leaked report links British family murdered in Annecy to Saddam's millions

Newspaper claims possible connection between victims and dictator's missing fortune

Further details of last month’s brutal quadruple murder in the French Alps were revealed this weekend after a report was leaked to a French newspaper.

In a two-page special report, the respected French newspaper Le Monde revealed chilling, new details of the shooting of three members of a British-Iraqi family and a French cyclist near Lake Annecy on 5 September.

Le Monde also made a link between the al-Hilli family and the alleged missing fortune of the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein.

The newspaper said that German intelligence “was believed” to have told French authorities of a possible connection between the al-Hilli family and the rumoured missing Saddam millions.

But the Saddam link was formally denied by French investigators today. The head of the murder investigation, Gendarmerie Colonel Benoit Vinnemann, said: “This is false. No intelligence service from any country has given us any information of this kind.”

The newspaper said that the Iraqi-born engineer, Saad al-Hilli, 50, had originally been shot and wounded while standing with his daughter  on a forest lay-by near the village of Chevaline. He ran to his car, trying but failing to pull seven years old Zainab with him.

As he reversed his BMW estate at high speed Mr al-Hilli ran over and dragged the wounded body of the local cyclist, Sylvain Hillier, 45, who had also been hit by the gunman’s first volley of shots.

In his panic, Mr al-Hilli backed violently into the steep forest side and his car stuck fast.

The killer, armed only with an obsolete 80 years old luger pistol, fired more shots through the car windows, killing Mr al-Hilli, his wife Iqbal, 47, and her mother Suhaila al-Allaf, 74.

He then finished off the cyclist, Mr Mollier and beat Zaina, aged 7, savagely with the handle of his gun.

The little girl failed to get back into her parents car, possibly because she had been wounded in the shoulder from the killer’s initial volley. She only survived because the gunman ran out of bullets.

Le Monde said that its information came from a provisional “synthesis” of the clues found at the murder scene and the recollections of eye-witnesses. This report, the newspaper said, had been dispatched recently to the national headquarters of the gendarmerie in Paris.

The sequence of events suggested a random attack by a deranged individual, rather than a “professional” killing.

The chief gendarmerie investigator and the Annecy prosecutor denied today that any such report to gendarmerie headquarters existed – but they did not contradict the main contents of the Le Monde story.

In an interview with The Independent last week, the Annecy prosecutor, Eric Maillaud expressed his frustration at some of the reporting on the murders, in both France and Britain. He said that he accepted that the problem arose because, under French law, the investigation was supposed to be secret.

In the absence of official information, leaks from the inquiry were sometimes accurate and sometimes false and sometimes taken out of context, he said. He was not allowed to comment on them all.

Today, Mr Maillaud, like Colonel Vinnemann, denied that any form of  provisional narrative or “synthesis” of the events of 5 September had been sent to gendarmerie headquarters. However, he did not deny the thrust of the Le Monde report.

The newspaper said that a “dynamic” of the murders had been recreated from forensic evidence and the accounts given by Zainab-al Hilli and Brett Martin, the British cyclist who discovered the massacre.

These included two scatterings of glass from the car windows, suggesting that the BMW had been fired upon in two different places a metre or so apart.

They also included – intriguingly – small pieces of the Luger P06 used by the gunman, a weapon  issued to the Swiss army in the 1920s and 1930s. How the gun came to be broken is unclear.

Officially, all lines of investigation – including a targeted assassination – remain open. However, the prosecutor, Mr Maillaud, told Le Monde, that  “the hypothesis of a lone and psychologically disturbed killer, is gaining ground.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
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

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin