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have suggested that the killings could be linked
to an inheritance dispute within the Al-Hilli family.
But no evidence has been produced to support the
Voice recordings from beyond the grave are being used by detectives trying
to unlock the Alps murders case, it emerged today. Investigators remain
baffled as to why three members of a British-Iraqi family were shot dead
close to Lake Annecy, in eastern France, a year ago.
But at a joint Anglo-French press briefing today they said that Saad Al-Hilli,
a 50-year-old engineer who worked for Surrey Satellite Technology
and was among the victims, kept ‘meticulous recordings’ of all of his
conversations up until the massacre. Annecy prosecutor Eric Maillaud,
who is leading the enquiry, said:
‘The victim recorded all his telephone conversations.
We therefore have some very precise details.’
Mr Maillaud said a that a bitter inheritance dispute between Saad and his
brother Zaid Al-Hilli, 54, was a key line of enquiry. Zaid was arrested in
June under suspicion of conspiracy to murder, and is currently on police
bail. He vehemently denies any wrongdoing.
Mr Maillaud said that there was a ‘real hatred ’ between the two brothers,
and that Saad carried all the documents relating to their dispute on holiday
with him to France last year. On September 5th 2012, he was killed in the
attack by a gunman, along with his wife Ikbal, 47, and her mother Suhaila
al-Allaf, 74. French cyclist Sylvain Mollier, 45, was also killed in shootings
which orphaned Saad’s daughters, Zainab, eight, and Zeena, five. A total
of 21 bullets were used in the killing, with none damaging the bodywork
of the family BMW in which the Al-Hillis were sitting. Instead, bullets
passed straight through a car window before finding their human targets.
At least five others ended up in the body of the cyclist, Mr Mollier, with the
gunman reloading at least twice, ballistics reports suggest.
‘There was a certain form of obsession’ about the inheritance dispute, said
Mr Maillaud, explaining that it concerned money and property left by the
brothers’ father, Kadhim, who died in Spain two years ago aged 85.
Mr Maillaud said that the recorded phone conversations, together with
computer records, were being studied at length, and could provide vital
clues before Zaid is re-interviewed by police in October. But British police
confirmed that Zaid was in the UK last September, and was not considered
‘the prime suspect’.
Detective superintendent Nick May said: ‘The tragic events of a year ago
left four people dead in appalling circumstances. We remain committed
to finding answers to what happened that day on behalf of their families,
particularly for the two young girls who lost their parents. This remains a
complex inquiry and we continue to have a team of officers dedicated to
supporting the investigation. We have established a good working
relationship with our French colleagues and are continuing to pursue
a number of lines of inquiry in the UK.’
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