British family brutally murdered in the Alps, not the shooter’s main target, says ex-detective

British-Iraqi family Saad al-Hilli, 50, Ms Iqbal, 47, and her mother Suhaila, 74, were shot dead in their car in September 2012 when police appeared to be closing in on the case

Video is loading

Video not available

Murder in the Alps – Panoramic Trailer – BBC One

The massacre of a British family on holiday in the French Alps has occupied investigators for 10 years.

Why were they targeted? How did the mysterious gunman track them down to the remote mountain town near Lake Annecy that they drove to on an impromptu trip? And what about the local cyclist who was shot dead next to them?

Now a former detective on the case says the cyclist was the more likely intended target – with the British-Iraqi family killed as witnesses to his killing.

Ex-DCI Mark Preston was Surrey Police Chief Investigator in the murder of Saad al-Hilli, 50, of Claygate, Surrey, Ms Iqbal, 47, and her mother Suhaila, 74.

The three were shot dead in their car at close range in September 2012. The eldest daughter, Zainab, survived after being shot once in the shoulder and pistol whipped.

Murder in the Alps starts this weekend on Channel 4


channel 4)

Youngest daughter Zeena, then four, was unharmed as she hid under her mother’s skirt in the back seat of the family car, unseen.

Cyclist, father of three, Sylvain Mollier, 45, from the nearby town of Ugine, was found dead on the ground. He was shot first and last, with more bullets than were used on any member of the family, according to ballistics evidence, Mark confirms.

When French prosecutor Eric Maillaud visited Surrey shortly afterwards, he said the answer to the case lay in Britain.

Suspicion fell on Saad’s older brother Zaid, with whom there had been an inheritance dispute.

Now Mark, who has since left the police force, fears that crucial lines of investigation in the case were completed too soon. Speaking ahead of a three-part documentary, Murder in the Alps, which launched on Channel 4, he said: “Why were the al-Hillis killed?

The case is still unsolved after ten years


AFP/Getty Images)

“In my view, Mollier’s aim was to obfuscate and confuse any investigation. That’s why the shooter used so many bullets. Whoever was in that parking lot was going to die.”

Mark admits he was surprised when the French prosecutor went public with his hasty conclusions, leaving him little room to backtrack later when the evidence showed otherwise.

For all the attention given to the foreign family, whose Iraqi background made them more intriguing to his French counterparts, far less was done to investigate the idea that Mollier was the person the gunman intended to kill.

Saad Al-Hilli’s family left their home in Surrey for their favorite holiday spot in France in September 2012


family archive)

Mark says, “Since there is no motive to suggest that Saad or Iqbal are the targets, and the crime scene evidence does not indicate that the al-Hillis were the target, we are left with two theories: one is a lone fighter, or Mollier was.” the goal.

The lack of evidence or sightings to suggest a single gunman was involved makes this far less likely than Mollier was the target, given that he was shot first, most often and last.

“In my view, Mollier as an intended victim has not been scrutinized as closely as al-Hillis as an intended victim.

“I think the depth with which we delved into the al-Hillis reached the point where we could absolutely prove they weren’t the targets. Mollier still had questions.”

What actually happened at the crime scene is still a mystery


Phillip Harris)

Saad’s brother Zaid was arrested on Mark’s orders in 2013, although the ex-detective now says it was mainly so the Iraqi-born accountant could be formally disbarred from investigations.

Detectives focused on Saad and Zaid having a physical confrontation and the fact that Saad had a taser at the Claygate house.

In the documentary, Zaid, who now lives on the coast after leaving his flat in Chessington, Surrey, speaks of his suffering after being accused so early.

There were also theories that Saad could have been a spy because of his work as a satellite engineer, or even killed because of her father’s past life in Iraq.

But Mark quickly concluded that none of these theories stood up to scrutiny, but he explored them to make sure there was no doubt.

Ikbal Al-Hilli and Saad Al-Hilli were gunned down in 2012


family archive)

He says: “I knew that the public, French investigators and some English investigators would never feel comfortable moving on to anything else until we had exhausted everything we could.

“We had to close that door. I don’t like the impact on Zaid but if we hadn’t done that he would still be an official suspect today.

“Would I do something differently? no Did I believe that Zaid was responsible? no Was there a reason for his arrest? Yes.

“I hope Zaid now understands why we did this.”

Mark’s focus shifted to France and in June 2013, nine months after the murders, he visited the crime scene in Chevaline, near the Swiss and Italian borders.

He says: “I had doubts that al-Hillis could be the target given the geography of the scene, but I couldn’t formalize those thoughts until I went there myself. I held that thought in reserve until I got there.”

The al-Hillis had driven to the site on the recommendation of the owner of a nearby lakeside campground where they were staying in their trailer.

Mark says, “Even on the drive up, I was like, ‘This just doesn’t feel right’, the idea of ​​the al-Hillis being followed from the campsite – especially later when it turned out to be an impromptu drive .

The Mirror’s newsletter brings you the latest news, exciting showbiz and TV stories, sports updates and important political information.

The newsletter is sent by e-mail first thing in the morning at 12 noon and first thing in the evening.

Don’t miss a moment by subscribing to our newsletter here.

“When I got to the scene, I thought it was a far more unlikely theory that they were the intended target.”

He adds: “I think the shooter was somewhat lucky with the amount of confusion caused by the make-up of the British-Iraqi family, who happened to be on holiday. It helps the killer massively.

“They were shot execution style, the daughter was attacked and at first glance anyone would imagine they were the intended targets, with Mollier being a witness rather than taking out one person and possibly dispatching four witnesses.

“It’s not in our experience for that to happen, but sometimes you have to look outside of the norm when you’re investigating.”

He hopes the documentary will persuade someone who knows what really happened to come forward. He adds: “I was very surprised and disappointed that we never saw the investigation into Mollier in depth.

“The French have given me many assurances that they conducted a thorough investigation into whether Mollier is the intended target, but I have never seen the documentary evidence that that was the case. Certainly not to the extent that we had dealt with the al-Hillis.

“I think time can be a crucial factor in solving a crime like this. I have a feeling someone, somewhere, knows what happened. Time may prompt them to inform the police. Someone’s guilt over two orphans and the extraordinary stress experienced by Zaid – who lost his brother and was convicted because he is of British-Iraqi descent – might prompt someone to do the right thing. That’s the hope”

Continue reading

Continue reading British family brutally murdered in the Alps, not the shooter's main target, says ex-detective

Fry Electronics Team

Fry is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button