Annecy shootings: British father named as Saad al-Hilli

Sep 6, 2012

Family shot dead in car park near Lake Annecy in the French Alps were from Claygate in London

THE BRITISH father shot dead along with his family near Lake Annecy in the French Alps has been named as 50-year-old Saad al-Hilli from Claygate in Greater London.

The Iraqi-born father, mother and grandmother were found dead in a BMW in a secluded car park in the village of Chevaline. A passing French cyclist was also shot dead at the scene. Three of the four victims - the father, grandmother and cyclist - had been shot in the middle of the head.

A seriously wounded eight-year-old girl was found on the ground near the UK-registered car, and she is now fighting for her life in hospital in Grenoble. Her four-year-old sister was found, unharmed, beneath the legs of her mother eight hours after the bodies were first discovered. Both children are under "extremely high" protection.

The family had been staying at Le Solitaire du Lac campsite in Saint-Jorioz, where fellow tourists said they had kept themselves to themselves. They arrived at the campsite at the end of August. Media reports suggest al-Hilli had been the secretary of Wiltshire-based aerial photography company AMS 1087 since 2007.

Currently, the motive for the killing remains a mystery and no weapon has been found. Local news website says some villagers have reported seeing a car, possibly containing the killer or killers, leaving the area at high speed yesterday afternoon.

Sky News's Robert Nisbet said: "One theory is they may have been the victims of an armed robbery.

"A number of bullet casings were recovered at the scene, described by police as characteristic of an 'assassination'."

A police source told the French Europe 1 radio station that current theories included the possibility that the family were "the victims of an armed robbery or that they disturbed a drug deal".

Meanwhile, the French cyclist found dead at the scene was been named as Sylvain Mollier, a father of three from Ugine in Savoie.

Britain’s vice-ambassador in Paris has been to see the severely injured girl at her hospital bedside in Grenoble before visiting the scene of the killings. A statement issued by the British Embassy said: “We have no information to suggest that there is a wider threat to UK nationals as a result of this incident.”

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