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Lake sealed off near scene where Brit family were killed in unsolved gun attack

French investigators are carrying out inquiries after the development on the Alpine road. It comes after magistrates accompanied by police forensics officers cordoned off the area near Lake Annecy

Lake Annecy in France has been sealed off

A lake near the scene where a British family was killed in an unsolved gun attack nine years ago has been sealed off.

French investigators are today carrying out inquiries after the development on the Alpine road.

It comes after magistrates accompanied by police forensics officers cordoned off the area near Lake Annecy.

The British family was killed on September 5, 2012, and despite extensive inquiries over the year, the individual or gang responsible has not been found.

Surrey businessman Saad al-Hilli, 50, his wife Iqbal, 47, and his mother-in-law Suhaila al-Allaf, 74, were gunned down as they tried to escape the area in their BMW car.

French cyclist Sylvain Mollier, 45, also died in the bloodbath, after being shot seven times at point-blank range.



The family was killed in 2012
(

Image:

Jonathan Buckmaster)




The Al-Hillis’ daughter, Zeena, four, hid in the footwell of the vehicle and was unscathed, while her sister, Zainab, seven, was shot and beaten but made a good recovery.

But Line Bonnet-Mathis, who has just been appointed Annecy Prosecutor, confirmed that the inquiry was still very much active.

Referring to the nearest hamlet to the crime scene, she said: “The Chevaline case is continuing, and still involves an investigating judge and investigators.”



Despite extensive inquiries, the individual or gang responsible has not been caught
(

Image:

Jonathan Buckmaster)




Ms Bonnet-Mathis said the “preservation of physical evidence” was a priority and “for us, this is not a cold case”.

She confirmed that forensics officers from the research section of the Chambery gendarmerie were back at the scene.

They were accompanied by local magistrates who had obtained an order to shut the road down for two 24-hour periods, from Wednesday to Friday evening.



Flowers left at the scene of the shooting nine years ago
(

Image:

Jonathan Buckmaster)




Their work was being carried out under conditions of strict secrecy, with all traffic, including aircraft flying above, banned by court order.

“It’s a chance for the new legal team to examine elements of the case, including inconsistencies in the testaments of witnesses,” said another investigating source.

Asked if reconstruction was taking place, the source said: “Not technically – it’s more a chance for the team to familiarise themselves with the scene.”

Earlier this year, detectives said they were investigating a possible link between the murders and a bungling gang of contract killers based in Paris.

Pistol rounds found at the home of one member – a former police intelligence officer – were of the same calibre as those fired by the antique Luger PO6 used to kill the Al-Hillis.

If the gang was involved, it would be more likely that Mr Mollier was the primary target, investigators believe.

He was a welder in a subsidiary of the Areva nuclear power group, but tensions in his personal life are more likely to have provided a motive for him being targeted, they said.







Baffled French investigators have considered numerous other potential reasons for the attacks.

These range from Mr Al-Hilli’s past life in Iraq, including potential financial links to the late dictator Saddam Hussein, to claims that a ‘lone wolf’ psychopath was responsible for a random attack.

But none of the numerous theories surrounding the so-called Alps Murders have stuck, meaning there have been no criminal indictments.


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