French prosecutors investigating murders of British-Iraqi family 'close to breakthrough'

Brother of victim, who was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder, appears in a new Channel 4 docuseries exploring the killings

Zaid Al Hilli appears in the new Channel 4 docuseries, 'Murder in the Alps' that looks into the death of his brother.  Photo: Channel 4
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Prosecutors investigating the murders of the British-Iraqi Al Hilli family in the French Alps are on the cusp of a breakthrough, 10 years after the killings shocked the world, a new documentary claims.

Saad Al Hilli, 50, his wife Iqbal, 47, and her mother Suhaila Al Allaf, 74, were shot dead at close range while holidaying in the picturesque Lake Annecy resort on September 5, 2012. Sylvain Mollier, 45, a local cyclist, was also killed, apparently after arriving at the scene.

The couple’s eldest daughter Zainab, aged 7 at the time, was shot and beaten but managed to survive, while her sister Zeena, 4, escaped unharmed by hiding under their mother’s skirt, unbeknown to the assassin.

In total, 25 shots were fired.

The killings transfixed the world and have been the subject of extensive international investigations but, despite police exploring multiple lines of inquiry, the perpetrator has yet to be found. Now, as the 10th anniversary approaches, Annecy’s public prosecutor offered hope of a turning point in the new Channel 4 docuseries Murder in the Alps.

“I think we’re nearly there,” the prosecutor said in the three-part series that delves into the mysterious murders.

Journalists are shown the scene where members of the Al Hilli family were shot dead, in France. PA/Getty

Al Hilli, an Iraq-born engineer, lived in Surrey, south-east England, with his family. His past life and potential financial links to the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein gave rise to claims he could have been the main target of a planned attack.

In the early days, police in Britain focused their investigation on Al Hilli’s feud with his brother Zaid. The pair had fallen out over the ownership of a family property in Surrey and, at the time of the murders, were communicating only through their solicitors.

The brother was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder but released without charge after being questioned by police in Surrey. He denied having any involvement in the killings.

Appearing in the docuseries, Zaid described how he had spent the day of his brother’s murder in the seaside town of Worthing in West Sussex with a friend.

“It was just a normal day for me,” he said.

“Of course I got to know later how things were happening. A lovely day sort of later on turned out to be completely the opposite.

The third episode of Murder in the Alps airs on Channel Four in at 9pm, UK time, on Tuesday June 28. Episodes are available to watch on channel4.com.

Updated: June 28, 2022, 12:10 PM
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