French police have again arrested a suspect in connection with the massacre of a British family and a French cyclist in the Alps in 2012 after “discovering irregularities” in his statement.
In a dramatic development for what many considered a cold case, a source in Annecy in eastern France on Wednesday confirmed that “the man was placed in custody at 8:05 a.m. and interrogated at length” in connection with a wild attack in the Alps.
The police are investigating inconsistencies in the unnamed man’s original testimony and are investigating his alibi, “the source said.
Surrey businessman Saad al-Hilli (50), his wife Iqbal (47) and his mother-in-law Suhaila al-Allaf (74) were shot dead when they tried to escape from the area on September 5, 2012 in their BMW car.
French cyclist Sylvain Mollier (45) also died in a bloodbath after being shot seven times in the immediate vicinity.
Al-Hillis’ daughter, Zeena, four years old, hid in the footwell of the vehicle and remained uninjured, while her sister Zainab (7) was shot and beaten, but recovered well.
French police have re-arrested a suspect in connection with the massacre of a British family and a French cyclist in the Alps in 2012 after “discovering irregularities” in his statement (pictured at the scene).
Saad al-Hilli, 50, his wife Iqbal, 47, (pictured along with his daughter Zainab) and his mother-in-law Suhaila al-Allaf, 74, were shot dead as they tried to escape from the area in their BMW car. September 5, 2012. Their two daughters Zeena and Zainab survived the attack
Surrey businessman Saad al-Hilli, 50, (left), his wife Iqbal, 47, and his mother-in-law Suhaila al-Allaf, 74 (right), also died in a bloodbath in September 2012, along with local cyclist Sylvian Mollier (45).
Annecy Prosecutor Line Bonnet said in a statement: “The person was taken into custody on January 12, 2022 at 8:05 a.m. by Chambery investigators in connection with the assassination of the Al Hilli and Sylvain Mollier family.”
He was said to have “lived in a pair” of houses in the Lyon area, and searches of his home and surrounding properties continued.
Despite investigations around the world, those responsible were never caught, leading to allegations that the French now find it unsolvable.
But Line Bonnet-Mathis, Annecy’s prosecutor, confirmed that the investigation was still very active.
Referring to the village closest to the scene at the end of last year, she said: “The Chevaline case continues and still concerns the investigating judge and investigators.”
Ms Bonnet-Mathis said that “preserving physical evidence” is a priority and that “this is not a cold case for us.”
She confirmed that criminologists from the Chambery’s gendarmerie research section had returned to the scene.
In November 2015, a motorcyclist involved in the murders was excluded from the investigation.
One of the clues in tracking down the man was that he was wearing an unusual helmet, of which only a few thousand were made.
However, the motorcyclist said he was on his way home after a paragliding trip and was excluded from the investigation.
At the time, it was described as a major obstacle for the police, who focused much of their attention on the motorcyclist.
Mr al-Hilli’s brother, Zaid al-Hilli, was arrested in June 2013, but was released without charge.
Surrey police said there was not enough evidence to charge the then 54-year-old from Chessington, Surrey.
Caravan and tent used by Saad al-Hilli and his family on holiday at Le Solitaire du Lac at Lake Annecy (file photo)
In early 2021, detectives said they were investigating a possible link between the murders and a Paris-based criminal gang of assassins.
The pistol bullets found in the house of a member, a former police intelligence officer, were the same caliber as those fired by an antique Luger PO6 used to kill Al-Hillis.
Investigators believe that if the gang was involved, it was more likely that the main target was Mr. Mollier.
He was a welder in a subsidiary of the nuclear energy group Areva, but the motive for becoming a target was probably the tension in his personal life, they said.
Confused, French investigators considered a number of other possible reasons for the attacks.
These range from Mr Al-Hilli’s past life in Iraq, including potential financial ties to the late dictator Saddam Hussein, to the claim that the “lone wolf” psychopath was responsible for the accidental attack.
However, none of the many theories about the so-called Alpine murders have survived, which means that no criminal charges have been brought.
Earlier in 2021, detectives (pictured on the spot in September 2021) said they were investigating a possible link between the murders and a Paris-based gang of assassins.
Magistrates, accompanied by police forensic officers, closed the area near Lake Annecy in September 2021