Alps murders: Home searched for 4th day

2012-09-11 20:29

Claygate - French and British police spent a fourth day on Tuesday searching the home of a British-Iraqi family who were brutally gunned down in the French Alps.

A source close to the inquiry said detectives had on Tuesday opened a safe at the home of the Hilli family in Claygate, Surrey, a wealthy commuter village some 25km southwest of London.

The contents of the safe were not disclosed. Police were also questioning Zaid al-Hilli - the brother of victim Saad al-Hilli - for a fourth day straight, added the source, who praised the co-operation between British police and the French gendarmes supervising.

A Surrey Police spokesperson said: "Specialist search teams are continuing an extensive search of the property. We are continuing to assist the French authorities and are providing any help we can."


Saad al-Hilli, 50, his 47-year-old wife Iqbal and her 74-year-old mother were found dead in their car in a forest car park near the village of Chevaline, southeast France, last Wednesday.

A passing French cyclist, 45-year-old Sylvain Mollier, was also killed.

The Hillis's daughter Zainab, aged seven, was seriously wounded and her four-year-old sister Zeena escaped by hiding under her dead mother's skirts.

Zeena went undiscovered for some eight hours after the car was first found.

Police have not revealed any of their findings from their search of Saad and Iqbal al-Hilli's large detached house in leafy Claygate. The search is set to continue until Thursday or Friday.

Saad al-Hilli, who was raised in Britain after his family left Iraq in the 1970s, worked in the aerospace industry.

Inheritance questions

Police have been questioning Zaid al-Hilli, who also lives in Surrey, since Saturday following speculation that the killings may have been related to a family row over inheritance.

Zaid has not been arrested and police are treating him as a witness. His evidence is being considered all the more valuable as he is one of the few people to have maintained close, regular contact with his brother.

Detectives have not commented on reports of a dispute between the brothers over the will left by their father, who died in Spain last year.

Four French detectives, led by Colonel Marc de Tarle, the French gendarmerie's head of criminal affairs, are currently overseeing the investigations in Britain.