Meeting over Alps killings 'productive'

2012-09-14 11:17

London - British police have hailed "extremely productive" talks with the French prosecutor and the judge leading the probe into the killing of a British family in the French Alps last week.

The attack on  5 September near the village of Chevaline saw Saad al-Hilli, his wife Iqbal, her mother and Frenchman Sylvain Mollier - a passing cyclist - shot dead.

The Hillis' 7-year-old daughter Zainab has been hospitalised since suffering serious head injuries in the attack which 4-year-old sister Zeena survived by hiding under the skirts of the dead women.

Surrey Police said in a statement on Thursday that they had met with French prosecutor Eric Maillaud, who is in charge of the investigation, along with judge Michel Mollin, members of the French paramilitary police and of the Britain's Crown Prosecution Service.

The statement said that "progress had been made in relation to a number of issues arising from the challenges and complexities of an enquiry across two judicial processes.

"The meeting built on the already established strong working relationships between all parties involved," the statement added.

'Cause lies in Britain'

It said that the meeting had been "extremely productive".

Maillaud said earlier on Thursday, after arriving in Surrey, southeast England where the Hilli family lived, that the cause of the killings lay in Britain.

"We are perfectly aware that Annecy is just the chance location of this drama and that it seems that the origin, the causes and the explanation are here," he told journalists in the town of Woking in Surrey.

Meanwhile Swedish legal documents obtained by AFP in Stockholm said Suhaila Al-Allaf, the mother of Iqbal al-Hilli and the oldest victim of the shooting, had for years suffered from beatings at the hands of her mentally unstable son.

Haydar Thaher, aged 46, had repeatedly "insulted, threatened and beaten his parents over a very long time", said one document.

Police had been called out to their home in the southern suburbs of Stockholm eight times between 2001 and 2007. Thaher still lived at home because of mental health problems, the documents added.

No relevance

But a source close to the French-led inquiry into the shootings said on Thursday that "it was not worth focusing" on this new Swedish angle.

"It's not relevant," he said.

The source also said that Maillaud and the judge would return to France on Friday.