Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Alps shooting girl leaves France

Police search outside the home of Saad al-Hilli in Claygate, Surrey

A schoolgirl whose parents and grandmother were gunned down in a shooting spree in the Alps has left France, sources said.

Zainab al-Hilli, seven, was placed in a medically induced coma after she was shot in the shoulder and badly beaten in the massacre which killed her three relatives last week.

The child, who is seen as one of the key witnesses in the case, left hospital at about 8am on Friday, accompanied by British police. Zainab's state of health is understood to have improved in recent days, allowing her to travel back to the UK.

A police source in Annecy said: "Zainab left France this morning at around 8am. Police from Britain accompanied the little girl."

Her departure follows that of her younger sister, Zeena, who returned to the UK last week after escaping the brutal attack unscathed. The four-year-old survived by cowering under her mother's skirts but she was only discovered eight hours after the killings.

The bodies of Saad al-Hilli, 50, his dentist wife Iqbal, 47, and her elderly mother were discovered in their family's BMW in a remote car park near Lake Annecy at around 4pm last Wednesday. Next to the vehicle lay the body of Sylvain Mollier, 45, a French cyclist who apparently stumbled across the attack.

Another cyclist - the first to arrive at the scene - has described how he spotted Zainab "stumbling" around, bleeding and "moaning" near the car.

Brett Martin, 53, likened the carnage to a set from TV crime series CSI: Miami. Speaking for the first time on Thursday, the former RAF pilot from Sussex, said he biked to the top of a hill in the Combe d'Ire forest, near Chevaline, only to find himself faced with a bloodbath.

"As I got a little bit closer, a very young child stumbled out on to the road and at first I thought she was actually just playing with her sibling because she sort of looked, from a distance, as if she was falling over, larking about like a child would," he told the BBC.

"However, as I approached her it was obvious that she was quite badly injured and there was a lot of blood on her. As I got even closer, I then saw the car with its engine revving and its wheels spinning. It seemed at that moment in time like there had been a terrible car accident."

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