Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Alps shooting girl returns to UK

The al-Hilli family home in Claygate, Surrey, which is being searched by police
Police search teams leave the home of the French shooting victims in Claygate, Surrey
A police officer lays flowers outside the home of the victims

A four-year-old girl who witnessed her parents gunned down in the French Alps has returned to the UK, while her older sister is no longer in a coma, investigators have said.

Saad al-Hilli, 50, was killed in his car alongside his dentist wife, Iqbal, on Wednesday while the couple's four-year-old daughter Zeena lay undiscovered under her mother's corpse for eight hours and her sister Zainab narrowly escaped death after being shot and beaten.

Zeena has flown back to the UK after two relatives travelled to France alongside a British social worker and family liaison officers from Surrey Police.

Meanwhile, her sister Zainab, seven, has now come out of a medically-induced coma but remains under sedation.

An older Swedish woman travelling in the car also died in the shooting, with Sylvain Mollier, 45, a French cyclist who apparently stumbled across the attack in the Combe d'Ire forest near Chevaline.

Zeena has spoken to police and confirmed that two of the victims were her parents, but said she did not know the Swedish woman very well.

Public prosecutor Eric Maillaud told reporters: "She (Zeena) returned to the UK by air. On arrival she was put under the care of the authorities and the social services."

Mr Maillaud said he did not know the location where she was being housed.

Commenting on the progress made by key witness Zainab, he said: "The young girl is out of the artificial coma but she is sedated and therefore still can't be heard from."

The seven-year-old is expected to be interviewed by police as soon as doctors allow it, but Mr Maillaud could not say how long that may be.

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