Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Alps' victim recorded phone calls

British national Saad Al Hilli, his wife Iqbal and his mother-in-law were found murdered in their car near Chevaline in the Haute-Savoie region
British national Saad Al Hilli, his wife Iqbal and his mother-in-law were found murdered in their car near Chevaline in the Haute-Savoie region

Investigators have gleaned vital clues from recordings of phone calls made by one of the four victims of a brutal gun murder in France.

British engineer Saad al-Hilli, from Claygate in Surrey, recorded all of his telephone calls and the audio files are in the process of being analysed.

Mr al-Hilli and his wife Ikbal were gunned down on September 5 last year as they holidayed near Annecy, in south east France.

Mrs al-Hilli's mother Suhaila al-Allaf and local man Sylvain Mollier also died, and the al-Hillis' daughter Zainab was shot in the shoulder and beaten, but survived.

Annecy prosecutor Eric Maillaud said: "The victim recorded all his telephone conversations. We therefore have some very precise details."

Mr al-Hilli's brother Zaid, who is from Chessington, Surrey, is due to answer police bail next month after he was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder amid claims he doctored documents to ensure he inherited the family estate.

Mr Maillaud said the inheritance dispute remains a central line of inquiry, and they are looking into the brothers' father's property in Baghdad.

French and British investigators held a joint press conference in Annecy today to give an update on the investigation, just over a year since the family was killed. Although no charges have been brought in the case, Mr Maillaud said: "We have made great advances."

The horrific murder scene was discovered by cyclist Brett Martin who found Mr Al-Hilli, 50, his 47-year-old dentist wife and her elderly mother blasted to death in their BMW.

Zainab was ''stumbling'' around, bleeding and ''moaning'' near the car, and her four-year-old sister Zeena lay hidden under her mother's corpse and was only discovered eight hours after the murders.

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