Alps death fraud-accused remanded
A man charged with attempting to obtain a credit card in the name of an engineer the day after he was murdered in the French Alps has been remanded in custody.
Nigerian-born Abiodun David John, 33, is accused of eight counts of fraud by false representation after allegedly trying to get into accounts in the name of Saad al-Hilli before and after his death on September 5.
He appeared dazed and fell to the floor during the short hearing at Guildford Magistrates' Court.
Surrey Police have stressed that the fraud charges are not linked to the ongoing investigation into who murdered the Iraqi-born engineer and his wife, mother-in-law and a French cyclist.
John was charged with obtaining a pre-paid credit card using the name Andrew Craig on August 14 to load with money from the HSBC account of Mr al-Hilli. He is also accused of obtaining a Bank of America credit card in the name of al-Hilli between September 6 - the day after he was killed - and September 11.
The other charges in relation to the murdered engineer are for allegedly trying to gain control of his HSBC bank account, and attempting to open accounts in his name at Royal Bank of Scotland and internet retailer Amazon.
About 100 police officers in Britain and France are investigating the murders of engineer Mr al-Hilli, 50, his dentist wife Iqbal, 47, her elderly mother Suhaila Al-Allaf, 74, and passing cyclist Sylvain Mollier in a horrifying gun attack near Chevaline, Lake Annecy.
The couple's four-year-old daughter Zeena lay undiscovered under her mother's corpse for eight hours after the shooting, while her seven-year-old sister Zainab was found with serious injures after being shot and beaten. French investigators searched the al-Hilli family home in Claygate, Surrey, in the wake of the deaths.
Later in September, Surrey Police asked Greater Manchester Police to arrest John at an address in Alban Street, Salford, on suspicion of fraud offences. The defendant is also accused of attempting to obtain a Bank of America credit card and open an Amazon account in the name of Rodney Jones, and obtain a pre-paid credit card as Peter Mead.
John Black, defending, told the court that his client intended to plead not guilty. Lead magistrate Carol Magras remanded the defendant in custody until a further hearing at Redhill Magistrates' Court in Surrey on Tuesday.