Alps massacre victims shot in head

Alps massacre victims shot in head

A gendarme blocks access to the site where four people were shot dead near Chevaline in the French Alps (AP)

Gendarmes guard the camp where the British family were holidaying at Saint Jorioz, near Annecy (AP)

A car drives through the entrance of the campground where the British family were holidaying in Saint Jorioz, near Annecy (AP)

First published in National News © by

Three of the four people shot dead when a gunman opened fire on a British family in the French Alps were hit in the middle of the head, it has been revealed

Public prosecutor Eric Maillaud described the attack, which left the driver, two women and a passing cyclist dead, as an act of "gross savagery".

A four-year-old girl was found alive underneath the bodies of her family around eight hours after the massacre. And a seven-year-old girl, thought to be her sister, was found violently beaten and is in a coma, fighting for her life.

The four-year-old lay undiscovered as police waited for forensic experts to arrive at the scene from Paris. She was found "terrorised, motionless, in the midst of the bodies" after fellow campers at a nearby site told officers the family had two children, Mr Maillaud said.

A man and two women - believed to be the girls' mother, father and an older relative - were in the British-registered BMW, which was riddled with bullets. The man was named by French media as Saad al-Hilli, from Claygate, near Esher in Surrey. Mr al-Hilli was behind the wheel at the time of the attack.

Mr Maillaud refused to confirm the man's name but revealed that he was 50 years old, was originally from Iraq and held British citizenship.

Mr al-Hilli's family were named by neighbours as wife Iqbal and daughters Zainab, seven, and Zeena, four. The older woman is believed to be was Iqbal's mother.

A British cyclist, a former member of the RAF, who stumbled upon the shocking scene and spotted the seven-year-old lying in the road, placed her in the recovery position.

Police said the motive for the attack remained a mystery but revealed there were signs of a vehicle braking at the scene. Mr Maillaud also revealed that Swedish and Iraqi passports had been recovered along with the driver's British passport.

The media gathered outside Mr al-Hilli's home in Claygate, Surrey, on Thursday afternoon. Two plain-clothed police officers stood outside the two-storey detached house before three uniformed officers arrived. Two of the officers entered a gate at the side of the property.

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