French Alps murders: Timeline of how unsolved gun murder of British family unfolded

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Saad al-Hilli killed in September 2012 alongside his wife and mother-in-law
Saad al-Hilli killed in September 2012 alongside his wife and mother-in-law

A man has been arrested in connection with the unsolved 2012 of a British family in the French Alps.

Saad al-Hilli, an Iraqi-born engineer, his wife Ikbal, and his mother-in-law Suhaila al-Allaf were gunned down near Lake Annecy in the Haute-Savoie region of France.

A French cyclist, Sylvain Mollier, was also killed while Mr al-Hilli’s two young daughters survived the attack.

Police said Wednesday that a man had been arrested in connection with the killing.

Here is a timeline of one of France’s most notorious unsolved cases:

2012

The three family members, who had been on holiday, were found in their car in a lay-by at the beauty spot by a British ex-RAF pilot, having been shot twice in the head each.

Mr Mollier, 45, a French father of three was shot up to seven times, including twice in the head. Both of the al-Hilli daughters, then aged seven and four, survived the attack.

2013

Mr al-Hilli’s brother Zaid is briefly arrested in 2013 in connection with the quadruple murder after police established a joint French-British team to probe the killings.

Prosecutors said at the time they needed to ask him questions about “his schedule, his relationship with his brother and the family inheritance”. However, no charges were brought and he was released without further action in 2014.

2014

A former policeman is arrested after an appeal is issued of a man in a motorcycle helmet. The 48-year-old is ruled out of involvement in the killings but was charged with weapons offences.

The motorcyclist was also later identified and ruled out as a passer-by.

2017

After five years of investigating the case, French prosecutors said in September 2017 that they are “a bit discouraged and worried” at not having managed to achieve a breakthrough.

Prosecutor Veronique Dizot tells media the family may have been victims of an “unfortunate encounter”.

2021

French authorities take a fresh look at the long-running case, with magistrates accompanied by police forensics attending the scene in October.

They were said to be carrying out work including “examining inconsistencies in the testaments of witnesses” linked to the marathon enquiry.

2022

French police make a new arrest in connection with the killings. Few details are given, but officers say they are questioning the man “in order to do verifications regarding his schedule".

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