17 Nov 2012

Police still have no motive for French Alps killings

9:00 pm on 17 November 2012

The police in France investigating the shooting of a British family who were on holiday in the French Alps now believe they were the victims of a random killer.

An Iraqi-born British man, Saad al-Hilli, his wife and her mother were found shot dead in his car near Lake Annecy in September.

A French cyclist was also killed in the attack but Mr and Mrs al-Hilli's daughters Zainab and Zeena survived the shootings.

The investigating prosecutor, Eric Maillaud, told the BBC it was unlikely to be a contract killing.

He said police still have no motive for the killings.

"When I have the motive, then I'll have my suspect. But for now, all lines of inquiry remain open."

The gendarmerie officers are working around the clock on the case, but it is a hugely complex inquiry.

It spans seven countries; France, Switzerland, Italy, the UK, Sweden and Spain, where Mr al-Hilli's father had an apartment.

Statements have been taken from about 800 witnesses, thousands of hours of film and images from the toll booths and roadside cameras have to be analysed, and of course, there is the forensic evidence.

Mr Maillaud added: "Without doubt we are looking for someone who has killed before, someone who puts no value on human life.

"We are not sure whether that means it's a professional hit but if it was done on a contract it was very badly done."