French Alps shooting: Cyclist gives public account
THE cyclist who was first at the scene of the murder of four people, including three members of a British family, has spoken of the horror he encountered in a rural French car park.
• Brett Martin was the first to arrive at the scene of the shooting
• Prosecutor Eric Maillaud tells reporters ‘reasons for shooting lay in this country’
Brett Martin was speaking as French prosectors arrived in the UK and said the motives for the murders have their origins in this country.
Saad al-Hilli, 50, his wife Iqbal, 47, and her mother Suhaila al-Saffar, 74, were killed along with passing cyclist Sylvain Mollier, 45, in Annecy, France, last week.
Mr Martin, who was formerly in the RAF, said the massacre was “something I never in my life expected to come across”.
“As I got closer a young girl stumbled out onto the road,” he said.
“At first I thought she was playing with her sibling, it looked from a distance like she was larking about.
“But as I approached her it was clear she was badly injured with blood on her.
“It seemed like there had been a terrible car accident.”
The girl, Zainab al-Hilli, seven, had just been orphaned following the murder of her parents.
Her sister Zeena, four, would hide in the car for another eight hours. Zainab had to be placed in a medically-induced coma, although she has since woken up.
Mr Martin said: “She was prone on the road, moaning, semi-conscious.
“She was in front of the car with the wheels spinning and my immediate thought was that she had to be moved before the car lurched forward.
“I put her in the recovery position as best I could and then asked her to stay there.
“She was very severely injured - in and out of consciousness.
“She had quite a lot of blood (on her) and some very obvious wounds - bad head injuries.
“It seemed the best thing that could be done for her was to put her into the recovery position and then move on to the other people.”
Zainab had suffered a bullet wound to her shoulder, but the three people in the car, and Mr Mollier had all be shot twice in the head. Police later revealed all four had been shot with the same gun.
“At first I thought there had been a terrible accident between a cyclist and a car, but there were things that did not quite match.
“As the minutes went on I suddenly changed my opinion that it had been a car accident to something else.”
Turning to the BMW, he swiftly realised there was nothing he could do for its occupants.
“The thing that struck me was their complete inanimate nature, which was how I assessed really, without breaking into the car and physically handling them, that they were dead,” he said.
Police believe the al-Hilli family were targeted and the French cyclist was in the wrong place at the wrong time and killed so he could not be a witess.
French prosecutor Eric Maillaud told reporters outside Woking police station it was “without any doubt that the reasons and causes have their origins in this country”.
He added: “It is only by being together that we will find the murderers.”
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