French Alps shooting: massacre like CSI episode, says witness

Surrey Police Assistant Chief Constable Robert Price (L) speaks to the media. Picture: Getty
Surrey Police Assistant Chief Constable Robert Price (L) speaks to the media. Picture: Getty
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A CYCLIST who discovered the massacre of a British family in the Alps feared “some nutter” with a gun was still at the scene and would shoot him next.

Brett Martin, a former RAF pilot, has been praised for saving the life of Zainab al-Hilli, seven, who was orphaned in the attack.

Mr Martin revealed he faced a terrible dilemma when he realised his phone had no reception and he had to leave the unconscious child so he could go and call for help.

Meanwhile, French prosecutors have arrived in the UK and said that the origins of the motives for the murders lie in this 
country.

Saad al-Hilli, 50, his wife Iqbal, 47, from Surrey, her mother 
Suhaila al-Saffar, 74, from Sweden, and passing French cyclist Sylvain Mollier, 45, were shot twice in the head in the 
massacre.

Police believe Mr Mollier was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was killed because he witnessed the murder of the family.

Mr Martin had been passed by the French cyclist earlier, and arrived at the scene not long after the murders had taken place.

“I was getting a little anxious,” he said. “I then started scanning the woods to see if there was some nutter, or who knows what, with a gun and I was going to be the next person shot.”

He likened the carnage in the secluded car park to a set from TV crime series CSI.

One of the first things he saw was Zainab “stumbling” around, bleeding and “moaning”, close to the family car.

“It was the sort of thing you would never in your life expect to come across,” he said. “As I approached the scene, the first thing I saw was a bike on its side. I had seen the cyclist ahead of me much earlier so I thought he was just having a rest.

“As I got a little bit closer, a very young child stumbled out on to the road and at first I thought she was actually just playing with her sibling because she sort of looked, from a distance, as if she was falling over, larking about like a child would.

“However, as I approached her, it was obvious that she was quite badly injured and there was a lot of blood on her. As I got even closer, I then saw the car with its engine revving and its wheels spinning. It seemed at that moment in time like there had been a terrible car accident.”

But then the truth began to dawn. “It was pretty much what you would imagine a set from [TV crime series] CSI Miami would be like,” he said.

“There was a lot of blood and heads with bullet holes in them.”

He moved Zainab’s body from in front of the car, fearing it would lurch forward, and placed her in the recovery position. Minutes later, she fell unconscious.

Mr Martin moved on to treat Mr Mollier, using basic medical skills gleaned during his RAF training. “It seemed to me like he was probably dead,” he said. The occupants of the BMW were in a similar state. “The thing that struck me was their complete inanimate nature,” he said.

Mr Martin broke the driver’s window to switch off the car’s engine.

He wanted to call for help but had no reception on his mobile phone.

The former serviceman, a father himself, realised he would have to leave the scene to make the call but this left him with a dilemma – whether to take 
Zainab with him, or leave her where she lay.

Fearing he could do more damage – and possibly kill her – by lifting her, he set off on his bike. “This wasn’t a very comfortable decision to have to make,” he said.