French police have confessed to contaminating evidence from the massacre of a British family in the French Alps with their own DNA.
Annecy chief prosecutor Eric Maillaud admitted to the blunder yesterday after reports that the genetic trace could belong to the person who killed the al-Hilli family almost seven months ago.
The DNA was found on a bullet casing touched by a police forensics expert at the crime scene, near the village of Chevaline.
The discovery of the unidentified sample last week raised hopes among investigators that they had made a breakthrough in the unsolved crime.
Mr Maillaud said : “We now know this is not the DNA of the killer. It is from a ballistics expert who came into contact with the bullet casing while it was being analysed. It is sometimes essential to touch the evidence with bare hands.”