Forensics teams search British home of Alps shooting victims

By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, September 8, 2012 10:50 EDT
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British scene of crime officers erect a tent outside the house in Claygate, which is the British home of a family shot dead in their car in the French Alps via AFP
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British police forensics officers on Saturday began an operation to search the home of a family shot dead in France, in company with detectives from across the Channel.

Police set up a cordon around the house in Claygate in Surrey, a quiet commuter village some 15 miles (25 kilometres) southwest of London.

Two policewomen took boxes containing equipment and evidence bags into a tent erected in the garden as the experts prepared to enter the house.

Police wore white scene of crime overalls ahead of the search, which is expected to be a joint operation with French gendarmes who flew to London on Friday.

However, no French officers were yet at the scene.

Saad al-Hilli, a 50-year-old naturalised Briton born in Iraq, his wife Ikbal and his 74-year-old mother-in-law were shot dead in a forest car park in an Alpine tourist area near Annecy in southeast France on Wednesday.

Their seven-year-old daughter Zainab was left for dead and remains in a medically induced coma after being shot and badly beaten in the attack.

Four-year-old daughter Zeena survived the attack and hid undetected for eight hours under her dead mother’s skirts.

A local man, 45-year-old Sylvain Mollier, was also killed after apparently stumbling on the attack on the family’s car.

Police plan to look at aspects of the family’s lives to try to find a motive for the murders.

A French police source told AFP the search would begin after the French investigators were briefed by British counterparts on local procedures.

The source said the search would be “very long” and would go “beyond the day”.

French and British police would also meet for a strategy session and to form investigation teams.

Sympathisers and well-wishers have been placing bouquets of flowers and other tributes including teddy-bears brought by children at the Tudor-style house since Friday.

Surrey Police said they were assisting the French authorities as they carry out a “complex” investigation.

“As part of this, the force is facilitating a visit by French investigators to conduct inquiries in the UK,” a spokesman said.

“We are unable to confirm any details around the investigation and it is inappropriate to make any further comment at this time.”

Agence France-Presse
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