1. ITV Report

Seven-year-old Alps shooting survivor out of coma

Zeena, four, who survived the shootings on a remote forest road near the village Chevaline, had now returned to Britain Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The seven-year-old girl who was beaten and shot in an attack in the French Alps that saw her father and mother killed, is out of a medically-induced coma and will be questioned by police as soon as possible, the French prosecutor said.

Eric Maillaud said an uncle and aunt of Zainab - who had suffered serious skull fractures in the attack - were by her side at the hospital in Grenoble.

She (Zainab) has come out of her artificial coma and she is now sedated.

– Eric Maillaud, French prosecutor

Mr Maillaud also confirmed that Zainab's younger sister, Zeena, four, who survived the shootings on a remote forest road near the village Chevaline, had now returned to Britain.

She (Zeena) returned to the UK by air. On arrival she was put under the care of the authorities and the social services.

– Eric Maillaud, French prosecutor

Zeena lay undiscovered under her mother's skirt for eight hours after her father Saad al-Hilli, 50, was killed in his car alongside his dentist wife Iqbal.

It is understood the young girl was accompanied home by an aunt and uncle, as well as a British social worker and family liaison officers from Surrey Police.

An older Swedish woman travelling in the car at the time of attack also died in the shooting, along with Sylvain Mollier, 45, a French cyclist who apparently stumbled across the incident.

French and British police have resumed their examination of Mr al-Hilli's home this morning as part of the investigation into the murders that saw each of the four victims shot twice in the head.

A British Scene of Crime Officer checks for prints at the al-Hilli family home Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Officers began a detailed search of the family's mock Tudor property yesterday as they seek to establish a motive for the murders that saw each of the four victims shot twice in the head.

Investigators have been speaking to Mr al-Hilli's brother, named in reports as Zaid Hilli, who approached UK police to deny any family feud over money.

It is also believed detectives are looking into Mr al-Hilli's profession, with reports saying that he was working as a contractor for a satellites technology company in Surrey.

Witnesses have said they saw a green four-wheel-drive vehicle in the area at the time of the killings and possibly a motorbike.

Two mobile phones found in the al-Hilli's bullet-ridden BMW are being analysed by police.

Investigators found 25 spent bullet cartridges at the scene on the outskirts of a forest near Lake Annecy, with one theory being that the shots could have been fired during a bungled armed robbery, with Mr Mollier being a witness to the crime.

A mark left on the road at the murder scene near Chevaline in the French Alps Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Speculation about other possible motives - including a pre-planned attack by professional hitmen - remained rife.

Some media reports suggested that Mr al-Hilli, an engineer who left Saddam Hussein's Iraq several years ago, was known to the security services and was put under surveillance by Metropolitan Police Special Branch during the second Gulf war.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said they could not comment. But it is understood there is no link between the deaths and any national security issues.

More on this story