French police release man held over Alps murders

No charges are being brought against a man arrested in connection with the killing of Saad al-Hilli and his family, French prosecutors have said. The 48-year-old has been released from police custody.

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Alps police sketch led to arrest of 48-year-old man

by - Europe Correspondent
Police issued this sketch last year. Credit: Police

When the police issued the above photo-fit image last year, they received around 100 phone calls from the public.

A number of those phone calls led them to the 48-year-old man they now have in custody - someone who has spent 20 years as a police officer, acting more as a traffic officer than a criminal officer.

He left the police force in 2013 and has since gone on to work in the security industry in Switzerland.

A large number of guns and grenades have been seized from properties linked to the man since his arrest.

Alps police angry that image of arrested man leaked

The 48-year-old man could be involved in arms trafficking, a French prosecutor said.

In a press conference today, French police investigating the Alps murders expressed their anger that the above image of a 48-year-old man currently in custody had been leaked to the media.

He was a hunter who lived close to the scene of the crime and was known to have an interest in collecting WWII guns, the prosecutor said.

He was not abroad at the time of the killings and it would have been logistically possible, given his movements, to have been in the area when the murders were committed.

A Luger weapon found at his house was not the same as the one used to kill the al-Hilli family, the prosecutor said.

Second arrest in Alps case 'could be arms trafficker'

A second man is in custody in connection with the Alps murders, a French prosecutor said today.

"We discovered a great number of munitions, explosives and detonators at his house," he added, saying the man may be involved in arms trafficking and was likely the business partner of a 48-year-old man arrested earlier.

He could not confirm a direct link between the arrest and the al-Hilli deaths.

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Zaid al-Hilli: Alps murder arrest 'is better than nothing'

Zaid al-Hilli pictured last year. Credit: ITV News

The brother of Alps murder victim Saad al-Hilli said the arrest of a 48-year-old - believed to be a former policeman - in connection with the killing, is "better than nothing".

Last month Zaid al-Hilli, who was arrested in connection with the shooting, had his bail cancelled by Surrey Police after the force decided there was not enough evidence to charge him with a crime.

Asked on Sky News whether this arrest, if it leads to a prosecution, would bring closure to him, he replied: "Well of course, I mean, anything is better than nothing. We'll see what happens. We can't raise our hopes."

Alps murders investigation gains momentum

by - Diplomatic Correspondent

There is a gathering sense here tonight that this investigation is finally gaining momentum. This was a crime, which of course shocked, but quite swiftly seemed to baffle police, as they searched for a motive and then it seemed to frustrate them, as they searched for evidence.

As much as French investigators are trying to play down events here, they say the man being questioned here is being questioned as a witness, not as a suspect but it is really hard to disguise the idea that a breakthrough might be imminent.

The man we know was a former policeman. It has been reported by French media that weapons were found at his home. French police have four days to question him before charging but tomorrow the prosecutor is talking about holding a press conference. That suggests there is something significant to say.

Man held over Alps murders 'is former policeman'

A 48-year-old man arrested in connection with the the killings of a British engineer and his family in France is believed to be a former policeman.

Saad al-Hilli and his wife Ikbal, from Claygate in Surrey, and her mother Suhaila al-Allaf, who lived in Sweden, were all fatally shot on a remote forest road in Chevaline near Annecy on September 5 2012. Local cyclist Sylvain Mollier was also murdered.

Cheverlaine near Annecy in the Haute-Savoie region of south-eastern France. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Archive/Press Association Images

French police today arrested a 48-year-old man, from the Haute-Savoie region of France, in connection with the killings.

According to local media, the man is a former municipal policeman who lived close to the scene of the murders in Chevaline. Investigators were said to be looking into places that he had frequented.

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