Arrest in unsolved case of three Britons and cyclist shot dead in French Alps in 2012

Saad al-Hilli was shot dead with his wife and mother-in-law. Credit: handout

A person has been arrested in connection with the unsolved case of three British people and a cyclist shot dead in the French Alps almost a decade ago.

Saad al-Hilli, a 50-year-old satellite engineer, and his wife Iqbal, 47, from Surrey, were shot dead near Lake Annecy, in the French Alps, in 2012, along with Mrs al-Hilli's 74-year-old mother.

The family had been on a camping trip in the country.

The scene of the fatal shooting in the French Alps. Credit: ITV News

The al-Hillis' seven-year-old daughter Zainab was shot in the shoulder and beaten, but survived, while her four-year-old sister Zeena lay hidden under her mother's corpse and was only discovered eight hours after the murders.

French cyclist Sylvain Mollier, 45, who was a father-of-three, also died in the incident, after being shot seven times at point-blank range.

The prosecutor in Annecy said on Wednesday an arrest has been made in connection to the case, with French media reporting house searches are taking place.

Prosecutor Line Bonnet-Mathis said: “A person was taken into custody on January 12, 2022 at 8:05 am by the research section of Chambéry in connection with the assassination of the al-Hilli family and Sylvain Mollier”.

Last year, French investigators returned to where the British family were killed as they tried to leave the village of Chevaline in a BMW on September 5, 2012.

Detectives were said to be examining inconsistencies in witness accounts and timings.

Police close to the home of Saad al-Hilli in Claygate, Surrey, in 2012. Credit: PA

No one has ever been charged in relation to the murders, which triggered a search of the family's home in Claygate, Surrey.

This was despite an extensive investigation that involved more than 100 French gendarmes and nearly 40 UK police officers.

Forensic officers outside the al-Hilli home in Surrey, where floral tributes were left. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Suspects previously arrested in connection with the case include an Iraqi prisoner known as Mr S who was claimed to have said he had been offered “a large sum of money” to kill Iraqis living in the UK. Mr al-Hilli’s brother, Zaid, was also arrested on suspicion of murder in 2013 but was later told he would face no further action after police found there was insufficient evidence to charge him with a crime.

Detectives have previously said they were investigating a potential connection between the murders and a gang of contract killers in Paris.

One of the gang members had pistol rounds similar to those fired from the gun that killed the victims in Chevaline in 2012.