Lake Annecy murders: Kadhem’s will and the mystery Swedish women
THE ANNENY MURDERS: Still no name for the older woman shot dead in the car with Saad al-Hilli and his wife, Iqbal. The Guardian says she was 77. The Mail says she was 74. Sources report that she was Swedish. But no name has been given. Why not?
Daily Mail (front page): “WHO WILL CARE FOR MASSACRE ORPHANS?”
The trauma of the two girls orphaned in the Alps massacre deepened yesterday, as it emerged that no family member has come forward to look after them.
How do we know that no-one from their family has come forward to help Zeena Al-Hilli, 4, and seven-year-old Zainab?
Their uncle and closest living relative, Zaid Al-Hilli, 53, is being questioned in London today over an alleged feud between him and the girls’ murdered father over an inheritance rumoured to be worth anything up to £1million, police said.
Is he their closest living relative? We don’t know. We do not know the identity of the older woman in the car.
Daily Telegraph (front page): “Murder in Alps – police to question brother”
Zaid al-Hilli went to a police station in Surrey on Friday to insist that reports of a feud between him and his brother Saad were untrue. At a press conference in Annecy, the man investigating the attack on Saad al-Hilli’s family, which left four people dead, said that four detectives had been sent to London and would speak to his brother to get to the bottom of any reported “conflict”. Mr Hilli, his wife Iqbal, an elderly relative and a French passer-by were the victims of execution-style shootings.
Prosecutor Eric Maillaud said: “We have had information about the brother from British police sources… there apparently is a conflict about money between himself and his brother.
“That brother in the UK spontaneously went to the police authorities and said, ‘I have no conflict, no feud with my brother, no disagreement’. What’s going to be very important will be to listen to this brother.”
Can it be right that the man mourning for such loss have his name so billed?
Zaid’s wife Geraldine died of cancer in 2007, and last night her brother, Damien O’Reilly, said: “There is no way that Zaid would have been involved in anything like this, he is a nice man. I do not know anything about any kind of row between the two of them, but I know that Zaid could never have done anything of the sort. He is still mourning the death of my sister (Geraldine).”
Daily Express (front page): “I saw Alps assassins on way to massacre”
Well, no. The former RAF man who came across the murder scene might have seen the getaway car.
Colonel Bertrand Francois, head of the local gendarmerie, says:
“His private life is over for the coming months. He can’t sleep. He can’t go out and shop. We are doing everything to protect the man’s anonymity. Put yourself in his shoes – imagine what would happen if he goes public? His life will change from one day to the next and he doesn’t want that to happen.”
Eric Maillaud, the Annecy prosecutor, adds:
“His testimony and bravery should be saluted. He is a former professional of the Royal Air Force, so he’s someone with nerves of steel. He’s deeply shocked, but had extraordinary reflexes to put this girl in the recovery position and played a vital part in saving her life. He’s a former RAF pilot and perhaps has a superior ethic to many others. If we are in need of him, he will come wherever he is. I remind you that he’s a brave witness and a free man and has the right to return to Britain to recover after the shock he went through.”
Guardian (front page): “Alps killing police head to UK”
The detectives are to request permission to search the Surrey home of Saad al-Hilli and his wife, Ikbal, and speak to the dead man’s brother, Zaid, after claims there may have been a dispute in the family over money. French officials said this was one line of inquiry among others and Zaid has reportedly told police he denies any involvement.
And the orphans’ relatives?
Shortly after Zeena was found, French police said the best place for the orphaned girl was “back with what’s left of her family”, and that they had taken a softly-softly approach to questioning her. But British experts expressed surprise that she has not been reunited with a relative or family friend already.
Maillaud said the French authorities hoped to hand the child over to relatives said to be waiting to fly to France to collect the child, “as soon as possible”. “The girls have to be our first priority,” he said.
The Mirror: “‘Girl shot in Alps only survived because assassin ran out of bullets’: Police believe gunman fled in a hurry”
The British girl who miraculously survived the French Alps massacre may have only escaped because the killer ran out of bullets.
How can it be a miracle, then? Looking for sings of God’s love amid the debris of human life seems crass.
The Independent’s John Lichfield has a question:
Another question comes to mind. Why did the Al-Hilli family come to this wild place, with two small children, wearing smart “town” clothes?
The expert guesses on Sky:
John O’Connor, former commander of Flying Squad:
“The shootings look like they are terrorist-related. The people that have done it are military trained. It certainly seems to be a military assassination. The killers were sending a message about not crossing them. It doesn’t sound like a gangland hit. Was the Iraq-born victim involved in the intelligence world? He reportedly worked for AMS 1087 Ltd which is listed as Aerial Photographers and Surveys. Is there any significance in this? The killers don’t sound UK-based and I don’t see any connection with criminals in this country. It appears the gun was an automatic weapon, used professionally – because of the accuracy. This would lead one to think of trained personnel, terrorists.”
The Sun: “France massacre victim halted his dad’s will”
Documents seen by The Sun show Saad Al-Hilli had taken out a “caveat” — a formal notice or warning — stopping terms going ahead until February. Caveat 58692 essentially halts his brother Zaid’s claim over half of their father Kadhem’s fortune until unknown issues are resolved. The papers also reveal that wealthy Kadhem — who was living in Malaga, Spain — had been missing for six days before he was found dead in August last year…
Now. That is news.
It is understood they fell out over a vast property portfolio that Kadhem owned in Spain, France and Switzerland, together with a home in Surrey, where Saad lived with his family.
Such are the facts.
Photo: A view of the trailer where the slain British family were holidaying in a camp site of Saint Jorioz, near Annecy, French Alps.