A TRAUMATISED four-year-old girl is receiving specialist help after being found uninjured hiding among the dead bodies of her British family eight hours after they were brutally killed in the French Alps.
A massive police investigation is underway into the murders of three members of the family from Surrey and a cyclist who was apparently passing by the scene at Lake Annecy when what detectives described as an act of “savagery” was carried out.
French police revealed Saad al-Hilli, 50, who was originally from Iraq, was shot in the head alongside his dentist wife, named by neighbours as Iqbal, and a woman believed to be her mother.
The couple’s daughter, named locally as Zeena, was found alive in the BMW estate underneath the bodies of her relatives around eight hours after the massacre, which saw French cyclist, Sylvain Mollier, 45, shot dead.
Their seven-year-old daughter, believed to be called Zainab, has been put into a medically-induced coma in Grenoble University Hospital after being repeatedly beaten around the head and shot in the shoulder.
Three of the four who were killed were shot in the middle of the head, but the man investigating the spree played down suggestions of “professionalism” in the attack.
Public prosecutor Eric Maillaud said: “I won’t say it was professional; what I will say is it was tremendous savagery.”
The four-year-old lay undiscovered as police waited for forensic experts to arrive from Paris in the hours after the killings were discovered by a passing cyclist.
She was found “terrorised, motionless, in the midst of the bodies” after fellow campers at a nearby site where the family were staying told officers they had two children, Mr Maillaud said.
He defended the delay in finding the girl, who was physically unharmed.
“They discovered this girl, totally immobilised. She was buried under the front passenger seat, among big bags; she was not visible.”
Investigators said no weapon had been found and no arrests made. It was also unclear if Wednesday’s shootings were carried out by one killer or a number of people.
Mr Maillaud said: “We don’t know who could have done this. We have no idea.”
One theory is that shots could have been fired during a bungled armed robbery, with Mr Mollier being a witness.
French President Francois Hollande, visiting London yesterday, said authorities would “do our utmost to find the perpetrators”.