A motorcyclist sought in connection with the murders of three members of a British family in the French Alps has been ruled out of the inquiry, according to reports, leaving police apparently no closer to a breakthrough more than two years after the killings.
Detectives have been attempting to trace the biker since he was seen near the spot where engineer Saad al-Hilli, his wife Ikbal and her mother Suhaila al-Allaf, were gunned down on a forest road in Chevaline in September 2012.
French media reported yesterday that the motorcyclist was finally traced last month. However, authorities have said the man, from Lyon, had no connection to the attack and was in the area “by accident”, according to radio station France Info.
He was interviewed by detectives from Chambery and told them he came to Chevaline to practise his passion for paragliding, the radio station said.
The motorcyclist was said to have been driving on the Combe d’Ire road at about 3pm before he was stopped by two forest rangers who asked him to leave.
He agreed, driving back down the path past the car park where the Al-Hilli family and a cyclist were gunned down.
According to sources close to the investigation, he has not given any information that could lead to new witnesses.
The motorcyclist said he did not “make the connection” between his presence near the scene of the killing and the identikit picture of him which was circulated in November 2013.
The reports are the latest twist in a mysterious case which has proved elusive to investigators on both sides of the Channel. Mr al-Hilli’s brother Zaid was arrested on suspicion of murder in June 2013 but was told in January last year that he would face no further action after police found there was insufficient evidence to charge him with a crime.
Last year detectives revealed Mrs al-Hilli was previously married to a man who died on the same day as the shootings, although they stressed they were not connecting the deaths.
It also emerged that police questioned a 35-year-old Iraqi man last month following a tip-off.