French Alps murders: Brother says police 'incompetent and racist'

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Media captionMr al-Hilli fears important evidence may have been missed and is calling for a public inquiry

The brother of a man who was shot dead with his wife and mother-in-law while holidaying in France has accused police of being "racist" and "incompetent".

Zaid al-Hilli said he was turned into a scapegoat over the death of his brother Saad because investigators saw the family as "a light touch".

Police had ruined the investigation by failing to secure the crime scene and missing evidence, Mr al-Hilli said.

The French authorities have refused to comment on his claims.

Surrey Police said it continued to provide support to investigators in France and was "committed to helping find answers to what happened".

Saad al-Hilli, 50, was shot with his wife Iqbal, 47, and his mother-in-law Suhaila al-Allaf, on 5 September 2012, along with French cyclist Sylvain Mollier.

'Trashed crime scene'

Zaid al-Hilli was arrested on suspicion of murder in June last year but was told in January he would face no further action.

Mr al-Hilli, who lives in Chessington, accused the French authorities of turning the investigation into a witch-hunt and resorting to using "smears and lies" against the whole family.

"Our background is Middle Eastern and I think they set out to protect the white French families", he said.

Image copyright central news and pictures
Image caption Saad al-Hilli, 50, was shot dead with his wife Iqbal, mother-in-law Suhaila al-Allaf and cyclist Sylvain Mollier

He admitted that while there had been differences between him and his brother over their inheritance, it was "illogical" that he should be accused of the murder.

"I love my brother, I love his family, I love my nieces, I would never harm them," he said, adding that police had now established "that there is nothing to link our family with the crime".

Iraq-born Mr al-Hilli and his family lived in Claygate, Surrey, and were on holiday with Mrs al-Hilli's mother, who lived in Sweden, at the time of the attack near Lake Annecy.

More than 100 police officers in France and the UK have been involved in investigating the case and about 800 people have been interviewed.

However, Mr al-Hilli has called for a public inquiry into the case as he believes the authorities have botched the investigation.

Image copyright NI Syndication
Image caption The attack took place in a car park near Lake Annecy

"In July this year we were told that the French police had found a passport and they claim that they found a passport in my brother's jacket.

"It seems that the jacket has been in the lab for a year-and-a-half and no-one bothered to search it so what other evidence have they missed?" Mr al-Hilli said.

Mr al-Hilli also said police had failed to secure the crime scene which had been "trashed" by emergency service vehicles.

When asked about his two nieces who survived the attack, Mr al-Hilli said that neither of them talks about the shooting.

Saad al-Hilli's older daughter was shot and beaten while her younger sister was physically unscathed but left traumatised after hiding under bodies in the car.

In a statement, Surrey Police said: "As part of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which was established following the deaths, officers from the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team have worked closely with the French authorities to progress a number of lines of enquiry in the UK.

"This is a complex enquiry, however, Surrey Police remains committed to helping find answers to what happened and continuing to assist the French investigation wherever possible."

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