Alps police to search victim's home

Police investigating the murder of four people who were gunned down in the French Alps have sent four officers to Britain to find out more about victim Saad al-Hilli's life.

The French team will work with British investigators and plan to search his house in Claygate, south-west London.

Investigators also revealed Mr al-Hilli's brother has approached UK police to deny any family feud with his sibling over money. French officer Marc de Tarle has already landed at Heathrow and will be joined by three colleagues.

Iraqi-born Mr al-Hilli, 50, was gunned down in his car alongside his dentist wife, named by neighbours as Iqbal, while on holiday in the Alps. An older Swedish woman, who was travelling in the car, was also killed, along with Sylvain Mollier, 45, a French cyclist who apparently stumbled across the attack.

The couple's four-year-old daughter Zeena laid undiscovered under her mother's corpse for eight hours after the murders, while her seven-year-old sister Zainab remains in a medically induced coma after being shot and beaten.

French prosecutor Eric Maillaud said investigators were told of a possible feud between Mr al-Hilli and his brother over money, but he said the sibling had gone to a police station in the UK to deny the row.

He said: "The brother spontaneously went to see the police in Britain first to find out how his brother was because through the British media he had heard about the death of his brother. He turned up again this morning because he heard about the conflict, the dispute between himself and his brother and he said, 'no, I don't have a conflict with my brother'."

The four-year-old girl has spoken to police and confirmed that two of the victims were her parents, but said she did not know the Swedish woman very well. The prosecutor said: "We asked her, 'who were you with?', and she said first, 'with my dad', and she gave a name, 'with my sister', she gave a name, 'my mother'. The little girl said, talking like a little girl does, she didn't know (the Swedish woman) very well. We have to assess very clearly, who was that lady with the Swedish passport?"

He said the girl remained under the care of psychiatric teams and had spoken about what he described as the "terror" of what happened, but did not see anything because she was hiding.

Mr Maillaud said: "The witness statement of the four-year-old girl, she just talked about a fury, a terror. She explained that from the beginning of the murder she was already between her mother and that other woman and she rushed under her mother's legs, her mother's skirt."