French police are investigating if the murder of a British family in the Alps nearly a decade ago is linked to a ‘plot’ to assassinate a hypnotist after discovering bullets which matched those found at the scene of the killing.
Detectives in Paris found Luger pistol ammunition at the home of a man arrested for a failed bid to shoot dead business coach and psychotherapist Marie-Hélène Dini.
The rounds, which fit the German-issue WWI and WWII pistol, are reportedly the same as the type used in the killing of a Surrey engineer, his wife and mother-in-law while they were on a family holiday with their young daughters in September 2012.
Saad al-Hilli, 50, his wife Iqbal, 47, and mother-in-law Suhaila al-Allaf, 74, were gunned down along with a French cyclist Sylvain Mollier, 45. Their daughters Zeena, four, and Zainab, seven, survived the attack near Lake Annecy.
Police say 7.65mm cartridges, like those used in the 2012 attack, were discovered at the property of a man arrested after hit men turned up outside 55-year-old Ms Dini’s home in the Parisian suburbs last year, The Mirror reported.
Saad al-Hilli, 50, wife Iqbal, 47, and mother-in-law Suhaila al-Allaf, 74, were gunned down inside their BMW estate car while on a family holiday in the Alps in France. Their daughters Zeena, four, and Zainab, seven, survived the attack near Lake Annecy.
Detectives reportedly say they have matched Luger pistol bullets discovered at the scene of the Al-Hilli murder with those found at the home of a man arrested over the plot to kill business coach and psychotherapist Marie-Hélène Dini, 55, at her home in the Paris suburbs last summer
Saad al-Hilli, 50, with his wife Iqbal, 47, and one of their daughters
Early in the morning last July, following a phone call from a concerned neighbour, police descended on two black-clad and gloved men waiting inside a car with a silenced pistol outside Ms Dini’s home in Créteil.
They told officers they were DGSE, the equivalent to MI6, and claimed they were on an official mission to kill Ms Dini because of something to do with Mossad, the Israeli secret service.
But police say these were hit men who were paid £40,000 to have her killed.
Iraqi-born engineer Saad al-Hilli lived in Surrey
Detectives have long hoped that the ammunition discovered at the Al-Hilli murder scene would give them a lead.
Twenty-one rounds were fired from a Luger P06 pistol that day, most at point blank range into the family’s BMW estate car, with another seven bullets shot at the French cyclist Mr Mollier, who was gunned down near the vehicle.
The Al-Hillis’ four-year-old daughter, Zeena, hid under the legs of her dead mother in the rear foot-well for eight hours – even after the gendarmerie arrived at the scene.
Seven-year-old Zainab was shot through the shoulder and managed to stumble out in front of the car before collapsing.
Police probed if Iraqi-born Al-Hilli’s job as an engineer may have made him a target for the attack.
In 2013, his elder brother Zaid was arrested by Surrey police on suspicion of ordering the murder but was released without charge.
Since then the case has run cold, with Zaid al-Hilli telling The Mirror he is glad the police have a new lead.
‘I think this is plausible,’ he told the paper.
‘I have always believed [the cyclist] Sylvain Mollier was the target, and it was an assassination that went badly wrong.
‘I think there is no other explanation.
‘I always believed there was a cover-up.’
At least nine men have been arrested over the plot to assassinate Ms Dini last summer.
They include retired police and intelligence officers who prosecutors say were working in private security and offering assassination services.
French media have reported that in their investigation of the attempt to kill Ms Dini, they have uncovered at least two other murders linked to the outfit.
A forensic investigator points to evidence at the murder scene in the Alps in 2012
Ammunition for a Luger pistol (stock image) was discovered at the home of a man arrested in the Ms Dini case. The same type of 7.65mm ammunition with fits the gun was used to kill the Al-Hillis