Detained French ex-cop denies role in Alps murders

20th February 2014, Comments 0 comments

A former French policeman denied any role in the killing of a British-Iraqi family in 2012 as police on Thursday extended his detention despite admitting that he seemed to have no link to the case.

A source close to the probe said the custody had been extended by 48 hours as investigators pursue suspicions the man was involved in arms trafficking.

A second man arrested in connection with the case also remained in detention.

The 48-year-old ex-policeman has denied any role in the quadruple murders on September 5, 2012 near Annecy in the French Alps, his lawyer said.

"He denies any involvement and says he was not in the area on that day," Marc Dufour said, but added that his client "cannot contest the arms trafficking".

Investigators had earlier said mobile phone records showed the man was near the crime scene on the day of the horrific killings.

The ex-cop was detained on Tuesday in what at first appeared to be the first breakthrough in the murder case, which has baffled investigators on both sides of the English Channel.

But prosecutors said Wednesday that it was "highly unlikely" he would be charged in the case and would probably instead face charges of arms trafficking.

A large cache of weapons was found Tuesday in the home of the man, who investigators said bore a strong resemblance to an identikit image released in November of a mysterious motorcyclist seen near the scene of the crime.

The weapons found in his home were not the same model as the gun used in the murders and his DNA did not match samples taken at the scene.

Saad al-Hilli, a 50-year-old Iraqi-born British tourist, was gunned down along with his 47-year-old wife Iqbal and her 74-year-old mother in a woodland car park close to the village of Chevaline in the hills above Lake Annecy.

The couple's two daughters, aged seven and four at the time, survived the attack, but a 45-year-old French cyclist, Sylvain Mollier, was killed after apparently stumbling upon the scene.

Annecy prosecutor Eric Maillaud said a judicial investigation into arms trafficking will be opened and the man could be remanded in custody again on Saturday morning along with the other detainee.


© 2014 AFP

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