A chilling new theory about the mysterious murder of a British family in the French Alps suggests that all four victims were killed in a ‘psychotic attack’.
British businessman Saad al-Hilli, 50, his wife Iqbal, 47, and mother-in-law Suhaila al-Allaf, 74, were executed at close range in their BMW car in September 2012.
Their two daughters – Zainab, who was seven at the time, and Zeena, who was four – survived.
French cyclist Sylvain Mollier, a 45-year-old father of three, was also found dead next to the family car.
The mass murder baffled French and British detectives for nearly a decade.
Now a report from a British psychologist asked to help with the investigation has revealed the murders may have been completely random.
The anonymous medical professional concluded that the killer was a local and was most likely a male in his 30s or 40s.
The expert claimed the heinous attack was an isolated incident committed by a loner who may have been suffering from psychosis.
“I am considering the theory that the perpetrator of the Chevaline attacks acted for his own motives, completely independent of the victims in this case,” said the report, published in the French newspaper Le Parisien.
Earlier this month, Zainab – now 16 – gave dramatic new details that could finally help solve the cold case.
French investigators told Le Parisien that Zainab offered “uniquely precise testimony about the drama”.
She said she and her relatives were enjoying a walk through the mountainous countryside near the village of Chevaline while on vacation when they stopped.
Zainab got out of the car with her father.
She remembers seeing the cyclist Mollier, and as other family members got out of the car “shots rang out”.
Zainab was ordered back into the car by her parents, but the shooter then grabbed the girl from behind.
“She first thought it was her father, but then saw the white skin and bare hands of her attacker, and realized it couldn’t be him,” he added. .
“Zainab struggled but couldn’t free herself. According to her, the killer was wearing long pants and a leather jacket.”
Zainab was then pistol-whipped and passed out after sustaining multiple facial injuries.
She later made a full recovery and returned to the UK, where she now lives.
Sources close to the case also sensationally told Le Parisien that Brett Martin, an Englishman who discovered the bodies while riding his bike, is still considered a suspect.
Martin, a 63-year-old former RAF officer, was the first to spot Zainab staggering in a secluded lay-by.
In January, a local businessman was again arrested and released.
The original investigations focused on a financial dispute in the UK between Saad, of Claygate, Surrey, and his accountant brother Zaid, who was arrested for conspiracy to murder in 2013 before being released without charge.
Zaid has always maintained his innocence.
A year later, police have looked into dark theories that Iraq-born Saad was killed for links to ousted tyrant Saddam Hussein and arrested a suspected Iraqi hitman, who has also been released .
It is believed that this line of inquiry has now been dropped.