The murder of the Iraqi-born British Al Hilli family … nowhere near being solved … with updates … …

Murder, though it hath no tongue, will speak with most miraculous organ, wrote Shakespeare in ‘Hamlet’. So often this is proven correct. Now again, with the slaughter of this holidaying British family – the Al-Hillis – on a forest road near to the Upper Savoy (Haute-Savoie) town of Chevaline in September 2012, murder, despite having […]

Saad Al-Hilli

Saad Al-Hilli

Murder, though it hath no tongue, will speak with most miraculous organ, wrote Shakespeare in ‘Hamlet’.
So often this is proven correct.

Now again, with the slaughter of this holidaying British family – the Al-Hillis – on a forest road near to the Upper Savoy (Haute-Savoie) town of Chevaline in September 2012, murder, despite having no tongue with which to speak, is speaking all the same.

So much has happened in France – I am referring to the Islamist terror attacks – since Wednesday, September 5, 2012, the day of the murder of this innocent family and a Frenchman who had happened to cycle into the massacre, that the killer or killers might have been hugging themselves thinking that what they had done that late summer day was forgotten.

But no!

Here I am writing about it again, and so are some French newspapers. And undoubtedly their British counterparts will pick up on the story again too.

The story is as follows:
Saad Al-Hilli, then 50, his wife Iqbal, then 47, and her mother the septuagenarian Suhaila Al-Allaf, a resident of Sweden, as well as a Frenchman, Sylvain Mollier, then 45, were gunned down on a lay-by on a forest road running between the hamlet named Chevaline (pop. 206) and the village of Doussard (population just over 3000) above the beautiful Annecy Lake.

The Al-Hillis were staying in their caravan at a nearby camping site and was out driving on this sunny afternoon.

What happened next?

Only the dead, and indeed the killer or killers know, and as you know the dead do not speak, and neither do killers.

But a man who had so far only been identified as Philippe B, then 45 years old, had come across the murder scene to which someone else, an Englishman named William Brett Martin, a former RAF pilot living locally, had already cycled up to. Mr Martin, shocked, would later in a BBC interview describe what he had seen: a young man lying beside a bicycle, obvious dead, a child lying alongside a BMW car, injured and in pain, and in the car, as he would say, he saw “lots of blood and heads with bullet holes in them”.

Philippe B escorted Mr Martin down the hill to where there was a wifi connection for his cell-phone and summoned the police, or rather the gendarmes who in France police the countryside and communes of fewer than 20,000 people.

Dead, as the police ascertained were: Mr and Mrs Al-Hilli, Mrs Al-Hilli’s mother and Mr Sylvain Mollier. The Al-Hillis’ two small girls, aged 7 and 4 were alive, the eldest one having been shot in the shoulders and clubbed over the head, the youngest one having escaped injury as her mother, sitting on the BMW’s rear seat and hidden her under her skirt.

There was much criticism in the U.K. of the gendarmes handling of the investigation, old wounds dating from Joan of Arc and Napoleon Bonaparte,  oozing puss again, it rather being overlooked across the Channel that the British investigators were as much in the dark as to why this apparently ordinary family of Iraqi settlers would have been gunned down.

Initially, some information regarding the investigation as carried out by both the French and British leaked out.

Thus, we learned that on fleeing Iraq the Al-Hillis had left valuable real-estate behind in Bagdad, had Swiss bank accounts, and that the dead man and his brother had had some violent words about the inheritance from their father.
Similarly, Sylvain Mollier’s life was scrutinised. It was revealed that he worked locally in the nuclear industry, and coincidentally Saad Al-Hilli worked in the aeronautical (satellite) industry. And of course, coincidence on top of coincidence, William Brett Martin used to be with the RAF.

There was a convoluted investigation into the relationship between Saad Al-Hilli and his brother, the latter having been questioned by the British police, but having refused to come to France to be questioned by the gendarmes.

There was also a degree of noise made about the mentally-challenged son of Saad Al-Hilli’s mother-in-law, in other words his brother-in-law.

It was also revealed that Mrs Al-Hilli had been married before when she lived in the USA and that her ex-husband had died of a heart-attack on the very day that the shooting had taken place in France. The French asked the Americans to exhume his body to hold an autopsy, but the Americans had refused.

Quite a puzzle, not so?

Indeed, because now, four years and 70 huge files later, the French, and the British investigators too, are no nearer to naming the shooter.

The French investigators have now though come to some conclusions, or maybe think that they can say with some degree of accuracy that:

(1) The killer was not, or the killers were not, professionals. They have come to this conclusion because, as they say, a professional killer, a hired assassin for example, would not have emptied his gun on the victims. Having done so shows severe anger which a professional or hired assassin would not have felt.

(2) Saad Al-Hilli had panicked. The fact that he had driven his car into and over Sylvain Mollier is proof of this.

(3) No one spied on the Al-Hillis while they were at the campsite.

(4) The Al-Hillis were not followed to the forest road. So, whoever had gunned them down must already have been on that road, or in the forest, or had pulled up at the time of their arrival.

(5) That the gun was a Swiss 7,65mm Luger P06 used by the Swiss army and police in the 1920 and 1930s, and of which only 56,028 had been manufactured by only one company, the government-owned Waffenfabrik of Bern, Switzerland, and which has become a collector’s item, points to a local gun collector. However, in both the world wars the Germans had also used the Luger, and it had even found users in the Vietnam war.

What the French investigators have also now revealed is that they had considered and investigated seven possible reasons for the killing, each time having found no evidence to charge anyone with the murders.

These were:

(1) A family dispute.

(2) To stop the Al-Hilli reclaiming their Iraqi properties and money.

(3) It was a revenge killing and Sylvain Mollier was the target.

(4) A local killer with a Luger which he just had to use.

(5) Saad Al-Hilli’s aeronautic work.

(6) Al-Hillis were mistaken for another family.

(7) That day the Al-Hillis and Sylvain Mollier had seen something which they should not have seen and had to be silenced for ever and ever.

According to a report in the daily  Le Parisien of Friday, Oct 21, 2016, Philippe B says that the locals want to pretend that the massacre had never happened, but as for him, he thinks of it every day. He said that he returns to the murder site from time to time because he must see it again which might help him to understand what had happened that day. He had even undergone hypnoses hoping that he would remember something he had forgotten, or that something he had seen that day, but which had not registered on his brain, would come to the fore.

He hopes, he says, that the murderer or murderers will be identified and arrested, because he believes that whoever had fired that Luger was a local, and would be using his gun again on a human being or human beings.

What has also been revealed is that Prosecutor Eric Maillaud has been transferred to the town of Clermont-Ferrand. His replacement is a woman: Prosecutor Véronique Denizot, – appointed on Monday, 10 October of this year (2016). Prosecutor Maillaud had been under much criticism from some English followers of the case for incompetence. They misunderstood the role of a prosecutor here in France: that a prosecutor does not investigate but prosecutes, his office having come to the conclusion from evidence provided by the investigators that the State could bring a case against someone.

The village of Chevaline is 600 kms (372 miles) from Paris and is in fact much closer to the Swiss city of Geneva – just 60 kms (65 miles). It is an area known for drug and people smuggling.

Chevaline is what the French call the meat of the horse. And yes the French eat horse meat! All of 30, 000 tonnes of it annually, which means 20,000 slaughtered horses. Butchers in France are normally closed on Mondays, but horse butchers are open. There is a reason for this. In the olden days, horses injured during races on Saturdays and Sundays were slaughtered and the meat was sold to butchers who therefore opened on Monday to be able to quickly sell their stock of horse meat.

By the way, if you have only now, reading this piece, learned of the Chevaline slaughter, you can read all about the case on this website of mine.

The beautiful town of Annecy on Lake Annecy (cc Marilyn Z. Tomlins)

The beautiful town of Annecy on Lake Annecy (cc Marilyn Z. Tomlins)



On Sunday, May 21, 2017 the U.K.’s Sunday Express ran an exclusive interview with Said Al-Hill, 58, brother of the slain Saad -Al-Hilli.

 The interviewer was the Sundays’  Associate Editor James Murray who has been following the case since September 2012 the month the Iraqi-born naturalised-British Saad was gunned down along with his wife and mother-in-law, the couple’s two  young daughters having miraculously escaped the massacre on a lonely road in France’s Haute Savoie region.

Immediately after the killings the French investigators requested Mr. Said Al-Hilli to come to France for questioning. He had refused. However, now almost five years – in fact, four years and eight months after the so very tragic assassination of his family here in France.

As you will read on the link to the interview, he thinks the French police are a incompetent bunch. His view of the French is not very different.

I have been writing here on my website about this ‘Chevaline’ Case since immediately after the shootings. With a little clicking here and there you will be able to read my posts and the comments which had been left with a most dedicated group of readers and commentators.


On Monday, 4 September of this year (2017) the French national daily Le Parisien Aujourd’hui en France ran a full-page report on the Chevaline massacre of September 5, 2012 – some five years ago.

The daily’s headline is TUERIE DE CHEVALINE, L’ENQUETE SANS FIN and the report is written by Damien Delseny.

Indeed, the investigation into the death of this Iraqi-born British family, as the daily informs, continues.

According to the report, the investigation now consists of a hundred files: the investigation mainly focussing on France and Switzerland.

Why Switzerland?

Mainly because the firearm used in the shooting was a Swiss-made Luger PO6. Also, the Haute-Savoie (Upper Savoy) region of France borders Switzerland.

As Damian Delseny further reports the investigators hope and trust that the solution to the massacre is somewhere in  one of those hundred files of the investigation.

“Somewhere, someone, or maybe a small group of people, knows what had happened on that September 5 afternoon of 2012 in the heart of that forest,” a gendarme (militarised policeman) told the daily.

The French never close a case, and often it happens that tens of score years after a murder it is solved. Often, it is someone who had talked, who thought it was safe to talk, that the police were no longer listening. The police are always listening. 







Marilyn Z. Tomlins

58 Responses to “The murder of the Iraqi-born British Al Hilli family … nowhere near being solved … with updates … …”

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  1. 58
    Lars Says:


    I got the years a bit confused too in my previous comment.

    Should of course be:

    “….in the latter part of 2012…. ”
    “Then in the beginning of 2013…”

    It is after all 5 years ago.

    Sorry about my sloppiness.

  2. 57
    Lars Says:

    Hi Rashomon,

    No, it was not explicitly stated anywhere. It was my conclusion after listening to M. Maillaud.

    He kept saying in the latter part of 2015 that they did not know the identity of the car seen by Brett Martin.

    Then in the beginning of 2017 he said suddenly, without further explanation, that they had talked with the ONF man driving that car. Observe, he never explained when they had talked to the man, or made any reference to his earlier statements about the unidentified car.

    Later, in connection with the MC-man, it was also revealed that there had actually been two ONF cars involved. Maillaud then explained that they had actually talked with that ONF-crew in the days after the murders.

    I hope this description makes it clear how confused Maillaud’s story is. According to him they talked with the ONF-crew in one car directly after the murders, while they couldn’t identify the other ONF man for weeks.

    I nowadays believe that this confusion was intended.

  3. 56
    Rashomon Says:


    I remember that you questioned why the ONF crew had taken approx three weeks to come forward. Was this an inference you made yourself or was this explicitly stated in the media somewhere ?

    With the benefit of hindsight ONF2 may not have come forward early on because they descended the combe up to 30 minutes before ONF1 – or alternately they may have had something to hide !


  4. 55
    Marilyn Z. Tomlins Says:

    Lars, This looks very suspicious. Oh, I wonder if the police may be on to something finally.

  5. 54
    Lars Says:

    New gun lover arrested near Chevaline:

  6. 53
    Lars Says:

    New gun lover arrested close to Chevaline:

  7. 52
    Lars Says:

    Marilyn, he should perhaps see his ophthalmologist, or maybe the husband had very peculiar looks. LOL

    (PS:hope my beloved icon will return)

  8. 51
    Marilyn Z. Tomlins Says:

    Lars, I see what you mean. However, we’ve just had a murder where the shooter insisted that he had fired at a deer and not at the husband of his lover.

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