Breakthrough seen in French Alps murder case

February 19, 2014 - 9:11:14 am
ANNECY, France: French police yesterday arrested a 48-year-old man in connection with the 2012 killings of a British-Iraqi family and a cyclist in the Alps, in their first breakthrough in the case.

Annecy prosecutor Eric Maillaud said the man, from the Haute-Savoie region, was placed in formal custody and detained following the release in November of an identikit image of a mysterious motorcyclist seen near where the quadruple murder took place.

“This arrest, which may not be the only one, was the result of witness statements” that came in after the image was released, Maillaud said.

He said there was no apparent “direct link” between the man and the victims and sources close to the case expressed caution, saying the arrest may only be for questioning. A source close to the investigation said police carried out a search of the man’s home in the village of Lathuile near the scene of the crime, in the presence of his girlfriend.

The source described him as a “taciturn mountain man” and a gun enthusiast who lives on the fringes of society.

Maillaud said the man bore a “strong resemblance” to the man in the identikit image.

It is the first time anyone has been arrested in France in connection with the case, which has stumped investigators despite major efforts on both sides of the English Channel.

Another raid was ongoing at a house in Taillores, an upmarket town on the banks of Lake Annecy. An AFP journalist saw police scanning the garden with a metal detector.