• France's news in English

Tourist family murdered in Alps gun attack

AFP · 6 Sep 2012, 09:56

Published: 06 Sep 2012 09:56 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The little girl spent eight hours hidden between the bullet-riddled corpses of her mother and grandmother on the backseat of the British-registered family car following a mysterious and brutal shooting on the outskirts of a village on the edges of Lake Annecy.

A second man, believed to be a local who inadvertently cycled into the scene of the attack, was also found shot dead in the tree-lined car park on Wednesday afternoon.

The girl's elder sister, who was found shot next to the car, was in a stable condition in hospital after being flown by helicopter to the nearby city of Grenoble

Eric Maillaud, the prosecutor in charge of the investigation, said the four-year-old had emerged from the car without any injury.

"She stayed, curled up under the bodies for eight hours and didn't move in all that time," he said.

The first police to arrive on the scene did not spot the girl and, with the car being left untouched and the area sealed off pending the arrival of forensic experts, she was left to endure a traumatic ordeal until she was finally discovered around midnight.

"It was only once we had access to the scene of the crime that we found her," Maillaud said. "The little girl spoke English. She heard noises, shouts but she can't tell us any more than that. She is only four years old.

"She is being looked after and we are doing everything we possibly can to care for her."

Lieutenant-Colonel Benoit Vinnemann, head of the Chambery gendarmerie, said the family had been staying at the nearby Saint Jorioz camp site, where fellow campers reported their disappearance on Wednesday evening.

The victims had still not been formally identified by 0730 GMT on Thursday. British consular officials were at the scene but the Foreign Office in London said it could not immediately confirm the identity of the victims or their nationality.

Chevaline and the surrounding area is popular with tourists and second homeowners from all over Europe, including many Britons.

Story continues below…

French authorities said the victims were discovered by a passing cyclist aound 3:50 pm Wednesday. The father was in the driver's seat of the four-wheel drive BMW and the two women were in the backseat. The cyclist who was killed was found in front of the car.

The bodies were taken to Grenoble for autopsies.

Experts from the national gendarmerie's IRCGN unit collected DNA evidence from the scene and were checking spent bullet cartridges found at the scene in an attempt to identify the weapons used.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Where exactly in France are Calais migrants being sent?
Photo: AFP

Here's where the 8,000 migrants in Calais are heading.

The annoying questions only a half French, half British person can answer
Photo: Beery/Flickr/AFP

Being half French, half British is means you get asked a lot of questions (and some of them can be a little annoying.)

Migrants bussed out of Calais Jungle to all corners of France
All photos: AFP

Hundreds of migrants are being bussed across France on Monday ahead of the demolition of the Jungle camp.

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
A Prophet. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Looking for something to watch?

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part Two
Rust and Bone. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

The newest French films you need to see before you die (or alternatively when you get some spare time).

Election Watch
Presidential hopeful reckons a pain au chocolat is 10 cents

So France happily takes the pastry out of him.

French ministry of defence officials die in plane crash
Screengrab: eddydeg/Twitter

The French Ministry of Defence officials were killed on Monday when a light aircraft went down on the island of Malta.

Revealed: The ten most stolen cars in France
A Smart car in Paris. Photo: JR_Paris/Flickr

Thieves in France are getting a taste for luxury cars, it seems.

Analysis - France migrant crisis
Migrant crisis won't end with Calais 'Jungle' closure
All Photos: AFP

The Jungle camp may be being cleared but this won't be the end of the migrant crisis in France.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie 'to sell their French chateau'
All photos: AFP

Want to live where Brangelina got married?

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available