Ex-RAF pilot recounts moment he discovered Alps massacre


Ex-RAF pilot who found British family murdered in the French Alps tells BBC he feared a "nutter" with a gun was lurking nearby to shoot him next.

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The former RAF pilot who found a British family murdered in the French Alps has told the BBC, in a television interview, of how he feared "some nutter" with a gun could still be nearby to shoot him next.

Brett Martin, from East Sussex, helped Zainab al-Hilli, seven, after the attack which claimed the lives of her parents, grandmother and a local man.

He told the BBC he made the difficult decision to leave her bleeding on the ground while he went to seek help.

Meanwhile, a French prosecutor has said the motive has its "origins" in the UK.

Eric Maillaud was speaking outside Woking police station in Surrey after arriving with the French judge leading the inquiry.

French and British police are continuing to search the Claygate, Surrey, home of Saad al-Hilli, 50, who was shot with his dentist wife Iqbal, 47, mother-in-law, and a passing cyclist in Chevaline, close to the tourist destination of Lake Annecy.

Zainab and her four-year-old sister Zeena both survived the attack on 5 September during their camping holiday.

Mr Martin said he initially believed there had been a car accident after coming across the scene while cycling in the forest area.

He saw three bodies in the car, and once he realised a crime had taken place, he was worried who might still be around.

"I was getting a little anxious," he said. "I then started scanning the woods to see if there was some nutter or who knows what with a gun and I was going to be the next person shot."

Describing the scene he came across, Mr Martin said "there was a lot of blood and heads with bullet holes in them".

He told the BBC the car's engine was running when he arrived and he had to breakea window on the vehicle to switch it off.

"At first I thought there's been a terrible accident between a cyclist and a car because there was a cyclist on the ground, more or less in front of the car, but there were things that didn't quite match because the cyclist's bike wasn't beside him, so as the minutes went on I started to change my opinion," he said.

"I've never seen people who've been shot before... but it seemed to me just like a Hollywood scene, and if someone had said 'cut' and everybody got up and walked away, that would have been it, but unfortunately it was real life... it became quite obvious, taking stock, that it was a gun crime."

He moved Zainab, who collapsed on the ground after he found her "stumbling", bleeding and "moaning", away from the car in case it began moving and placed her in the recovery position.

But Mr Martin said he faced a "dilemma" when he decided to seek help after finding his mobile phone had no reception.

He said he felt Zainab's injuries would have worsened - "perhaps killed her" - if he had carried her with him.

Mr Martin added that he has since travelled back to the location of the shooting under armed police protection to give further details to French officers.

French police have spoken briefly to Zainab, who remains in hospital in France after being shot in the shoulder and hit around the head. But they are still waiting to question her fully about what she can remember of the attack.

Zeena has returned to the UK and is under the care of social services.

She lay undiscovered in the car for eight hours after her father, her mother, her 74-year-old grandmother, and local cyclist Sylvain Mollier, 45, all died.

The French prosecutor is not expected to visit the al-Hilli family home during his UK visit.

On Wednesday, Mr Maillaud said 40 French police officers were working on the investigation and probing Mr al-Hilli's work as an engineer, his family connections and possible links within Iraq.

After talks with Surrey Police officers, who are assisting French police in their investigation, the prosecutor told reporters: "Without any doubt... the reasons and causes have their origins in this country".

See complete BBC News video interview with Brett Martinhere.

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