Alps gun massacre scene a 'bloodbath'

PALOMA MIGONE
Last updated 20:15 14/09/2012

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A New Zealand cyclist who stumbled on the French Alps gun massacre and discovered four bodies says the scene looked like "something from a Hollywood movie''.

Brett Martin, 53, who now lives in Britain, told the BBC he had been cycling up a road near Lake Annecy when he came across the bloodbath.

He initially thought there had been a terrible car accident, but then saw a "lot of blood and heads with bullet holes in them".

British Saad al-Hilli, 50, had been shot with his wife Iqbal, 47, mother-in-law, 74, and passing cyclist Sylvain Mollier, 45.

Martin, an ex-Royal Air Force pilot, immediately feared for his safety when he realised a crime had been committed.

"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,'' he told the BBC.

"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."

Martin helped al-Hilli's surviving daughter, seven-year-old Zainab, after the attack, and had to make the difficult decision to leave her bleeding on the ground to get help.

Her 4-year-old sister Zeena was later found unhurt, but traumatised under her mother's legs in the back of the car - eight hours after the bodies were discovered.

Martin told the BBC he had since been back to the scene to give further details to police.

According to TVNZ, Martin is a New Zealander who had gone to school in Auckland.

British and French police continue to investigate the crime, and had spoken briefly to Zainab.

French prosecutor Eric Maillaud has said the motive had its origins in Britain, the BBC reported.

Forty French police officers were working on the case, probing al-Hilli's work as an engineer, his family connections and possible links within Iraq, where he was born, he said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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