Secret husband died same day as Alps massacre

Last updated 09:07 09/07/2014
French Alps shooting
Reuters

SHOOTING MYSTERY: Gendarmes stand guard near the scene of the killings.

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In a new twist in the French Alps murder mystery, it has emerged the British woman shot dead had a "secret" American ex-husband who died on the same day.

While the official cause of death for James Thompson was a heart attack, his family believe he may have been poisoned on the same day of his ex-wife's death, the Daily Mail reported.

Adult members of the Al-Hilli family were gunned down in their family car while on a camping trip in the French Alps on September 5, 2012. A passing French cyclist was also killed.

Saad al-Hilli, his wife Iqbal, and mother-in-law Suhaila-al-Allaf were shot dead, but their two daughters survived the attack.

One, a four-year-old, spent eight hours cowering among the bodies of the three adults before police realised she was alive in the car.

The child was found unhurt shortly before midnight huddled on the floor behind the front seats of the car, hidden under the legs and skirt of one of the dead women.

The second girl had been found earlier with serious injuries, having been shot in the shoulder and severely beaten on the head.

The killer has never been found, despite an international investigation, including the FBI becoming involved in the case last year.

French investigators revealed today Iqbal al-Hilli never told her family about a visit to the United States between February 1999 and December 2000, during which time she married Thompson, The Guardian reported.

They divorced soon afterwards, and it was not known if they remained in contact.

Thompson's daughter, Joy Martinolich, told the Daily Mail her father was not a dentist as reported, but a former policeman and oil industry worker.

The family was unaware of the French police's claims until they were made public today.

She said the family suspected foul play was involved in Thompson's death, and they had contacted the FBI.

"If you wanted to kill somebody and get away with it you would do something that people would accept like a heart attack," she said.

"They would accept he was a bit overweight, that he had stress issues, he was pushing 60. It's possible."

Thompson's sister, Joy Weatherly said there was some speculation he had been poisoned, as his son had experienced a "visitation" from Thompson in a dream in which he showed him a little brown bottle.

The Iraqi-born British family was staying in a caravan site in Annecy when they decided to drive to the village of Chevaline. Their bodies were found by a British cyclist.

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