A CHILLING new theory in the mystery murder of a Brit family in the French Alps suggests the four victims were killed in a “psychotic attack”.
Brit businessman Saad al-Hilli, 50, wife Iqbal, 47, and his mother-in-law Suhaila al-Allaf, 74, were executed at point-blank range in their BMW car in September 2012.
Their two daughters – Zainab, who was seven at the time, and Zeena, who was four – survived while French cyclist Sylvain Mollier, a 45-year-old father of three, was found dead alongside the family car in a murder that has baffled French and UK investigators for close to a decade.
Now, a report by a UK psychologist asked to help in the investigation revealed the killings may have been completely random.
The unnamed clinical professional concluded the killer was a local and highly likely to have been a man aged between 30 and 40.
The expert claimed the heinous attack was an isolated incident by a mentally-deranged loner.
“I envisage the theory that the perpetrator of the Chevaline attacks acted due to their own motives, entirely independent of the victims in this case,” the report, published in the French newspaper Le Parisien, read.
It comes as earlier this month Zainab – now 16 – gave dramatic new details that may help to finally solve the cold case.
French investigators told Le Parisien that Zainab in June offered “a testimony of unique precision about the drama”.
She recounted how the family was on holiday, and enjoying a drive through mountainous countryside by the village of Chevaline when they pulled over and Zainab got out of the car with her father.
She recalled seeing cyclist Mollier, and while other members of the family were getting out of the car “gunshots rang out”.
Zainab was ordered back into the car by her parents, but then the shooter grabbed the girl from behind.
“She first of all thought it was her father, but then saw the white skin and bare hands of her attacker, and realised it couldn’t be him.
“Zainab struggled but couldn’t get out of the grip. According to her, the killer was wearing long trousers and a leather jacket.”
Zainab was then pistol whipped and blacked out after suffering multiple facial injuries.
She later made a full recovery and returned to the UK, where she now lives.
It came as sources close to the case sensationally told Le Parisien that Brett Martin, an Englishman who came across the dead bodies while out cycling, is still considered a suspect.
Martin, a former RAF officer now aged 63, was the first to discover Zainab staggering around a BMW car in an isolated country layby close to Lake Annecy, in eastern France, on September 5 2012.
In January, a local businessman was re-arrested and released.
Original probes focused on a financial dispute in the UK between Saad, from Claygate, Surrey, and his accountant brother Zaid, who was arrested for conspiracy to murder in 2013 before being freed without charge.
Zaid has always protested his innocence.
A year later, police looked into dark theories that Iraqi-born Saad was killed over links to ousted tyrant Saddam Hussein and arrested a suspected Iraqi contract killer, who was also released – but they were found to be untrue.