French police release man questioned about British family's murder

A bouquet of roses is seen at the site where four people were shot dead, on the Combe d'Ire road in Chevaline, France, on Sept 8, 2012. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (REUTERS) - French police have released a man who had been questioned over the 2012 murder of a British family and a cyclist in the French Alps, prosecutors said on Thursday (Jan 13).

Police on Wednesday detained the man for questioning as part of a new investigation into the killing of four people, saying they wanted to verify his whereabouts at the time of the killing.

French media had reported that the man passed by the site of the killing on a motorcycle around the time of the crime.

"No charges have been brought against the person who was questioned. The explanations given and the verifications done allow us to rule out his participation," the prosecutor in the Alpine town of Annecy said in a statement.

The prosecutor added that the investigation would continue and that three investigators are working full-time on the case.

Prosecutors and the police have not named the man.

Iraqi-born British engineer Saad al-Hilli, his wife and mother-in-law were killed in their car in September 2012 near the village of Chevaline in eastern France while on a camping holiday.

A local cyclist passing by was also killed.

French investigators have pursued several lines of inquiry over the years, including a possible family feud over money and al-Hilli's work as a satellite engineer, but the case has remained unsolved.

"My client is relieved... I hope that those guilty will be found and I hope my client will never be considered a suspect again," the man's lawyer Jean-Christophe Basson-Larbi said on BFM TV.

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