(Representative image) Photograph:( Reuters )
A British family was killed in the Alps in 2012. French police have arrested a man who prosecutors say appeared to help the investigation by taking place in crime scene reconstruction
It takes a deranged mind to commit a murder, but more so when the criminal helps in police investigation by taking part in crime-scene reconstruction. French police on Thursday questioned such a man who was arrested in an unsolved murder of British family in the Alps in 2012. prosecutors said the man took part three months ago as a witness in a crime-scene investigation
The detention of the unnamed man has raised hopes of a breakthrough in one of the country's most notorious murder cases that saw three members of a British family gunned down in front of their two young daughters.
A French cyclist was also killed nearby on a remote mountain road near Lake Annecy.
Local newspaper Le Dauphine Libere identified the arrested man as a mystery motorcyclist seen near the scene of the crime who was cleared in 2015 after a more than two-year hunt by police to find him.
Local prosecutor Line Bonnet declined to confirm the report when contacted by AFP on Thursday, but said that the individual was among four witnesses "returned to the scene" to participate in a reconstruction just over three months ago.
She wrote on Twitter that his detention had been extended, giving police another 24 hours to question him and potentially bring charges.
French investigators have continued to work on the more than nine-year-old cold case, but have always struggled to identify a motive for the killings of the Al-Hilli family.
Saad al-Hilli, a 50-year-old Iraqi-born British tourist, was gunned down along with his 47-year-old wife Iqbal and her 74-year-old mother in a woodland car park close to the village of Chevaline in the hills above Lake Annecy.
Each was shot several times in their British-registered BMW estate car and more than two dozen spent bullet casings were found near the vehicle.
The couple's two daughters, aged seven and four at the time, survived the attack, but the older girl was shot and badly beaten.
A 45-year-old French cyclist, Sylvain Mollier, was also killed after apparently stumbling upon the scene.
(With inputs from agencies)