French police believe a British family mysteriously gunned down on an Alpine holiday were murdered by a random killer who lived locally.
But detectives have admitted they are no closer to finding the person who killed Saad al-Hilli, 50, his wife Iqbal, 47, her mum Suhaila al-Allaf, 74, and cyclist Sylvain Mollier, 45.
The victims were shot dead in the village of Chevaline, near Annecy, in the French Alps on September 5, 2012.
On the five-year anniversary of the unsolved murder, a state prosecutor revealed they believe the Surrey family and the cyclist, a local man, were victims of an unplanned attack by a local person.
The couple’s daughter, Zainab, aged seven at the time, survived with serious injuries after being hit with the butt of the assailant’s gun.
Her younger sister Zeena, aged four at the time, hid under her dead mum in the back of the family’s BMW and escaped uninjured.
Five years later, detectives have discounted a number of theories and believe the only plausible one left was that the family, of Iraqi origin, and Mr Mollier were the victims of an “unfortunate encounter”, the Times reported.
Veronique Denizot, the state prosecutor, said: “Why not consider the theory that they met someone who for some reason did not want their activities known, and whose personality led them to eliminate all the witnesses?”
She admitted that the line of inquiry was being pursued “by default” and leads are drying up.
She added: “We are not advancing any more.
“After five years, we are a bit discouraged and worried. Time is working against us.
“But we have to continue to believe that we can end up by resolving this case.”
Detectives have pursued a number of theories, including the possibilities that the family were followed by a gunman or targeted over their connections to Iraq or their finances.
Mr al-Hilli’s brother Zaid was arrested by British police in June 2013 and questioned, but was later released without charge and denied any connection to the crime.
He is no longer a suspect, the Times reported.
Police also probed whether Mr Mollier was the intended target and the family were killed because they witnessed his death.