Neighbour speaks on Claygate family murdered in French Alps
Neighbours and friends have paid their respects to a Claygate family shot dead in the French Alps.
Saad Al-Hilli, of Oaken Lane, was found dead in his bullet-ridden BMW along with his wife and her mother. His two young daughters survived the attack, but the eldest is currently in a critical condition in hospital with gunshot wounds.
Neighbour and close friend, George Aicolina, 63, said he cried when he found out the news on Thursday morning. He said:” Saad was a loving father and very, very affectionate. He really loved his two girls.”
Mr Aicolina, who has lived in Claygate for 35 years, explained that the family usually went to France once a year and that they had been to a similar area last year. He said: “He would know where to go and where not to go in France. He was a very good driver.”
The family went to France with their caravan for a holiday and Mr Aicolina said Mr Al-Hilli would “prepare properly” for a trip.
Mr Al-Hilli was described as “always happy” and he was said to have “a lovely sense of humour”. Mr Aicolina said: “He was not the sort of person to start a fight but he would stand his ground.
“You don’t see families that close any more. The mother and father cared for their children so much.”
Residents who did not know the family were also shocked by the tragedy which has unfolded.
David Lacey, 53, of Ace Parade, Hook Road, Chessington, said: “It’s very tragic. It’s even worse because of the two young girls; it’s a double tragedy. They went for a holiday then this happened. It’s horrible.”
Royston Archer, 70, of Coverts Road, said: “Claygate is a sleepy and quiet village. I’m quite shocked really.”
Surrey Police are currently assisting French authorities and liaising with the Foreign and Commonwealth office, but are unable to confirm any details about the incident.