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A BRITISH family were yesterday found riddled with bullets after they were blasted to death by carjackers at a beauty spot in the French Alps.

Horrified detectives said a man and two women were shot dead inside the UK-registered BMW and a male cyclist who is thought to have disturbed the killers was gunned down just yards away.

A girl of eight who was shot at least three times survived the horror but was last night in critical condition in hospital. She was found a short distance away from the car .

It is thought the gunmen went berserk during a botched robbery.

The girl and dead adults in the BMW 4X4 are believed to be from the same family. Police said the car had UK licence plates.

Their nationality has not been confirmed but the British Foreign Office was last night making urgent inquiries.

The gruesome discovery was made by a British walker in a remote woodland car park near the town of Chevaline, by Lake Annecy, in the Haute-Savoie region.

Eric Maillaud, the investigating."rosecutor, said: "It is a dramatic crime scene like we see on the TV.

"We are employing all necessary means to investigate.

"The car is an English car, we are sure of that, but we don't know their nationality. Two men and two women are the victims. The car is a British-registered BMW estate.

"One of the male victims was a cyclist. He was found near his bike in his cycling gear. The other man was in the driving seat of the car. The two women were in the back."

A police spokesman added: "From the registration of the car, we believe this family may have been British. The area has been sealed off while a multiple murder investigation is under way." Officers said the bodies were found just after 4pm in a roadside rest area in the French Alps which is popular with British tourists.

The BMW was riddled with bullet holes and dozens of spent cartridges littered the scene of the massacre. Police believe there may be more than one gunman.

The girl was found away from the vehicle and was clinging to life with horrific wounds when she was discovered.

The identity of the cyclist was not revealed but police believe he is unrelated tothe other victims and may have tried to intervene in the armed robbery.

No firearms have been found either inside or near tothe vehicle.

The spot is close to Lake Annecy, a popular Alpine resort that attracts thousands of British and foreign tourists every summer'

The crime scene has been sealed off while local gendarmes await the arrival of forensic experts. A police helicopter was dispatched and around 60 officers were at the scene last night.

The attack took place close to Doussard, which is full of holiday homes and hugely popular with British tourists during the summer months.

P o l i c e are conducting house to house inquiries, asking if anyone saw a car travelling at speed through the village between 3pm and 4pm yesterday. Last night Chevaline's mayor Didier Berthollet confirmed the victims in the car were not local.

He said the forest road where the bodies were found is often used by walkers. Locals have been left "shellshocked".

He added: "We have never seen such horror on our doorsteps before.

"The police have interviewed everyone in the village hoping to find a witness. There are only 70 homes, so it didn't take them long." Postmortems are set to be carried out today and tomorrow.

THE 'VENICE OF ALPS' THE quiet village of Chevaline is in the Rhone-Alps region of France close tothe southern end of Lake Annecy, a popular beauty spot.

A magnet for outdoor enthusiasts, the area attracts Britons who shy away from package holiday centres, for peace and quiet.

With a population of little more than 200, the traditional French village lies within the boundaries of the Parc Naturel Regional du Massif des Bauges, one of the country's largest national parks.

Known as the "little Venice of the Alps" the area is famous for paragliding, water sport, cycling and hiking. And the shooting appears be the only major incident reported there this year.

The closest major French city is Lyon, more than 100 miles away.

Ski centre Chamonix and Mont Blanc is 50 miles up the road.


MASSACRE Z Eric Maillaud BEAUTY ZSPOT Lake & Mont Blanc PROBE J Cops quiz the locals HORRORJ Copat sealed-off road in Chevaline yesterday
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 6, 2012
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