A SEVEN-year-old girl who survived the grisly shooting in the French Alps that killed her parents and grandmother has left a French hospital and returned to Britain.
Zaina al-Hilli, who was shot in the shoulder and severely beaten, emerged on Sunday from a medically-induced coma.
Surrey Police would not confirm who was accompanying Zaina back to the UK, or comment on the role the child might play in assisting French and British detectives investigating the case.
British-Iraqi engineer Saad al-Hilli, his wife Iqbal, her mother and an unrelated French cyclist were shot dead last week in a quiet wooded area near France's Lake Annecy.
Zaina was found covered in blood and suffering from head injuries by a passerby. Her sister Zeena (4) was unharmed, but lay undiscovered for eight hours, huddled under the legs of her deceased mother.
The young British sisters are the only known witnesses to the crime, and the elder daughter is now regarded as crucial to the investigation.
William Brett Martin, the cyclist who was first to arrive at the scene of the killings, said he found Zaina stumbling along the ground outside the car in which her family had been shot dead.
French prosecutor Eric Maillaud has said he believes the key to solving the execution-style killings is in the UK, where French police are now carrying out inquiries, suggesting that there may be a connection to the family's personal or professional life.