THE man who discovered the bodies of the UK family murdered in the French Alps spoke for the first time yesterday about how he was forced to leave seven-year-old Zainab bleeding on the ground while he went to get help.
Former RAF pilot Brett Martin (53) was the first person to arrive on the scene moments after Saad Al-Hilli, his wife Iqbal, her mother Suhaila and a French cyclist were shot dead.
Mr Martin said at first he thought it was a straightforward collision between a car and a cyclist, but eventually realised it was something more sinister.
Mr Martin described how he gave first aid to seven-year-old Zainab, who had been shot in the shoulder and beaten savagely around the head.
Describing his actions, which are thought to have helped save the little girl's life, he said: "She was very seriously injured because she was in and out of consciousness."
Mr Martin, who has a holiday home close to the scene, had been cycling along the mountain road when he came across the Al-Hilli family car.
He told reporters: "At first, I thought there had been a terrible accident between a cyclist and a car because there was a cyclist on the ground in front of the car. It did not look like an ordinary accident because his bike was not beside him. Mr Martin went on: "I moved him away from the front of the vehicle. I checked him for a pulse and any sign of life. I could not feel a pulse and there was the totally inanimate body." Mr Martin then approached the vehicle.
He explained: "I went round to the driver's side ... I noticed there were some holes and I started to think, 'is that a bullet hole?'.
"I started taking stock of the people inside.
"I became fully aware that the injuries of the people inside did not match the sort of injuries you would expect of people in a car accident."
Mr Martin said he then began to fear for his own safety, saying he began to think: "Maybe there is some crazed person in the woods ... I then started to scan the woods to see if there was some nutter with a gun and I was going to be the next person shot."
He added: "I pulled out my mobile phone and, of all the moments in the world not to have a signal on your mobile phone, that was it."
Mr Martin said he faced a decision of whether to take injured Zainab with him when he went to get help or whether to leave her where she was in the woods.
He eventually decided not to move her but admitted: "It was not a very comfortable decision to make to be honest." (©Daily Telegraph, London)