A four-year old girl has been found alive after eight hours hiding in the back of a British-registered car in France containing three shooting victims.
The girl, who has not been named, was found around midnight on Wednesday night under the bodies of the two women in the back of the car, a French prosecutor said. A second girl, believed to be six or seven, was found lying injured in the road near the BMW people-carrier. Police believe all of those in the vehicle to be part of a British family on holiday.
Local prosecutor Eric Maillaud said the girl found in the car "couldn't tell the difference between the good and the bad people". She immediately smiled and began speaking in English when a gendarme took her in his arms.
A fourth person, a male cyclist who police believe was "in the wrong place at the wrong time", was also found dead at the scene.
Police have confirmed that the driver of the car, found slumped over the driving wheel, was a UK citizen, the BBC reported. One of the women sitting in the back was thought to be his wife, and the other is believed to be the children's grandmother.
Maillaud said: "The owner of the vehicle was British and he was the person who identified himself to the campsite [where they were staying]. He is presumed to be a victim and was accompanied by two women and two little girls. We can assume it's a family although it is yet to be proved."
He added: "We have been taking evidence, including DNA, which will be sent to the British authorities for confirmation."
The family had been staying at a campsite in Saint-Jorioz with their two daughters. Police say there are still no clues as to the motive for the killings.
The alarm was raised by a second cyclist – said to be British – who discovered a girl lying seriously injured in front of a BMW in a secluded car park near the village of Chevaline, close to Lake Annecy. He was in a state of shock afterwards but told police officers he had been overtaken on the path by the cyclist who he then discovered lying dead near the car.
Maillaud said 15 cartridges were found around the car, suggesting all the gunshots had come from outside the car, and an automatic pistol appeared to have been used. Police said a man "dressed in cycling gear" was found in the proximity of the car and his bicycle was found nearby.
The wounded girl found near the car was taken by helicopter to Grenoble hospital, where she was in a serious but stable condition. A source told French journalists that she had been hit by at least three bullets.
No arrests have yet been made and no weapon has been found. Autopsies were planned for Thursday or Friday, Maillaud said.
He said the discovery was like a scene from a film: "We don't know who could have done this. We have no idea."
He added that the victims were found very shortly after the shootings.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are aware of the reports of the shooting and we are looking into these urgently."
The area around the car park was sealed off and 60 gendarmes were searching for evidence and combing the forest for possible perpetrators.
The local Dauphiné Libéré newspaper said Chevaline residents had reported seeing a car leaving the village at high speed late on Thursday afternoon.
With a population of little more than 200, Chevaline lies within the boundaries of one of France's largest national parks, the Parc Naturel Régional du Massif des Bauges.
"A lot of people are coming here to spend holidays and use the lake because we have a beautiful landscape," Leila Lamnaouer, a French journalist, told Sky News . "A lot of English people live here because they love the place." French newspaper L'Essor Savoyard reported that locals had been left shocked by the attacks, saying that the region was usually quiet.
Mayor Didier Berthollet told the newspaper that the forest road where the car was found is very popular with walkers.
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