Brit girl shot dead at family BBQ over ‘dispute about trees’ pictured by cops

An 11-year-old British girl who was tragically shot dead in an apparent neighbours’ dispute has been pictured by French police.

Solaine Thornton was shot dead on Saturday evening in the village of Saint-Herbot, in Brittany. Her father Adrian, 52, is fighting for his life in hospital after being "hit in the head" by a shotgun blast.

The family’s Dutch neighbour Dirk Raats has been arrested on murder charges.

READ MORE: Girl, 11, shot dead and Brit dad injured as 'row over barbecue' takes horrific turn

Solaine's grandfather Irvin Thornton said the little girl “didn't stand a chance” when Raats, 71, opened fire and that her younger sister Celeste had been “left in shock" after witnessing the horrific attack.

The two girls had been playing on a swing under an an oak tree in their garden as their parents sat on a bench during a family barbecue on Saturday evening. They were reportedly shot from behind a hedge about 15 feet away.

The girls' mother, Rachel, 49, was shot in the back and head while eight-year-old Celeste managed to escape and raise the alarm.

Irvin told the Daily Mail that while there was some suggestion of a boundary dispute with Raats "we don't know exactly what has gone on”.

“We didn't know anything about a dispute,” he added. “How can a 71-year-old man shoot a little girl?

"There might have been dispute over land but you do not do that. She didn't stand a chance"

Marguerite Bleuzen, Mayor of Plonévez-du-Faou, which covers Saint-Herbot, said that her staff had been contacted about noise complaints in the past but while local prosecutor Carine Halley confirmed reports of an existing dispute, she said on Sunday that "the motives for the tragedy are not yet known”.

A neighbour, told The Times that Raats was very angry about trees being cut down on the Thorntons’ property: “No one else had any problem with the land being cleared but the Dutch man said he did not want people to be able to see him,” they said.

They added “It is terrible, nothing like this has happened in all the years I have lived here.”

The Thorntons, reportedly from Manchester, moved into the property in 2019 while their Dutch neighbours had arrived two years earlier.

Adrian removed three ramshackle wood stores and cleared undergrowth and trees to make a garden where the family keep ducks and grow vegetables.

Raats's wife Marlene van Hook is also facing police questioning over concealing a weapon.

The UK Foreign Office said it was aware of the shooting and is offering consulate assistance.

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