Alice suspect inquest adjourned

Published: Monday 13th October 2014 by The News Editor

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The prime suspect in the murder of schoolgirl Alice Gross was discovered hanged in dense woodland just four days after the teenager’s body was pulled from a river, an inquest has heard.

The decomposed body of convicted killer Arnis Zalkalns was found in Boston Manor Park, West London, on October 4 and was identified by dental records.

Only press attended the brief hearing at West London Coroner’s Court as the inquiry into the 41-year-old Latvian’s death was opened and adjourned today.

Coroner’s officer Lana Atkinson told the court: “Mr Zalkalns was found on October 4 and his body was found suspended by his neck in dense woodland in Boston Manor Park adjacent to the canal.

“A post mortem conducted on October 6 found a conditional cause of death is consistent with hanging. There is no evidence of third party involvement.

“Police are still investigating and he was identified by dental records.”

The inquest has been adjourned until December.

Zalkalns served seven years in prison in his native country for bludgeoning and stabbing his wife Rudite to death.

The general labourer, who worked at a building site in Isleworth, west London, is believed to have come to the UK in 2007, but authorities here are thought to have had no record of his murder conviction.

CCTV revealed him cycling behind Alice along the tow path next to the Grand Union Canal on August 28 – the day she disappeared.

He was reported missing from his home in Ealing, west London, a week later.

Alice’s body was found wrapped and weighted down in a shallow stretch of river by London Fire Brigade divers on September 30.

The schoolgirl from Hanwell was identified using dental records and a post-mortem examination proved inconclusive, a brief hearing in to her death heard earlier this month.

Her inquest was opened and adjourned until January.

Scotland Yard Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey has previously insisted that the investigation into Alice’s murder is still live despite Zalkalns having been found dead.

He also defended the amount of time that it took to find Alice and Zalkalns’ bodies.

Officers from 17 other police forces were drafted in to help with the search, including underwater experts from five forces and victim detection dogs and handlers from four outside the Met.

The search was the largest operation that Scotland Yard has carried out since the aftermath of the July 7 bombings.

Published: Monday 13th October 2014 by The News Editor

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