Alice’s family ask why her killer was allowed into UK

The family of murdered schoolgirl Alice Gross have told a coroner there is a “public interest” in knowing what checks were conducted when convicted killer Arnis Zalkalns was allowed into Britain.

Alice’s family ask why her killer was allowed into UK

Alice, 14, went missing in August last year and her body was discovered the following month in the Grand Union Canal in Ealing, west London. Zalkalns, 41, had been named as a suspect in her disappearance, but he was later found dead in woodland nearby. No-one else has been named in connection with Alice’s death.

Police later confirmed that the builder, from Latvia, who had come to the UK in 2007, was responsible, and the CPS announced that he would have been charged with murder if alive.

Zalkalns had previously been convicted of murdering his wife, in Latvia, and had been jailed for 12 years. But he was released after seven years and travelled to the UK.

Representing Alice’s family at a pre-inquest review, at West London Coroner’s Court, Rajeev Thacker asked for the scope of the investigation to be widened to consider how the killer came to be in Britain. He said: “[For] somebody who has a criminal record, systems seemed to have been in place, we don’t know exactly what they were, or what was done with them — Alice’s family would like to know. I suspect there is a wider public interest in knowing for the future, as well.”

Thacker told the court that Zalkalns’s nationality was not the issue and that Alice’s family “just want answers”.

He submitted that it would be appropriate to investigate how Zalkalns was being supervised after release from prison. A full inquest into the death is due to be held at the end of November or the beginning of December, and senior coroner, Chinyere Inyama, reserved judgment on whether it would be a jury inquest. He is expected to rule on the scope of the inquest within 21 days.

Human rights organisation Liberty, which is representing Alice’s family, has submitted that the case engages Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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