At the end of the investigation into the disappearance and death of Alice Gross, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) submitted a report to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). That report proposed that Arnis Zalkalns was responsible for her abduction and murder.
Although Zalkalns is dead, due to the considerable public interest in this case the CPS reviewed the key evidence and has provided advice to assist in deciding what further investigation, if any, may be appropriate.
Arnis Zalkalns became a person of interest at an early stage of the investigation into Alice’s disappearance but much more evidence and information became available as the police investigation progressed. During the investigation it was not appropriate to provide a running commentary on that evidence.
Tim Thompson, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS London said:
“I have received a report on the Metropolitan Police investigation into the disappearance and death of Alice Gross. The report concerned Arnis Zalkalns, and the CPS has not been asked to consider any other suspect.
“It is not for the CPS to say whether or not Arnis Zalkalns killed Alice Gross – that would have been for a jury to decide – but instead to determine whether there was evidence which would have provided a realistic prospect of conviction, and therefore enough evidence to charge him with murder.
I have concluded that the evidence now available would have been sufficient to give rise to a realistic prospect of conviction for murder, applying the Full Code Test in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
“There is no eye-witness evidence. The scientific evidence does not link Arnis Zalkalns directly to Alice’s death. Nonetheless the evidence as a whole gives rise to a circumstantial case that would clearly meet the full Code test. Of all the people the various strands of evidence might have implicated they in fact point towards Arnis Zalkalns: a person who has previously killed, and concealed the body of, a young woman.
“I would therefore have authorised the police to charge Arnis Zalkalns with murder if he had been alive at the time of the report.”
DCI Andy Chalmers, said: “I am satisfied that the evidence points firmly to Zalkalns as being responsible for the abduction and murder of Alice. I believed it was important for the CPS to assess the evidence that the investigation team had found against him to reassure Alice’s family and the community, who were so affected by her disappearance.
“The public support for our investigation in the local community was overwhelming. I hope that the CPS’s decision that, if he was alive, Zalkalns would have been charged with Alice’s murder will in some way help the community come to terms.”
Some of the evidence pieced together by the investigation team is outlined below:
It is possible to determine, based on the evidence available, that Alice was walking along the Grand Union Tow Path on the afternoon of 28 August 2014, and that Arnis Zalkalns was also cycling north on the tow path on that same afternoon.
The last known sighting of Alice on CCTV is of her walking north at 16:26hrs, the last connection between her phone and a cell mast was at 16:28hrs and her phone disconnected from the network at 17:11hrs. From CCTV evidence, it also appears that Arnis Zalkalns would have overtaken Alice on the tow path at about 16:10hrs. The CCTV suggests that he must have stopped for at least 80 minutes, and when he reappeared on camera his appearance indicated that he may have been in the water.
Arnis Zalkalns returned to the tow path that evening, the following morning – when there is a significant period of time unaccounted for- and again on the evening of 29 August.
Alice Gross’s body was found in the River Brent on 30 September, having been tied into bags. Elaborate measures had been taken to keep her body submerged. A well-preserved cigarette butt was found metres from where Alice was found, and DNA from that butt has been matched to Arnis Zalkalns. DNA evidence also strongly suggests that Arnis Zalkalns was in contact with Alice’s body. One of the bags used to conceal Alice’s body mechanically matches the next bag remaining on a roll seized from his workplace. The bag was spattered with paint, as was the roll.
An iPhone cover was found concealed in Zalkalns garden. Whilst it is not possible to positively identify it by reference to a serial number, as it does not have one, Alice’s sister is confident it is hers.
The CPS’s advice does not determine the guilt or innocence of Arnis Zalkalns, which could only be decided by a jury. Instead, it finds that the Full Code test of the Code for Crown Prosecutors would have been met in this case.
Police are content Corrie McKeague is not in the landfill areas which have now been searched.
olice have completed the search of a second area at the Milton landfill site as part of their inquiry to find Corrie McKeague.
The search of an extended area of Cell 22 began on October 23, 2017.
Although the data available indicated this was the next most likely area where Corrie might be found following the original 20-week search of the cell earlier this year, there was no trace of him.
Police are content Corrie is not in the landfill areas which have now been searched.
The inquiry team has identified all the other possible locations where waste has been deposited from the area in Bury St Edmunds known as the ‘horseshoe’ and there are no further realistic search opportunities at this time.
As previously stated, the nature of waste disposal and its movement is not an exact science.
The primary hypothesis – that Corrie ended up in the waste disposal process – was endorsed by a review of the investigation undertaken by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU).
The EMSOU officers who conducted the review were given access to all of the information they needed to conduct a thorough review, including all of the witness statements.
Following the conclusion of the landfill search site today the investigation into Corrie’s disappearance on September 24, 2016, will continue.
He was last seen on CCTV entering a loading bay in the ‘horseshoe’ following a night out.
CCTV in Bury St Edmunds town centre has already been viewed up to 4pm on 24th September 2016 and Corrie has not been seen to leave.
However, we will continue to scrutinise the other theories in order to try to establish and understand what may have happened to Corrie.
Detective Superintendent Katie Elliott said: “We are still committed to continuing with the inquiry. There are a number of other theories about what could have happened to Corrie and we are continuing to test the evidence to help us understand what happened to Corrie, which will assist in providing answers to his family.
“We feel it is important to explain to the family what we are doing, so they have the opportunity to understand and question what we have done, and why we have done it.
“We are acutely aware of the immense strain the last 15 months has placed upon Corrie’s loved ones. We want them to be confident we are doing everything that it is practical for us to do as we strive to find Corrie.”
Suffolk Constabulary would like to thank FCC Environment, owner of the Milton landfill site, for its support and co-operation during the inquiry.
The total amount searched in this second phase of the search was 2,867.5 tonnes.
The Wesley Nightclub in Hartlepool is ablaze
An area of Hartlepool town centre has been closed as flames rip through the former Wesley nightclub.
Police and Fire Fighters were quickly on the scene of the blaze at the former Wesley Nightclub and Chruch in Hartlepool.
The Grade II Listed Building has stood empty for a number of years and is a very iconic building within Hartlepool.
Trevor Sherwood Police Hour editor said “The flames are reaching 20ft in the air and a large number of fire appliances are on the scene loud explosions can be heard from inside the building”
“I arrived on scene just before the first fire appliance got there, loud bangs could be heard from inside and the fire quickly took hold”
“It was over 30 minutes before Cleveland Fire could get a hose safely on the building as they needed an aerial platform”.
Hugh flames can be seen for several miles as firefighters tackle the blaze. It took Firefighters almost 30 minutes before they were able to get a hose onto the fire which seemed to be mainly on the roof of the building with flames up to 20ft.
Firefighters have been called to a blaze at the former Wesley nightclub and church in Wesley Square, Hartlepool.
The Wesley Chruch opened n 1872 and became an iconic image within Hartlepool sadly the church closed in 1973 and later reopened as a nightclub in the early 2000s and then later a gym complex.
The business was closed and has been empty for over 10 years left to fall to bits with many people within Hartlepool hoping the building could be brought back to life.
Cleveland Fire Brigade was alerted to the fire just after 9pm and with a large number of fire appliances being sent the scene.
Cleveland Police assisted the fire brigade by enforcing a number of road closures on Victoria Road and Raby Road.
We have contacted Cleveland Fire Brigade for comment.
Members of the public are being warned to keep their windows shut as thick smoke is billowing across the centre of Hartlepool.
Cleveland Police have released a statement “Officers have been called to a report of a fire at an empty building known as the Wesley Nightclub on Victoria Road in Hartlepool on Saturday 9th December”
“Police are currently on scene with Cleveland Fire Brigade and it is believed no one is injured at this time.”
“Victoria Road and Wesley Square are currently closed and people are advised to avoid these areas until further notice.”
Anyone who may have witnessed what happened leading up to the fire is requested to contact Cleveland Police on 101.
On-Duty Police Constable James Dixon has sadly died
It is with great sadness that we report the death of Police Constable James Dixon and a 91-year-old woman following an incident on the A4 in Berkshire.
PC James Dixon died after the police motorcycle he was riding collided with a car on Bath Road near Hare Hatch at 13:50 GMT.
The pensioner was a passenger in the car and was killed while the driver was rushed to hospital.
Police Hour has now launched a readers appeal to help raise money to support the family of the fallen police officer and the 91-year-old victim who has not yet been named.
Tonight we light a candle fo PC James Dixon thank you for your service, our thoughts are with your family as this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/qwEdkpi6lI
— Police Hour (@PoliceHour) December 5, 2017
The road will remain closed for the remainder of Tuesday.
PC Dixon was a highly respected police
Officer of Thames Valley Police
A force spokesman said officers remained at the scene of the collision and had advised motorists to avoid the area.
The incident has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
IPCC Associate Commissioner Guido Liguori said: “My thoughts and sympathies are with their families and friends and the colleagues of the officer at this very difficult time.
“IPCC investigators are attending the scene as part of an independent investigation to determine the circumstances which lead to the collision.”
PC Dixon was based at Loddon Valley police station, near Reading.
Police said the injuries of the driver involved are “not thought to be life threatening”.
Police Hour has now launched a readers appeal to help raise money to support the family of the fallen police officer and the 91-year-old victim who has not yet been named Please Donate now even if it’s just £5.