A Coroner is to decide the scope of the inquest into the death of Alice Gross and whether wider questions about what the authorities knew about her murderer, should be investigated.
Alice’s body was found on 30 September 2014 in the Grand Union Canal in Ealing, London, a month after she had gone missing. The suspect, Arnis Zalkalns, had come to the UK from Latvia in 2007. He had previously been convicted of the murder of his ex-wife in Latvia and had travelled to the UK after his release from prison. Alice’s family is hoping that an inquest would investigate how information sharing had broken down between EU member states about a person who posed such a high risk to the public.
In submissions to the coroner, Liberty highlighted that the case engages Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and, if the coroner agrees, the forthcoming inquest would look beyond the cause of death into the broader circumstances surrounding Alice’s death.
Addressing West London coroner’s court yesterday morning, Rajeev Thacker said:
“We have somebody who has a criminal record and systems seem to have been in place. We don’t know how they were used. Alice’s family want to know and I suspect there is a wider public interest in knowing for the future.”
Alice’s family said: “Losing Alice has left a hole in our lives that can never be filled. But our questions about why the authorities knew nothing about her murderer, despite his previous conviction and arrest, can and should be answered. We hope the Coroner will agree.
“We believe in freedom of movement and human rights, as did Alice, and we repeat our request that her death not be appropriated by those with an anti-immigration agenda. We live in a multicultural and multifaith area, and our community has been extraordinary in its unity, sympathy, compassion and support for our family since our daughter was taken from us in this brutal and senseless way.”
Rajeev is a member of the Garden Court Chambers Inquests Team.