Alice Inquest To Investigate Police and Government Role
Coroner agrees to family's request to widen investigation
The inquest into the death of Alice Gross has been widened to look into the role of the police and government.
The Coroner, Dr Fiona Wilcox, ruled in favour of the family's lawyer who asked at a pre-hearing in October for the full inquest to probe whether her death was the result of any failure to implement statutory safeguards to protect the public under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to life.
The 14-year-old’s family requested the inquiry examine how Arnis Zalkalns, was able to live unchecked in Britain despite serving a prison sentence for murdering his wife in Latvia.
Zalkalns is believed to have killed Alice in a sexually motivated attack and hid her body in the River Brent in August last year. Her body was found on September 30 after Scotland Yard conducted its biggest search since the July 7 bombings.
Zalkalns was found hanged in Boston Manor Park on October 4 - police said the 41-year-old would have been charged with Alice’s murder had he been alive.
Sitting at the High Court, Dr Fiona Wilcox said she accepted the legal submissions, adding that witnesses would be called to determine "how he (Zalkalns) came to be in the country in the first place, given his convictions for murder and firearms offences".
The inquest will also look at "the systems that were in place at the time, and whether appropriate checks were carried out".
Alice's parents, Ros Hodgkiss and Jose Gross, said they were pleased "at the range of information that the coroner is willing to put in front of the jury".
They also said they hoped the coroner "will be able to make recommendations to prevent this kind of thing happening again".
A further pre-inquest hearing is scheduled to taken place in April.
December 15th 2015