Alice Gross Hunt - Can Canalside Community Help?
Viv Ellis reports from police press conference
When I arrived at the designated meeting point; outside the Fox pub at the bottom of Green Lane it was disconcerting to see several officers searching the allotments opposite. A few yards down to the left there were police divers in the canal. But we were re-assured by Det Inspector Judy Wilats that both of these measures were routine.
The press contingent which included ITV, Sky, 5, LBC and The Sun as well as local journalists were then led around to the canal towpath up as far as the start of Three Bridges where Alice is known to have been on the day she went missing. The pathways off to the right of the path itself were sealed off with official tape, DI Wilats explaining that there may be evidence there and the police did not want it disturbed.
DI Wilats said the day Alice went missing had been “routine”. She went shopping with her mum, then took a packed lunch and went off for a walk, possibly with friends, all of which was normal behaviour.
It has now been confirmed that Alice has the eating disorder, anorexia, but no other details were revealed as it was felt to be a private matter. I asked if Alice was known to have a boyfriend and told "not as far as is known, but she did have a wide circle of friends we are not looking at anyone in particular."
DI Wilats also emphasized that the case is still a “missing person” investigation even though her department is murder and serious crime.
She said: “Maybe Alice went off to be on her own for whatever reason and is now scared to come home. But she is not in trouble, not at all. And if any of her friends have seen her or had any sort of message from her – please, please come forward and tell us.”
The police are still hoping for more CCTV footage but confirmed that Alice walked onto the towpath from either opposite the Viaduct pub or the entrance a few metres down nearer the hospital. She then walked right down to the Brentford/Kew Bridge area – she was spotted on camera near the Holiday Inn. Then she started walking back towards home.
DI Wilats emphasized that Alice had a distinctive rucksack – purple with bright colours, this has now been recovered but it might ring a bell with other possible witnesses.
Police are appealing to the canalside community and those who may have been passing through to cast their minds back to Thursday 28th August - did anyone see Alice?
Anyone with information that may assist the investigation should call the Incident Room on 020 8358 0100 or Ealing Missing Persons Unit on 020 8246 1018 or 101. Alternatively call the charity Missing People on 116000.
4th September 2014