Alice Gross murder: Alice's body was found 'wrapped in bag and weighted down'

Inquest into 14-year-old's death hears Alice was identified by dental records

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The Independent Online

The body of murdered teenager Alice Gross was found wrapped in a bag and weighted down in a shallow part of the River Brent, the inquest into her death has heard.

Alice’s mother, Rosalind Hodgekiss, 50, attended the West London Coroner’s Court on Friday, where the inquest into the 14-year-old’s death was opened.

Coroner’s officer John Chadwick told the court: “On September 30, as a result of a search of the River Brent, the body of Alice Gross was found by London Fire Brigade divers.

“The deceased was found submerged, wrapped in a bag and had been weighted down.”

 

The court also heard that Alice had been identified using dental records, and that a current post-mortem examination of her body had proved inconclusive.

The hearing lasted a few minutes and has been adjourned until 29 January.

Further tests are being carried out into the teenager’s cause of death.

Alice went missing from her home in Hanwell, West London, on 28 August.

The search operation launched by police was the biggest conducted by Scotland Yard since the 7 July bombings, but police have been criticised for the length of time it took to find the teenager’s body and to identify the prime suspect, Arnis Zalkalns.

Scotland Yard Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey defended the Metropolitan police’s efforts on Thursday, claiming the investigation was “colossal” and that the search had covered an area of 32 square kilometres.

Around 600 officers, including teams from 17 other police forces were drafted in to help with the search for the pair, which involved underwater experts from five forces and victim detection dogs and handlers from four outside the Met.

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Arnis Zalkalns' body was found in nearby Manor Park

“When you have search parameters of this size, it takes an awful long time.

“There is not a huge amount of experience across the country of doing this. When you talk to senior investigating officers, they start usually from a crime scene and a body, you start from a completely different place,” he said.

Mr Mackey insisted the investigation into Alice’s murder is still running, despite officers finding Zalkalns’ body on 4 October in Boston Manor, close to the area where Alice was last seen.

The deputy commissioner also defended the amount of time it took to identify Zalkalns, a convicted killer, as the main suspect.

Zalkalns served seven years in his native Latvia for the brutal murder of his wife, Rudite, authorities had no record of his conviction.

Additional reporting by PA