Alice Gross missing: Latvian police ‘can’t arrest suspect Arnis Zalkalns’

 

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The Independent Online

The prime suspect in the investigation into missing teenager Alice Gross cannot be arrested if he has returned to his native Latvia, police said.

British police do not have enough evidence to secure the European arrest warrant needed to detain Arnis Zalkalns. The convicted killer was seen cycling just minutes behind the 14-year-old before she disappeared four weeks ago from a canal-side path in west London. Mr Zalkalns went missing six days later. Authorities in Latvia have already indicated that they cannot arrest him without the warrant.

“The law is, unless you are ready to charge somebody and … unless you have evidence to charge, you cannot arrest,” said Scotland Yard Commander Graham McNulty. He said that the builder would have been arrested if he was in the UK and “we were aware of his whereabouts”.

Scotland Yard officers have travelled to Latvia as part of their inquiry to speak with members of his family amid suspicions that he has fled Britain after going missing on 3 September.

Mr Zalkalns, 41, travelled to Britain in 2007 after he was released from prison after beating and stabbing his wife Rudite to death. He lived with his partner and young daughter in west London until he disappeared.

He was arrested in 2009 over an allegation of indecent assault close to his home in Ealing but the case was closed after the alleged victim declined to press charges and inquiries about CCTV and appeals for witnesses were unsuccessful.

Scotland Yard has launched a review of its investigation which will look into the time it took to put Mr Zalkalns at the forefront of the investigation as his arrest over the indecent assault allegation would have been flagged up by police data bases.

Commander McNulty said that the builder probably would not have come to the attention of the police inquiry to find Alice Gross had he not gone missing himself. “This individual was not somebody who had convictions in the UK, not somebody who we had a significant amount of intelligence about at all,” he said.