Police find bike belonging to Alice Gross suspect

A MOUNTAIN bike belonging to a convicted murderer wanted in connection with the disappearance of schoolgirl Alice Gross was yesterday found by police.

Schoolgirl Alice Gross was last seen three weeks ago. Picture: PA
Schoolgirl Alice Gross was last seen three weeks ago. Picture: PA

Scotland Yard said they were no longer appealing for help finding Arnis Zalkalns’ red Trek bike but would not say where it had been recovered or in what circumstances.

Zalkalns, 41, became the prime suspect in Alice’s disappearance after he was identified in CCTV footage riding the bike past the spot where she had been seen 15 minutes earlier on the afternoon she went missing three weeks ago.

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The Latvian builder was last seen on the evening of Wednesday 3 September and has not accessed his bank account or used his mobile phone since. His passport was left at his house. He was reported missing on Friday 5 September and his family have said that it is out of character for him to disappear.

In 1998 Zalkalns was convicted of bludgeoning and stabbing his wife Rudite to death in Latvia and served seven years in prison, prompting questions over why he was allowed into the UK.

Her mother Viktorija described the suspect as a “control freak with a fierce temper”.

Speaking from her home on the outskirts of Riga, the 70-year-old said: “I’m still angry at the length of his sentence. This was a callous and heartless murder with no remorse. My daughter was trained in karate but she couldn’t fight him off.

“He prepared my daughter’s grave in advance and planted the weapons next to it. Then he tricked her into going with him to a forest.”

Alice’s last known movements were between 1pm when she left her home in Hanwell, west London, and 4:26pm when she walked along Trumpers Way, towards Hanwell, on 28 August.

Scotland Yard have insisted they have no evidence to suggest that the 14-year-old, who suffered from anorexia, has come to harm.

Detectives have said that Zalkalns was arrested on suspicion of indecently assaulting a 14-year-old girl in 2009, but no further action was taken.

The labourer, who works at a building site in Isleworth, west London, is thought to have come to the UK in 2007.

Police said on Thursday that it was their understanding that there was no record in the UK of his murder conviction. 
Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Commons home affairs committee, said: “It is very concerning that people convicted of serious crimes are able to cross borders without the country they are entering being alerted.

“The UK needs an updated warnings index or a new mechanism, similar to those used in the United States, which would flag up whether a person has a conviction as they are attempting to cross the UK border.

“This is something that specifically effects those who enter from the EU.”

Mr Vaz called for Home Secretary Theresa May to push for such measures in negotiations with the EU over justice and home affairs.

A reward of up to £20,000 is being offered for anyone who has information that leads detectives to find Alice.