Officer who found body of Swinton mum smelled "decomposing flesh", jury told

Officer who found body of Swinton mum smelled "decomposing flesh", jury told

By David Parker | 23/04/2021

Officer who found body of Swinton mum smelled 'decomposing flesh', jury told
Alena Grlakova


A SPECIALIST police officer who discovered the body of a missing Swinton woman has told a court that the first thing he noticed was the smell.

PC Andrew Briscoe discovered the body of mum-of-three Alena Grlakova (38) in a stream in Parkgate three months after she had gone missing.

Gary Allen (47), of Bradbury's Close, Parkgate, is on trial at Sheffield Crown Court accused of killing Ms Grlakova in Rotherham following her disappearance on Boxing Day 2018.

He is also accused of killing sex worker Samantha Class (29) in Hull in October 1997 by stamping on her and strangling her.

PC Briscoe, who has now retired from South Yorkshire Police, was working as a police search advisor at the time of the search for Ms Grlakova.

He and another officer had returned to the Old Slaugh stream, at School Lane playing fields, as part of a review of searches the force had already made for Ms Grlakova.

PC Briscoe told the jury today that they had got to the Old Slaugh at about 1.40pm on April 8, 2019, and walked along the bank next to the stream.

Mr James Gelsthorpe, prosecuting, said: "You were the first person to find the body, is that correct?"

PC Briscoe said: "Yes."

Mr Gelsthorpe said: "When did you first become aware of the presence of something?"

PC Briscoe said: "The smell."

Mr Gelsthorpe said: "Is it a smell with which you were familiar?"

PC Briscoe said: "I would definitely associate it with decomposing flesh.

"I was looking at where the smell was coming from and trying to establish or see where it was.

"I could see general rubbish in the stream and I could see a swelling that did not look like rubbish."

The jury heard previously that when PC Briscoe looked more closely, he could see a left leg sticking up from the silt.

PC Briscoe called for other officers and the body they recovered was later identified as Ms Grlakova.

Mr Alistair MacDonald, QC, previously told the jury that Allen had murdered Ms Grlakova after she repeatedly visited his flat on Boxing Day.

He said Allen killed her that night or the morning after and dumped her naked body in the Old Slaugh where he hoped it would avoid detection.

A pathologist concluded that Ms Grlakova had been strangled to death.

The jury has also heard that in October 1997 Hull sex worker Samantha Class was strangled to death and dumped in the River Humber.

Allen was tried for her murder in 2000 and was cleared but the jury have been told that his acquittal was irrelevant and they would be hearing "significantly more" evidence about the alleged killing.

Allen denies two counts of murder.

The trial continues

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