Police failed to find body of 'murdered' Swinton mum three times, jury told

Police failed to find body of 'murdered' Swinton mum three times, jury told

By David Parker | 26/04/2021

Police failed to find body of 'murdered' Swinton mum three times, jury told
Alena Grlakova


THE SITE where the body of Swinton woman Alena Grlakova was found had been searched by police three times before officers discovered her, a court has heard.

PC Andrew Briscoe discovered the body of mum-of-three Ms 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.

Ms Katherine Goddard, representing Allen, today (Wednesday) cross-examined PC Simon Bennett, a police search advisor who was with PC Briscoe when he found Ms Grlakova's body on April 8 2019.

She said: "In reviewing the search that had taken place, did you see reference that the site where Ms Grlakova's body was eventually found had been searched previously on three occasions?"

PC Bennett said: "I was aware that it had been searched previously but I wasn't aware how many times."

The officer said during his evidence that he had been asked to review areas where police had been looking for Ms Grlakova.

He said he had decided to search the Old Slaugh because he was unfamiliar with it and it was near to Taylor's Lane, where Ms Grlakova had last been spotted.

The jury has previously heard that PC Briscoe had smelled decomposing flesh and had then spotted part of a body in the bed of the Old Slaugh.

The body was later identified as that of Ms Grlakova.

Dr Naomi Carter, a pathologist who conducted a post-mortem examination, told the jury she had found evidence that a bone in Ms Grlakova's neck had been broken before she died.

"Based on the medical evidence that was available to me at the time, on the balance of probabilities, my opinion was that Alena Grlakova had died of neck injuries, and the most likely cause of that was compression of the neck," she said.

Dr Carter said Ms Grlakova could have been strangled, either with hands or a cord; could have been placed in a choke hold, where an assailant uses the crook of their elbow from behind; or could have been placed in a bar hold, where an assailant would use their forearm or a bar from behind or in front.

Under cross-examination, Dr Carter said the fracture in Ms Grlakova's neck could have been caused by someone or something striking her but she said the most likely cause was compression of the neck.

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

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

The jury has also heard that in October 1997 Hull sex worker Samantha Class (29) 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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