Carmel Bloom's operation death: Third inquest ordered

Carmel Bloom Carmel Bloom died in 2002 after a routine kidney stone operation

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A third inquest has been ordered into the death of a woman who died after an operation at a privately-run hospital.

Carmel Bloom, 54, died in 2002 at the Roding Hospital in Ilford after a kidney stone operation.

The High Court order came after hearing fresh evidence, but it will be decided later whether a jury will be present.

Her family say a jury is needed as the case deals with alleged dangers posed to patients by some private hospitals.

In March this year the attorney general granted Ms Bloom's brother, Bernard Bloom, a formal consent to apply for a third inquest.

At the time of her death the hospital was run by Bupa, but it is now run by Spire Healthcare.

Ms Bloom worked there as a health controller.

'Highly dangerous'

The first inquest held in 2003, which found she died of natural causes, was quashed in 2004.

The second inquest in 2005 found lack of post-operative care contributed to her death. That conclusion has also been quashed.

Mr Justice Mitting, sitting with Judge Peter Thornton QC, said new evidence included an expert report that was "cogent and compelling" and made "disturbing reading".

He said a new inquest was "necessary and desirable in the interests of justice".

The judge indicated the court was recommending that the new inquest be conducted by a QC experienced in the medical-legal field, but not a jury as the case was complex and more than a decade old.

Mrs Bloom's family believe the expert report and a 999 call by a night sister describing the seriousness of Carmel's condition should throw more light on her death.

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BBC Local Live

  1.  
    18:00: Good evening

    That's all for today's BBC Local Live.

    Scroll down for all the developments in the murder of Alice Gross.

    Join us tomorrow from 08:00 where we'll have all the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates for London.

     
  2.  
    17:50: Alice Gross recap

    Just to recap today's developments in the Alice Gross murder investigation:

    • Police said they would have charged Arnis Zalkalns with the 14-year-old's murder if he had lived
    • Officers believe there was a "sexual motive" to her death, although there was no evidence she had been assaulted
    • She died after being compressed by a heavier body
    • Even if they had known earlier about Zalkalns' murder conviction in Latvia it would not have saved Alice
    • A cigarette butt with Zalkalns' DNA was found close to Alice's body and her iPhone case was found buried 5ft (1.5m) in his garden
    • Her body was heavily concealed in the River Brent and was weighed down with bricks, tree trunks and sediment
    Last footage of Arnis Zalkalns
     
  3.  
    17:47: Mild and breezy

    It will be relatively mild during the evening, with the increasing breeze and generally cloudy skies helping prevent a frost.

    While most of the night will be dry, there is a chance of some patchy rain arriving from the north west by dawn.

    Lows of 5C (41F).

     
  4.  
    17:45: Coming up BBC London News TV

    On tonight's programme on BBC One at 18:30, Nick Beake has a round-up of the police investigation into murdered schoolgirl Alice Gross. Earlier detectives said they would have charged Arnis Zalkalns with her murder had he not killed himself.

    Also on the programme, controversial cycle superhighways are set to be given the go ahead. And paramedics who had planned on going on strike on Thursday talk about the pressures they face.

     
  5.  
    17:39: Football tonight Murray Burnell BBC London 94.9

    Tonight, Millwall and Dagenham can boost their respective survival hopes in the Championship and League Two with wins over Reading and Cambridge.

     
  6.  
    17:35: Strike cancelled

    A 48-hour strike planned by workers on London's Docklands Light Railway in a dispute over terms and conditions has been called off.

    DLR train

    The Rail, Maritime and Transport union said talks with operators Keolis/Amey had secured an agreement.

    Workers were due to go on strike from 04:00 tomorrow.

     
  7.  
    17:24: Farringdon delays

    There are currently delays of 40 minutes on Thameslink trains between Blackfriars and St Pancras International because of a safety check in the tunnel at Farringdon which was badly flooded earlier this week.

    Keep up-to-date with BBC Travel or on Twitter @BBCLondonTravel.

     
  8.  
    17:18: Dementia initiative

    Watch: At a care home in London cocktail parties are used to allow elderly people with dementia to dress-up and relive their younger years.

     
  9.  
    17:10: Dubai flies past Heathrow

    Dubai International has taken over from Heathrow as the world's busiest international airport in terms of yearly passenger numbers.

    Dubai International Airport

    The United Arab Emirates airport said it had just under 70.5 million passengers through in 2014, compared with about 68.1 million for Heathrow.

     
  10.  
    16:59: News on the hour Will Shindler BBC London 94.9

    In the 17:00 bulletin, I'll be telling you about the ceremonies which have been taking place to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet forces.

    In London, the annual Holocaust Memorial Day service was addressed by the Prince of Wales, who said the Holocaust was a warning and a lesson to everyone.

     
  11.  
    16:52: Bank to relocate

    A merchant bank has announced that it is moving 600 staff into Wimbledon town centre, making it the biggest private employer in the borough.

    This Is Local London says Close Brothers are re-locating the staff from their office in Tolworth Tower to Wimbledon Bridge House in Hartfield Road.

     
  12.  
    16:44: Spy 'poisoned twice'

    The inquiry into the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who died from polonium poisoning in 2006, has finished for the day.

    Counsel to the inquiry Robin Tam QC said a month before Mr Litvinenko was killed in November 2006, he may have been poisoned.

    He had recalled feeling unwell around the time of a meeting at a security company in mid-October and "vomiting on one occasion about two or three weeks before being hospitalised," he said.

    Catch up on today's evidence here.

     
  13.  
    16:33: Firefighter remembered

    London Fire Brigade tweets: Firefighters past & present remembered Fireman Stephen Maynard who died at a ship fire 35 years ago. Pic @stevedude68

    Firefighters remember Stephen Maynard
     
  14.  
    16:22: Noisy neighbours app

    Croydon Council has launched a new smartphone app which allows users to report noisy neighbours, East London Lines reports.

    The 'My Croydon' app has a decibel meter that measures noise and informs users whether it is loud enough to be classed as a "nuisance".

     
  15.  
    16:09: 3D heart Alice Bhandhukravi Presenter/Reporter, BBC London

    Here I am holding a replica heart made by a 3D printer used by Evelina London Children's Hospital and King's Imaging to help save a two-year-old girl.

    Alice Bhandhukravi hold 3D replica heart

    Find out more in the 18:30 news on BBC One.

     
  16.  
    16:00: News on the hour BBC London 94.9 Radio

    Coming up on the 4pm bulletin: A public inquiry has opened into the murder in London of the former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko. He was poisoned more than eight years ago - after becoming an outspoken critic of the Kremlin.

    British Police have identified two suspects, now living in Russia - Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtoon. Both men deny any involvement.

     
  17.  
    15:46: How to cope with sharing with strangers

    Tenants in London are increasingly sharing bedrooms according to reports.

    If you are in this position, Clare Spencer, who rented a room along with two other people she did not know for three months, offers her coping strategies.

    These include getting changed in the bathroom and staying out until bedtime.

     
  18.  
    15:34: Chelsea host Liverpool Murray Burnell BBC London 94.9

    Chelsea have the chance to redeem their exit from the FA Cup tonight as they host Liverpool for a chance to make the final of the League Cup.

    It's 1-1 on aggregate and we have full commentary on BBC London 94.9.

     
  19.  
    15:27: 'Polar bear' goes on the Tube

    An animatronic polar bear gave commuters on the Underground this morning when it joined them.

    Animatronic polar bear on the Tube

    It was all part of a publicity stunt for Sky Atlantic's new drama Fortitude.

    A team of 19 Hollywood prop specialists spent six weeks designing and building the realistic replica animal, with six to eight people working on the costume at any one time.

     
  20.  
    15:18: BP's Tate sponsorship revealed

    Tate has revealed oil giant BP donated £3.8m to its galleries as part of its sponsorship deal over a 17-year period.

    The figures have been released after Tate lost a three-year Freedom of Information battle, brought by environmental campaigners.

     
  21.  
    15:08: Who wants to work in a tunnel? Mario Cacciottolo BBC News

    The £16bn Crossrail project has dug out many miles of tunnels beneath London's streets.

    Crossrail tunnel

    The company has taken on thousands of unemployed people and even created a special academy to train them - but who wants a job that takes you underground?

    I dig deep to find out.

     
  22.  
    15:00: News on the hour BBC London 94.9 Radio

    Coming up at 15:00, Det Supt Carl Metha tells BBC London 94.9 police are confident Latvian builder Arnis Zalkalns was responsible for Alice Gross's murder.

    Also, thousands of people were put at risk from radioactivity when the former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned in London, a public inquiry into his death nine years ago has been told.

     
  23.  
    14:51: New jobs

    Waitrose is set to create 2,00 jobs in new shops and by expanding existing site.

    BBC Business reports that some of the posts will be at a new depot in south London.

     
  24.  
    14:33: Superhighway 'to go ahead' Tom Edwards Transport correspondent, London

    The consultation process seemed to drag on and on but now London Mayor Boris Johnson has decided to go ahead with his contentious flagship cycle superhighway.

    Cycle superhighway plan

    The plan is to put a single segregated cycle lane along Embankment to link Hyde Park with Tower Hill.

    My blog has more analysis on what this all means for the mayor and cycling campaigners.

     
  25.  
    14:14: Strike cancelled

    Tomorrow's 48 hour strike on Docklands Light Railway has been suspended, reports BBC Travel.

     
  26.  
    14:05: Litvinenko 'killed on third attempt'

    Two prior attempts to kill ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko may have been made before he died from radiation poisoning in London in 2006, the BBC has learned.

    Alexander Litvinenko

    The one-time officer with the successor to the KGB fled to the UK where he became a fierce critic of the Kremlin and worked for security service MI6.

    A public inquiry into the death of the 43-year-old opened today.

     
  27.  
    14:00: News on the hour BBC London 94.9 Radio

    Coming up at 14:00, Det Supt Carl Metha tells BBC London 94.9 police are confident Latvian builder Arnis Zalkalns was responsible for Alice Gross's murder.

    Also, thousands of people were put at risk from radioactivity when the former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned in London, a public inquiry into his death nine years ago has been told.

     
  28.  
    13:44:

    Det Ch Insp Andy Chalmers said: "During this investigation I found out a lot about what Alice was like as a person. She was a bright, talented young girl.

    Alice Gross

    "Those who loved and knew her talked of her beauty inside and out and the spark she had."

     
  29.  
    13:39:

    Her body was weighed down with bricks tied to a bicycle wheel and logs which were so heavy that the fire brigade required heavy lifting equipment to remove them.

    Log used to weigh down her body
     
  30.  
    13:34:

    Alice was found naked and tied up.

    Where Alice was found

    Her body was found in chest high, still water with a thick layer of sentiment. She was discovered under low lying branches and thick foliage that formed a canopy over her hidden body.

     
  31.  
    13:24:

    The Met said Latvian authorities confirmed to them on 11 September his murder conviction.

    As the force had still not ascertained his whereabouts by 16 September, a public appeal for his whereabouts was made.

    By 17 September, officers had identified him on the CCTV footage as being in the area when Alice went missing.

    The next day he was named as a suspect.

     
  32.  
    13:19:

    As the Met releases CCTV images of Zalkalns' last known movements in 4 September, the force has revealed that he was reported missing by his partner on 5 September.

    Homicide Command, the team that was investigating Alice's disappearance, was informed of his disappearance on 8 September.

    Last sighting of Zalkalns

    Inquiries were sent off to Latvia via Interpol to establish his history.

     
  33.  
    13:14:

    In this video report by Robert Piggot that was made days before Alice's body was discovered, Zalkalns' mother-in-law warns that he is a dangerous man.

    Viktorija Zalkalne
     
  34.  
    13:09:

    More information about Zalkalns' arrest in 2009 over an alleged indecent assault on a 14-year-old girl has been released.

    • It is said to have happened near to Grand Union Canal in Boston Manor
    • Police say the allegation was "thoroughly investigated" but the complainant declined to support the prosecution so Zalkalns was not charged
    • No checks were made to see if he had any overseas convictions because it was not the Met's policy to do so
    • Detectives say even if the conviction was known about, it would not have altered charging decision
    • Police say it's "very unlikely" Zalkalns would have been deported had conviction been known about
     
  35.  
    13:02:

    Here is the CCTV footage that the police have released of Zalkaln and Alice's movements on the day she was killed.

    Arnis Zalkalns
     
  36.  
    12:51:

    Alice's inquest has been put back and will now not take place as planned on Thursday.

    A new date has yet to be fixed.

     
  37.  
    12:44:

    The family said they were also "astonished" by the continuing support for Alice's Youth Music Memorial Fund. So far £17,000 has been raised.

    Family picture of Alice with her father, mother and sister

    "We are planning to hold a music event in the summer as a celebration of Alice's life and passion for music.

    "We also hope that in time an annual event can be launched to promote opportunities for young musicians, in tribute to Alice's aspirations."

     
  38.  
    12:39:

    Alice's family said although they now have certain information as to how she died, they still had unanswered questions on what the authorities knew or should have have known about when Zalkalns came to the UK.

    "Alice believed in the free movement of people and so do we. For her sake we are determined to ask these questions responsibly and sensitively.

    "For that reason we have asked Liberty to help us and we look to the forthcoming inquest into Alice's death to help us find answers to these questions."

     
  39.  
    12:30:

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

    He served seven years in prison doe murdering his wife Rudite Zalkalns.

     
  40.  
    12:26:

    Latvian court documents about the 1998 murder case reveal a psychologist assessed Zalkalns as being mentally stable and said he knew exactly what he was doing when he murdered his wife and buried her in a shallow grave.

    Arnis Zalkalns

    In a confession Zalkalns - an experienced welder who took his wife's surname - told police he made a metal pole and an eight-inch knife, which he used to hit and stab her.

     
  41.  
    12:11:

    Who was Arnis Zalkalns?

    In this profile on the Latvian builder, he was described as a "threat to society" by his mother-in-law. He had bludgeoned and stabbed his wife Rudite to death in 1998.

    Arnis Zalkalns and his wife who he murdered

    Viktorija Zalkalns said: "A person like that is sick. He should be put into a hospital."

     
  42.  
    12:04: News on the hour BBC London 94.9 Radio

    Det Supt Carl Metha tells the 12:00 bulletin that systems to check foreign criminals have got better since 2012.

    It comes after it was announced that police were not aware he had murdered his wife when he was arrested for sexual assault on a 14-year-old in 2009.

     
  43.  
    12:00:

    In a statement, Alice's family thanked the local community in west London for their support.

    "Hanwell is a multi-cultural and multi-faith area; the search and grief for Alice united the whole community in an extraordinary display of sympathy and compassion, and this has continued.

    "We are very grateful."

     
  44.  
    11:50:

    Alice's iPhone case was found in a narrow void at the rear of Zalkalns' garden.

    Alice with her phone

    Officers said while it is not possible to positively identify it by reference to a serial number, as it does not have one, Alice's sister is confident it is hers.

     
  45.  
    11:45:

    Her body was found on 30 September here in the River Brent.

    Place where Alice's body was found
     
  46.  
    11:40:

    Alice's trainers were found in her rucksack which was along the canal path.

    Traces of Zalkalns' DNA were found on the back of the shoes.

    Trainers and backpack
     
  47.  
    11:34:

    Alice's body was weighed down in the water with a wheel, bricks and logs.

    Bricks and logs used to weigh down Alice's body
     
  48.  
    11:30:

    At the press conference, Det Ch Insp Andy Chalmers said: "Boy do I wish we found her [Alice] earlier".

    Her body was found in the River Brent just over a month after she was last seen.

     
  49.  
    11:26:

    His body was found here in Boston Manor Park on 4 October.

    Boston Park
     
  50.  
    11:22:

    CCTV evidence suggested Zalkalns would have passed Alice on the towpath at about 16:10 on 28 August, when he stopped for at least 80 minutes, police said.

    CCTV of Alice Last sighting of Alice

    When he reappeared on camera, his appearance indicated he might have been in the water.

     
  51.  
    11:19:

    The Met Police has released images of the last sighting of Zalkalns.

    Arnis Zalkalns

    Here he was visiting a newsagents several days after he was alleged to have murdered Alice.

     
  52.  
    11:10:

    CCTV timeline:

    • The last known sighting of Alice is of her walking north at 16:26
    • The last connection between her phone and a cell mast was at 16:28
    • Her phone disconnected from the network at 17:11
    • Zalkalns would have overtaken Alice on the tow path at about 16:10
    • CCTV suggests he must have stopped for at least 80 minutes, and when he reappeared on camera his appearance indicated that he may have been in the water
    • Zalkalns returned to the tow path that evening, the following morning - when there is a significant period of time unaccounted for- and again on the evening of 29 August.
     
  53.  
    11:07:

    Here's a recap of the key points which have come out of today's press conference with the detective in charge of the investigation.

    • The single DNA sample from Alice's skin "strongly supports" a match to Zalkalns
    • Zalkalns returned to the tow path near Alice's body three times
    • Police say even if they had known earlier about Zalkalns' murder conviction in Latvia it would not have saved Alice

    For more details, see the BBC News report.

     
  54.  
    11:00: News on the hour BBC London 94.9 Radio

    Det Supt Carl Metha tells BBC London 94.9 they are confident the Latvian builder was responsible for Alice's murder last year.

    In the 11:00 bulletin, he describes some of the evidence they found against Zalkalns.

     
  55.  
    10:56:

    Det Ch Insp Andy Chalmers said: "I believed it was important for the CPS to assess the evidence that the investigation team had found against him (Zalkalns) to reassure Alice's family and the community, who were so affected by her disappearance.

    "The public support for our investigation in the local community was overwhelming.

    "I hope that the CPS's decision that, if he was alive, Zalkalns would have been charged with Alice's murder will in some way help the community come to terms."

     
  56.  
    10:54:

    Police also revealed that Zalkalns had returned twice to the area where Alice was last seen and had searched her name online as reports of her disappearance emerged.

     
  57.  
    10:43:

    The family added: "Although we now have certain information about how Alice died, we are still left with some serious unanswered questions about what the authorities knew or should have known about the man who is believed to have killed our daughter when he came to the UK."

     
  58.  
    10:39:

    In a statement today, Alice's family said: "It remains impossible to describe the pain of losing Alice. Her death has left a hole in our lives that can never be filled.

    Alice's family Alice's father Jose, mother Rosalind Hodgkiss and sister Nina Gross

    "Every day is a reminder of her life and her loss, and it is hard to imagine a future in which we can find peace and healing.

    "Her brutal murder remains shocking, an appalling senseless act that is still difficult to believe or understand."

     
  59.  
    10:29:

    Arnis Zalkalns was first linked to Alice's disappearance after he was filmed cycling along Brentford Lock canal towpath shortly after the school girl walked along it.

    Arnis Zalkalns
     
  60.  
    10:20:

    Key points:

    • At a press conference held today, the Met said the key suspect in her disappearance, Arnis Zalkalns, would have been charged with Alice Gross' murder
    • His body was found hanged in a park several days after the 14-year-old's body was discovered
    • Police said the motive for her death was "most likely sexual"
    • Alice went missing on 28 August near to her home in Hanwell, west London
    • She died from compression of the chest
     
  61.  
    10:17: Danny Shaw Home affairs correspondent, BBC News

    Alice's body weighed down with bricks, sections of tree trunks, covered with branches. The bag used to conceal her body matched the next bag on roll from Zalkalns' workplace.

     
  62.  
    10:07:

    Although police think the motive was sexual, there was no evidence that she was sexually assaulted, said BBC London reporter Nick Beake who is at the press conference.

     
  63.  
    10:01: News on the hour BBC London 94.9 Radio

    Get the latest from the press conference on Alice Gross with reporter Anna O'Neill in the 10:00 bulletin.

     
  64.  
    09:52:

    Her cause of death was given as compression of chest probably caused by a heavier body lying on and crushing her weaker body.

    The conclusion was reached by a process of elimination as no other obvious marks or injuries were found on her body.

     
  65.  
    09:41:

    Her cause of death was "compressive asphyxia".

    Alice Gross
     
  66.  
    09:39: Danny Shaw Home affairs correspondent, BBC News

    Police say even if they'd known earlier about Mr Zalkalns' murder conviction in Latvia it would not have saved Alice.

     
  67.  
    09:38:

    No-one else was involved in Mr Zalkalns' death. He was found hanged in woodland in Boston Manor Park, near Hanwell, on 4 October.

    Check BBC London's timeline for more details of how Alice's murder.

     
  68.  
    09:35:

    Her disappearance captivated the local area, with yellow ribbons and flowers adorning Hanwell throughout her disappearance.

    Flowers and messages of condolence besides the clock tower in Hanwell
     
  69.  
    09:29:

    Det Ch Insp Andy Chalmers said the motive for her death was "likely sexual".

    The scientific evidence does not link him directly to her death but evidence as a whole would have been enough to charge him with abduction and murder.

     
  70.  
    09:28:

    BBC London's Nick Beake tweets: "Graphic: Alice Gross's body was wrapped in bin bag and weighed down with bricks, logs and a bicycle wheel."

     
  71.  
    09:24:

    At a news conference, the Met also said there was no evidence to suggest Mr Zalkalns was responsible for any other reported crime.

    Arnis Zalkalns

    But the 41-year-old Latvian builder was a convicted murderer who had served seven years in prison in his native country for bludgeoning and stabbing his wife Rudite to death.

     
  72.  
    09:20:

    The police think Alice was murdered before she was reported missing on 28 August. Her body was found on 30 September.

     
  73.  
    09:16: Alice Gross Danny Shaw Home affairs correspondent, BBC News

    The iPhone cover thought to belong to Alice was found hidden in Mr Zalkalns' garden while a cigarette butt with his DNA on was discovered close to her body.

     
  74.  
    09:15: Alice Gross

    Alice's disappearance sparked what the Met said was its largest inquiry since the 7/7 bombings in 2005.

    Alice Gross

    Hundreds of officers from several forces around the country helped with the investigation. She was last seen walking along a canal near her home in Hanwell, west London, at the end of August.

    Her body was found more than a month later.

     
  75.  
    BREAKING NEWS

    The CPS says it would have charged Mr Zalkalns if he had been alive although there was no forensic or eyewitness evidence, only circumstantial.

     
  76.  
    BREAKING NEWS

    The Met Police have sent a report to the Crown Prosecution Service saying Arnis Zalkalns was responsible for the murder of 14-year-old school girl Alice Gross.

     
  77.  
    09:00: News on the hour Jason Rosam Journalist, BBC London

    In the London News at 09:00, the mayor's cycling commissioner says the consultation into plans to segregate cyclists from traffic along the Embankment.

    And the wife of a Russian spy who was murdered in London in 2006 says what she hopes an inquiry into his death will achieve.

     
  78.  
    08:51: On air BBC London 94.9 Radio

    London Mayor Boris Johnson is to go ahead with his flagship cycle superhighway on Victoria Embankment.

    You can tell Vanessa what you think of the plans on BBC London 94.9 from 09:00.

     
  79.  
    08:39: Travel BBC Travel

    There are no Virgin or London Midland trains in or out of Euston at the moment due to electrical supply problems in the Wembley area.

    Keep up to date with BBC Travel or on Twitter @BBCLondonTravel

     
  80.  
    08:27: TV headlines BBC London News TV

    The headlines in this morning's bulletins include:

    • Public Health England has found that young people in London are the least likely to smoke in the country
    • A care home for the elderly in Rotherhithe is holding cocktail parties to help people with dementia relive their younger years
    Asad Ahmad
     
  81.  
    08:17: Thameslink service returns Louise Pepper Journalist, BBC London

    Thameslink trains are back to normal after the disruption yesterday and on Friday following flooding in one of the tunnels.

     
  82.  
    08:10: Milder than lately

    It's a bright, chilly start with some patchy ground frost.

    Weather today

    Cloudy conditions will gradually spread from the west, but it should remain dry with a maximum temperature of 9C (48F).

     
  83.  
    08:01: Radio headlines Jason Rosam Journalist, BBC London

    The top stories this morning:

     
  84.  
    08:00: Rebecca Cafe BBC News

    Good morning. I'll be bringing you all the latest news, sport, travel and weather until 18:00.

    You can email me your comments about the stories of the day or send photos or tweet @BBCLondonNews.

     

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