Schoolgirl Arsema Dawit 'stabbed 60 times' by jealous ex-boyfriend

Arsema Dawit Arsema Dawit had been in a relationship with Thomas Nugusse for two years

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A schoolgirl was stabbed 60 times by her ex-boyfriend who said she had cheated on him, an inquest has heard.

Arsema Dawit, 15, was killed in a "sustained" attack in a block of flats in Waterloo in June 2008, a jury heard.

Ms Dawit's body was found covered in blood in a lift, along with a knife, by neighbours.

Her ex-boyfriend, Thomas Nugusse, later confessed to the murder but could not be tried because he suffered brain damage in a prison suicide attempt.

In a garbled phone call to emergency services, Nugusse, who was 21 at the time, said he had attacked Ms Dawit after finding out she had been cheating on him.

Start Quote

I choose I prefer to kill my girlfriend and then kill myself. I love you and I can't be without you.”

End Quote Thomas Nugusse In 999 call

During the call, which was read to a jury at Southwark Coroner's Court by coroner Dr Andrew Harris, Nugusse said: "She was lying to me and she said she loved me and she is cheating me."

He added: "I choose I prefer to kill my girlfriend and then kill myself. I love you and I can't be without you."

Ms Dawit received more than 50 wounds to her neck and others to her back and chest, the inquest heard.

The court also heard evidence from Ms Dawit's school friend, Heaven Emanuel, who provided a statement.

'Nightmares' about murder

She said: "Arsema had been telling me that this man had been harassing her and threatening her.

"Then, one day, Arsema came to school with a bruise below her left eye. I asked her what was wrong. She told me Thomas had assaulted her and also that he had threatened to kill her.

"The next day she came to school and was exhausted physically, and said she couldn't sleep the night before as she had a nightmare of Thomas trying to kill her."

The inquest heard the pair met when they were both members of the choir at St Michael's Eritrean Orthodox Church in Camberwell.

In evidence read in court, Ammanuael Tesfazgi, a deacon of the church at the time, said in May 2008 Nugusse came to him to tell him he was in love with Ms Dawit, but she told him she "could not accept his request because her main aim was her education".

Mr Tesfazgi said Nugusse continued harassing Ms Dawit, the jury heard.

Ms Dawit's family claim her fears over Nugusse were ignored by police.

In 2009, a jury at the Old Bailey was not permitted to return conventional innocent or guilty verdicts and instead found that Nugusse had "committed the acts". He was given an indefinite hospital order.

The inquest is expected to last four weeks.

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  1.  
    11:45:

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

    Place where Alice's body was found
     
  2.  
    11:40:

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

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

    Trainers and backpack
     
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    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
     
  4.  
    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.

     
  5.  
    11:26:

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

    Boston Park
     
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    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.

     
  7.  
    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 had murdered Alice.

     
  8.  
    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.
     
  9.  
    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.

     
  10.  
    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.

     
  11.  
    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."

     
  12.  
    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.

     
  13.  
    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."

     
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    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."

     
  15.  
    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
     
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    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
     
  17.  
    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.

     
  18.  
    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.

     
  19.  
    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.

     
  20.  
    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.

     
  21.  
    09:41:

    Her cause of death was "compressive asphyxia".

    Alice Gross
     
  22.  
    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.

     
  23.  
    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.

     
  24.  
    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
     
  25.  
    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.

     
  26.  
    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."

     
  27.  
    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.

     
  28.  
    09:20:

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

     
  29.  
    09:16: Alice Gross Danny Shaw Home affairs correspondent, BBC News

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    09:15: Alice Gross

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  31.  
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  32.  
    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.

     
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