EastEnders murder: Top cop vows to uncover police failings in Sian Blake case
PUBLISHED: 11:43 13 January 2016 | UPDATED: 11:43 13 January 2016
Three bodies were found earlier this week in Erith garden of actress Sian Blake who played Frankie Pierre in BBC soap
A top Scotland Yard official has said he will not “judge anybody” yet as the police watchdog continues its investigation into the handling of the Sian Blake murder case.
Sian Blake’s body and those of her two sons were discovered last week buried in her home, weeks after police had visited the home.
On Saturday, Ms Blake’s partner Arthur Simpson-Kent, 48 was arrested in Ghana, after Met Police interviewed him on December 16.
Speaking on LBC, Sir Bernard Hogan Howe said: “These things are never quite so straightforward as they first appear. We need to look at the facts and get to the bottom of it.
“It’s a tragedy, a mother and her two children murdered, and that’s an awful, terrible thing. We need to find out, could we have dealt with it more efficiently?
“One of the things we need to know is, was it possible to discover them earlier, or were there other lines of inquiry being pursued that were more likely?
“We need to know the circumstances of those 23 days. I want to know for my purposes what’s happened in this case because then it might be that in leadership terms I need to do something. But somebody has to investigate it to see whether or not some of our systems have failed.
“The fact that it’s taken so long to find them suggests that we could have done it quicker. But without knowing the facts I’m not going to judge anybody.”
On Tuesdaythe partner ofex-EastEnders actress Sian Blake was remanded in custody in Ghana for the next two weeks as he awaits an extradition hearing.
Simpson-Kent, was reportedly eating a coconut on a beach when he was arrested on Saturday after he was “smoked from a thicket” where he had been hiding and arrested by armed police.
He left the country following the deaths of his former partner and their two young sons, Zachary, eight, and four year-old Amon.
British police said they will make a formal request for his extradition “in due course”.
The Ghanaian authorities cannot hold a suspect for more than 48 hours without putting him before a court, so it is likely Simpson-Kent will go before a judge today and that police will apply to have him remanded in custody.
At a news conference in Ghana’s capital Accra yesterday, Detective Chief Inspector Graeme Gwyn, of the Metropolitan Police’s homicide and major crime command, heaped praise on the “outstanding” work of the Ghanaian authorities.
He said: “I want to pass on my thanks from myself and Scotland Yard and the UK authorities for all the work the Ghanaians have done for us in effecting an arrest.
“The work they have done has been outstanding and I am truly, truly grateful. I cannot thank them enough for what they have done.
“The second thing is our thoughts continue to, and always do remain with, Sian’s family and the boys, this is why we are here, this is why we do what we do, and we are here to get justice for them.”
Pictures broadcast showed Simpson-Kent with his hands cuffed behind his back being paraded in front of cameras and journalists in the West African country.
British police have faced criticisms that their murder investigation has been blighted with delays.
But Mr Gwyn insisted that “there is nothing we or the Ghanaians could have done any quicker to get out here as quickly as we could”.
An international manhunt was launched for the former model turned hairdresser after he went missing following the death of his girlfriend and children.
Ms Blake and her two sons were last seen on December 13. Their bodies were eventually discovered by police three weeks later buried in the garden of their home in Erith, Kent.
It later emerged that Simpson-Kent left the country after officers spoke to him on December 16.
The case was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission for investigation.