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Arrests over 'morgue photos' of Emiliano Sala

Arrests over 'morgue photos' of Emiliano Sala

Tuesday 30 April 2019

Arrests over 'morgue photos' of Emiliano Sala


A man and a woman have been arrested by UK detectives investigating an image apparently showing the body of footballer Emiliano Sala in a mortuary.

The 48-year-old woman and 62-year-old man, were arrested in February on suspicion of unauthorised access to computer material and remain under investigation, Wiltshire Police said yesterday.

The image, circulated extensively on social media, is said to show the 28-year-old Argentinian striker’s remains at the Holly Tree Lodge mortuary in Bournemouth after the star’s death in a plane crash near Alderney in January.

He had been flying in a Piper Malibu plane from Nantes to Cardiff when the aircraft ditched into the Channel. The pilot, David Ibbotson (59), has not yet been found, despite a crowdfunded deep sea dive search for him.

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Pictured: Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson. 

Wiltshire Police said: “There is no evidence to suggest a break-in at the mortuary, and no evidence to suggest that any staff from the mortuary, or indeed any other council employees, are involved in any wrongdoing.”

The pair were arrested on February 18, but the statement was released on Monday evening.

A file of evidence has been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to decide if it will bring criminal charges, said Detective Inspector Gemma Vinton.

DI Vinton added: “My thoughts remain with Emiliano’s family for the pain they have endured throughout the last three months, and who should not have to go through the additional anguish of knowing such distressing images have circulated on the internet.”

Linda Barker, head of bereavement services at Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, said: “We have been working with Wiltshire and Dorset Police to ascertain how images from Holly Tree Lodge mortuary were obtained. Maintaining the private and respectful environment of the mortuary remains an absolute priority.”

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Pictured: Details of Mr Sala and Mr Ibbotson's final flight, which were revealed in an interim report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

The female suspect, from Corsham, was also arrested on suspicion of sending malicious communications and is on conditional bail. The male suspect, from Calne, was released under investigation.

Sala had just signed for Cardiff City when he disappeared with Mr Ibbotson, when the Piper Malibu plane crashed in the English Channel north of Guernsey on January 21.

Sala’s body was recovered on February 6 but Mr Ibbotson, of Lincolnshire, has not been found.

The footballer’s father, Horacio Sala, 58, died at his home in Progreso in Argentina’s Santa Fe province on Friday.

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