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Mikus Alps and the burnt-out car: everything we know so far

Mikus Alps and the burnt-out car: everything we know so far

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Mikus Alps and the burnt-out car: everything we know so far

Tuesday 16 January 2018


At the start of last week, on Monday 8 January, Guernsey Police and Fire and Rescue Service attended a car fire at Petit Bot - only to find it was already entirely destroyed. By the end of the week, they were investigating the potential death of a man inside that very car.

Following further forensic investigations, it was revealed there were fragments of a skeleton on the drivers seat, and several more days later, it was confirmed that they were human.

While an investigation into the car fire, and the skeletal remains, were launched, it was also announced that a 33-year-old Latvian man who is a local resident, Mikus Alps, had gone missing on the same Monday as the car was set on fire.

Police appealed for any information regarding Mr Alps' whereabouts, before later confirming that the vehicle that was burnt out is registered in Mr Alps' name. It has not been confirmed if the bones inside are his and forensic tests are ongoing.

Alps

Above: the car found at Petit Bot and, inset, Head of Bailiwick law enforcement Patrick Rice

So far, it has been confirmed that police officers have raided and searched several properties that were involved with Mr Alps, and they are also investigating several items that were found within his car - one of which was confirmed to be a shotgun.

One arrest has been made as part of these ancillary investigations. A man appeared in Guernsey's Magistrate's Court on Friday and as that court case is now live, police can not comment further.

At a media conference on Monday 15 January, Guernsey Police outlined the situation so far and confirmed officers had been given a letter after the 8 January, when the investigation had begun, that purported to have been written by Mr Alps. Police said the letter is being forensically examined in the UK to identify who had written it. Chief Officer Rice described its contents as "sombre and reflective".

Speculation Frenzy

A frenzy of rumours have surrounded the investigation so far, at a level that Chief of Police Patrick Rice described as "unprecedented on a local level", with allegations being made as to what has happened to Mr Alps. Guernsey Police have confirmed what it knows is fact, and Mr Rice has urged people to "take a calmer approach" to the investigation until it knows what is fact.

Alps

Reports from the Ukraine have also fuelled the speculation. A newspaper from the country reported that Mr Alps was involved in the Ukrainian Volunteer Army, which takes volunteers from many Eastern European countries. It contained an interview with Andriy Cherven, the commander of the 8th battalion of which Mr Alps was allegedly involved with. He said Mr Alps was bringing the car, armour and thermals to the country, and described the situation in Guernsey as "a murder".

"Mick has been a volunteer member of the battalion for the past two years. He was tortured, killed, tied and burnt in a car which Mick was bringing for the battalion's military purposes,' Mr Cherven said.

"Sicilian mafia is a kindergarten group compared with the methods used by the Kremlin to reach their imperial goals. They do not care where to kill – be it eastern Ukraine or the centre of Europe. They will not stop."

Media in the UK have also reported on the story, having picked up on the Ukrainian article. The Telegraph reported: "Russians accused of murdering Ukraine rebel on British soil".

What we know about Mr Alps 

Mr Alps came to Guernsey in 2005, and has since worked in the motor industry. His mother moved to the island before her son. Mr Alps is also confirmed to have been directly involved with a pro-Ukrainian, anti-Russian movement in the east of Europe.

Guernsey Police's family liaison teams are currently working with his family. 

Police are still appealing for information of Mr Alps' whereabouts.

What is next?

Guernsey Police have said it could be a number of weeks before the forensic reports into the skeletal remains and the letter are completed. A UK Home Office pathologist is expected to arrive in Guernsey in the next few days to carry out further tests, and the letter is with handwriting experts in the UK as well.

Guernsey Police said all of these investigations are its top priority.

"This is a highly complex investigation and there is much work still to be done as we try to establish the full circumstances. We cannot rush it but the community can be assured that we will go where the evidence takes us, not speculation on social media," Chief Officer Rice said.

"Given that it is yet to be formally confirmed whether Mr Alps is alive or deceased, there is no concrete evidence at this stage linking his involvement with this movement to his car being found burnt out."

Mr Rice's full speech from the media conference yesterday can be found here:


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