Two Wiltshire residents have been arrested following the leak of photographs online showing the body of Emiliano Sala.
Wiltshire Police have released the following statement regarding the investigation.
On February 7 2019, a post mortem examination of Emiliano Sala was conducted at Holly Tree Lodge Mortuary in Dorset. On February 13, Dorset Police became aware of an image on Twitter purporting to show the post mortem of Emiliano, and an investigation was launched.
The image had been swiftly removed by Twitter, but unfortunately it had been circulated extensively on various social media sites by this time.
As part of the enquiries by Dorset Police, a warrant was obtained for an address in Wiltshire and, on February 18, this warrant was executed by officers from the Digital Investigations & Intelligence Unit within Wiltshire Police.
A 48-year-old woman from Corsham was arrested at the scene on suspicion of unauthorised access to computer material (an offence under the Computer Misuse Act) and malicious communications, and is currently released on conditional bail. As the police investigation continued, a 62-year-old man from Calne was also arrested on suspicion of unauthorised access to computer material, and is currently released under investigation.
Wiltshire Police have been liaising with Dorset Police, the HM Coroner for Dorset, Bournemouth Council (now BCP Council) and the Holly Tree Lodge Mortuary as enquiries progressed. Emiliano’s family have also been kept informed throughout this investigation.
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.
Head of bereavement services at BCP Council Linda Barker 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.
“Given that there is an ongoing police investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further”.
Detective Inspector Gemma Vinton, senior investigating officer for Wiltshire Police, said: “During the course of this ongoing investigation we have been liaising with the Crown Prosecution Service Wessex. A file of evidence was sent to CPS last week to consider whether criminal charges should be brought again the two individuals under investigation by Wiltshire Police.
“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.
“I would also urge people to stop sharing the image – this is causing further distress to Emiliano’s family and friends.
“As this is an ongoing criminal investigation, I would ask the media to refrain from speculation, to avoid both the additional distress it places upon the Sala family and the potential it has to hinder the investigation.
“It is important to allow the Crown Prosecution Service time to review the evidence in relation to the two suspects, and enable any potential subsequent judicial proceedings to take place in a fair manner”.