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Pair arrested over photo of football star Emiliano Sala in mortuary

The image claims to show the Argentinian striker’s remains at the Holly Tree Lodge mortuary in Bournemouth.

(Aaron Chown/PA)
(Aaron Chown/PA)

A man and a woman have been arrested by 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, from towns in Wiltshire, were arrested in February on suspicion of unauthorised access to computer material, Wiltshire Police said.

The image, circulated extensively on social media, is purported to show the Argentinian striker’s remains at the Holly Tree Lodge mortuary in Bournemouth after the star’s death in a plane crash.

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 in response to a story in the Sunday Mirror.

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.

Ms 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.”

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.

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The wreckage of the plane (AAIB/PA)

Sala, 28, had just signed for Cardiff City when he disappeared with the pilot of the Piper Malibu private plane when it crashed in the English Channel north of Guernsey on January 21.

Sala’s body was recovered on February 6 but pilot David Ibbotson, 59, of Crowle, Lincolnshire, has not been located.

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

PA

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