The family of murdered schoolgirl Alice Gross were left disappointed on Monday (July 6) after a coroner failed to decide on whether the inquest into her death will be a full inquiry.
Alice's mother Rosalind Hodgkiss, father Jose Gross and sister Nina Gross attended the West London Coroner’s court for the pre-inquest hearing.
They told coroner Chinyere Inyama that they "just want answers" about whether UK authorities knew or should have known that her killer was a convicted murderer overseas.
Mr Inyama said he would decide, within 21 days, whether to open a wider inquiry.
Zalkalns was later found hanging in woodland at nearby Boston Manor Park.
Zalkalns was allowed into Britain in 2007 despite a previous conviction in Latvia for murdering his wife and concealing her body.
In 2009, he had been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault on a 14-year-old girl but was later released with no charge.
Emma Norton, a solicitor for Liberty human rights group - which is representing the Gross family - released a statement after the hearing on behalf of the family.
She said: "The family is obviously disappointed that there is no decision on whether it will be an Article 2 inquest but encouraged the coroner is clearly committed to investigating the systems affecting public safety arising in this case.
"It is only if Article 2 applies that the coroner or jury will be obliged to come to a conclusion on the important issues raised in this inquest. Without Article 2 they will simply be unable to say what they think went wrong.
"Issues such as what was known or ought to have been known about Zalkalns when he came to the UK; and what the authorities should or could have been done when Zalkalns was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault on a teenager in 2009.
"The family also thinks it’s important that this case is heard with a jury – the public must be able to express its view on the wider circumstances of Alice’s death."
An Article 2 inquiry should discover whether the Metropolitan Police carried out checks on Zalkalns in 2007, when he arrived in the UK, and whether he was subject to supervision under multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA), which comprises the police, probation service and other authorities.
Rajeev Thacker, the Gross family lawyer, told West London Coroner’s court this week that there was a wide public interest in investigating whether UK authorities knew Zalkalns was a convicted killer.
He laid out a number of questions that the family want answered, such as what supervision Zalkalns was under after his release from the seven-year jail term in Latvia, and whether he was checked against a Home Office 'warning index', known as the UK central authority for the exchange of criminal records.
He said: "We have somebody who has a criminal record and systems seem to have been in place.
"We don’t know how they were used. Alice’s family want to know and I suspect there is a wider public interest in knowing for the future.
"It doesn’t matter whether or not the person they suspect that killed Alice was Latvian, Australian, British – they would be concerned whether it was a British citizen or a British citizen abroad.
"They are absolutely clear that it’s not about nationality. They just want answers."
Lawyers for the Home Office and the Met Police said they did not accept responsibility for Alice’s death, but that they would not challenge calls for a wider inquiry.
Scotland Yard has said there was enough evidence to have charged Zalkalns had he lived.