UK

EastEnders Actress Sian Blake: Sister Wants Boyfriend 'Brought Back To Justice', As Police Overtime Blamed For Delays

07/01/2016 11:32 GMT | Updated 07/01/2016 13:59 GMT

The sister of Sian Blake has pleaded for the ex-EastEnders actresses' boyfriend to be "brought back to justice" as an ex-detective blamed concerns about police overtime costs for delaying the investigation.

Blake's sister Ava said Arthur Simpson-Kent, who disappeared days after she went missing On December 13 along with her two sons, should be "brought back to justice".

Speaking at Scotland Yard's headquarters on Thursday she said she believes Simpson-Kent, who is believed to have fled to Africa, is "responsible".

sian blake

Sian Blake and her two children have been missing since December 13

According to the Daily Star she said: "I want him to face justice and explain why. It's my nephews more than anything.

"My brother is angry. My cousins are angry.

"They are angry about Sian – but the boys have devastated us."

Ava Blake said her family had "lost a generation" that it would "never replace", and paid tribute to her sister saying that she was "someone I loved".

Police on Wednesday referred its handling of the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission amid questions over why it took so long to escalate the missing persons inquiry.

Homicide detectives took over the investigation on Monday and the following day three bodies were unearthed from the garden of Blake's Erith, Kent, home. They are believed to be that of the 43-year-old and her sons, Zachary, eight, and Amon, four, who went missing on December 13.

Ex-Met detective Colin Sutton told The Sun: “It is remarkable for the bodies of a missing mother and her children to be found at their home address three weeks after they are reported missing. It is the first place you would look.”

sian blake

Concerns about paying police overtime during the Christmas period could have led to delays in the Sian Blake case, an ex-detective has claimed; officers are pictured above removing one of three bodies found at her home on Tuesday

Sutton, who has led several successful high-profile murder inquiries told the newspaper that if the search for Blake and her children had taken place over Christmas it would have been "three times the price because of overtime".

He added: “Fortunes had been earmarked in overtime payments to police the New Year’s Eve celebrations and all those bank holidays. The last thing the Met needed in the current financial situation was an expensive murder inquiry.”

Police have already identified some "potential issues" with how they conducted their inquiries, with Scotland Yard launching its own investigation into the handling of the case on Monday.

In a statement on Wednesday, police said it had "made a voluntary referral" to the IPCC and that an "initial review has highlighted some potential issues regarding the handling and grading of the missing persons investigation".

The investigation announcement came as Blake's family members called for answers.

An aunt, who only gave her name as Terry, told the Evening Standard: "The police did take a long time to find the bodies and the family want answers. Officers are probably trying their best and we know it is difficult but we want a full investigation.

"Sian’s mum is obviously very upset. The police are coming to visit the family today.

"I didn’t know Sian’s partner much and I didn’t realise he is believed to have gone to Africa, but they obviously need to find him quickly."

sian blake

Police are hunting for Arthur Simpson-Kent over the disappearance of his partner Sian Blake and their two children, Zachary, eight, and Amon, four, seen above

Blake and her sons went missing after visiting family in Leyton, east London. Simpson Kent was spoken to at the family home in Erith on December 16, but was categorised as a missing person two days later when police returned to the property and could not find him.

Reports suggest the 48-year-old flew to Ghana before Christmas. Police on Wednesday refused to comment on that claim, with a spokeswoman simply reiterating pleas for information on his whereabouts.

The family's disappearance remained a missing person's case until Blake's Renault Scenic was found in Bethnal Green, east London, on January 3.

Detectives are said to have broken a window at the family home on December 18 after returning to speak with Simpson-Kent, but found anything at that time.

Neighbours said Blake, who played home-wrecker Frankie Pierre in the BBC soap in the mid-1990s, appeared "thin and frail" before she disappeared, and they feared her health was deteriorating rapidly. However, they added that the family appeared to be looking forward to Christmas and had put up a tree in the lounge.

Officers were then said to have made daily door-to-door inquiries around Blake's neighbourhood, but it took more than a fortnight for them to make a public appeal for information on the family's whereabouts. In initial appeals Simpson-Kent's name was not mentioned.

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'EastEnders': The Women Of Albert Square

Previously an unknown actress, Blake's big break came when she was introduced as soul singer Frankie in EastEnders in June 1996 by series producer Jane Harris.

Her storylines saw her character frequently pursuing attached men and breaking up the marriage of Alan and Carol Jackson, played by Howard Antony and Lindsey Coulson.

According to IMDB, Blake was on the show for 56 episodes, reportedly quitting in 1997 because of hostility from viewers towards her manipulative character.

Her contemporaries on the BBC soap included Patsy Palmer and Dean Gaffney - who played Alan's stepchildren Bianca and Robbie - as well as Michael French (David Wicks) and Sylvester Williams (Mick McFarlane).

Blake also appeared in episodes of The Bill, Casualty, Doctors and Skins and was the voice of Yugiri in 2015 video game Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward.

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