Yorkshire murder victim spoke of 'turning her life around for her children' just days before she was killed, court hears

A mother-of-four spoke of turning her life around for the sake of her children and returning to her home country, just days before she was reported missing and never seen alive again, a court heard.

Alena Grlakova, 38, had turned to alcohol abuse and sex work following the break down of her marriage and after forming a new relationship with a woman she had met in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

Ms Grlakova was last seen alive on Boxing Day 2018. Her naked body was found in a stream in Rotherham on April 8, 2019. A post-mortem revealed she had been strangled.

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Gary Allen, 47, is currently on trial for her murder and the murder of Samantha Class in Hull in 1997.

Alena Grlakova.

Sheffield Crown Court heard on Wednesday, how the mother-of-four, who was originally from Slovakia, had moved to Rotherham with her husband Villiam Glak in June 2008. She had worked in a bakery and had a happy family life, until her behaviour changed when she met a woman called Lucie Zimova, who she later got into a relationship with.

She separated from her husband at the end of 2013 and rarely saw her children after that.

Mr Glak told the court how his estranged wife had turned up at his home unannounced in the early hours of December 24, 2018.

He said: "I felt sorry for her. She said Lucie had thrown her out of the car after an argument and that she had nowhere else to go. She looked absolutely horrible. She was very skinny and had sunken cheeks. She also had a massive scratch on her nose and a bruise under her left eye.

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"She said she didn't want to live her life this way," he said. "She wanted to change and go back home to sort her self out and find a way back to her children."

Mr Glak said he would buy her a ticket to Slovakia, but needed her identity card to do so, which Ms Grlakova said her partner had.

"She said Lucie had all her documents and that she had been forced into selling drugs and sex work," Mr Glak said. "She said they would threaten to have her locked up if she didn't do what they said. She said Lucy and her mother were involved with people who would do anything for money and would even kill."

Ms Grlakova spent some time with her children at her husband's home, before leaving at 11.30am that day, promising to return with her documents and spend Christmas with her family.

Mr Glak never saw her again after that.

Miss Kozarova last saw Ms Grlakova on December 19, and was aware of an English man she would speak with who worked in a factory and lived near a Tesco in Rotherham, She said the man was in his 50s and when she spoke to him he said “come to my pub and chill with me.”

Miss Kozarova said Ms Grlakova told her the man was “good” and “a friend” and had given her a job.

She said that after Ms Grlakova had gone missing she spoke with the same man and she asked if she was there.

Miss Kozarova said: “He said she had been there the day before. He said, ‘come round’ to his flat. He was not nice, I swore at him. I stopped the call. He called me back, I think two times. He said, ‘come round.’ I said no and he swore at me again."

The prosecution allege Allen murdered Ms Grlakova after she repeatedly turned up at his flat in Bradbury Close, in the Parkgate area of Rotherham on Boxing Day 2018, before dumping her body at the Old Slaugh site.

Allen denies two counts of murder.

The trial continues