The mystery death of British killer whale trainer Amy Gerard is being treated as a possible homicide and her boyfriend has dramatically been told he is being placed under investigation.
The 28-year-old’s body was discovered on December 4 last year floating in the sea off Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife after she went missing following a night out at a pub with German lover Dennis Kissling and friends.
A secrecy order was placed over the court probe into her disappearance and death as it emerged a court specialising in violence against women was dealing with the case.
The mystery death of British killer whale trainer Amy Gerard (pictured) is being treated as a possible homicide and her boyfriend has dramatically been told he is being placed under investigation
The body of Amy Gerard (left) was discovered floating in the sea in Tenerife on December 4. She disappeared following a night out with her then-boyfriend Dennis Kissling (right) and her death is being treated as a possible homicide
Today court officials in Tenerife confirmed the secrecy order had been lifted, and Amy’s boyfriend would be summonsed before a judge to give evidence.
British expat Amy, whose family travelled to Tenerife after she disappeared, was working at Tenerife marine theme park Loro Parque.
An official speaking on behalf of the investigating judge in charge of the Court for Violence Against Women in La Orotova, where Grimsby, Lincolnshire-born Amy was living when she disappeared, said: ‘The court has lifted the secrecy order hanging over the case since last year following the discovery of the body of Amy Louise Gerard off Puerto de la Cruz.
Dennis Kissling and Amy Gerard enjoyed a night out with friends in Tenerife on the day the 28-year-old vanished in November
The statement did not name Dennis Kissling (pictured) as the man under investigation, although he was widely described at the time as Amy’s boyfriend
The body was discovered in the sea opposite the lighthouse in the city of Puerto de la Cruz where Amy, 28, lived
‘The court has confirmed that the investigation has detected indications of criminality with regards to the boyfriend of the Loro Parque worker, who has been summonsed to give evidence in the next few weeks as a person under official investigation over his possible involvement in the death of Amy.
‘The young woman disappeared on November 30 last year. She was last seen alive that night in a bar in Puerto de la Cruz with several people, including the person who is now under investigation.
‘When the autopsy showed that her body had signs of violence on it, the judge who was investigating the case at the time passed it over to the Court For Violence Against Women in La Orotova, where the dead woman lived.’
British animal trainer Amy Gerard (pictured) who disappeared in November after a night out with friends in Tenerife
The statement did not name Dennis Kissling as the man under investigation, although he was widely described at the time as Amy’s boyfriend and it was known she was with him the night she disappeared after leaving Molly Malone pub in Puerto de la Cruz.
She was filmed looking happy and relaxed as she danced in a circle alongside Mr Kissling to the Pogues song Fairytale of New York.
Amy and Dennis, colleagues at Tenerife marine theme park Loro Parque, were said to have been spotted going their separate ways after leaving the pub.
Police were told university graduate Amy, who was estranged from her personal trainer husband Ryan Docherty, was not a big drinker and had not looked inebriated or tipsy when she left the pub.
Ryan, believed to be in Britain when Amy went missing, made appeals for information on her whereabouts after she disappeared.
Tenerife Police appeared to rule out the existence of a crime three days after the discovery of Amy’s body on December 4 last year by saying the ‘apparent circumstances’ leading to her death did not seem to have been the result of a ‘violent act.’
The university graduate disappeared shortly after midnight after leaving the city’s Molly Malone pub (pictured) where she had been at a friend’s birthday
Police (pictured) discovered a woman’s remains in the ocean in December and DNA testing confirmed the body was that of Amy Gerard
Afterwards a Tenerife radio station claimed forensic experts who had carried out a post-mortem on Amy had ruled out the idea of a violent death.
However officials made no official comment because of the secrecy order.
Mr Kissling has not responded to messages left for him before it emerged he was under investigation.
Mum Julie, 59, and sister Chloe, 30, flew to Tenerife with Chloe’s fiancé after learning of Amy’s disappearance.
Amy’s family said in a statement released nearly a fortnight after the discovery of her body: ‘The DNA results confirm our worst nightmare and we are all heartbroken that Amy is no longer with us.
‘The police investigation is ongoing and there is no further information to share at this time.’
Amy’s boyfriend is a ‘person under official investigation over his possible involvement’ in the death of Amy Gerard (pictured), from Grimsby, Lincolnshire
Matthew Searle MBE, Chief Executive of the Lucie Blackman Trust which was set up by the family of Lucie Blackman after she was killed in Tokyo by a millionaire Japanese businessman and has been helping Amy’s family, added at the time: ‘This is the worst news for the family just before Christmas.
The thoughts of all of us here at the charity are with Amy’s family and we continue to support them. The family have asked for privacy and we hope this is afforded them.’ Under Spanish law an investigating judge is taking an exceptional measure when he or she places a secrecy order over an investigation.
The order is normally applied for 30 days but can be extended.
Secrecy orders are designed to guarantee the efficiency of a judicial probe.
The remains were discovered close to the lighthouse in the town of Puerto de la Cruz (file image) and near to where Ms Gerard was last seen
They limit the number of people with access to the court file, meaning for instance that defence lawyers for suspects in cases where police have their doubts about someone are not able to see the file while the secrecy order is in place.
Officials who breach orders by revealing sensitive information can be fined or even sentenced to prison in some cases.
Mr Kissling will be questioned as an ‘investigado’ when he appears in court, which literally means he is under official investigation.
He would not be charged – if it was felt he should face trial after a full investigation – until further down the line.
Officials have not said any arrests have taken place.