The Independent Police Complaints Commission has today issued its findings from an investigation into police contact with Isabella Trindade prior to her murder in Boston, Lincolnshire in October 2010.
The IPCC investigation has found that some Lincolnshire Police officers did not complete risk assessment forms and did not classify a number of contacts with Ms Trindade as domestic incidents, both contrary to force domestic abuse policy. As a result of the IPCC investigation, two police constables are facing misconduct meetings.
IPCC Commissioner, Amerdeep Somal, said: “The investigation found that some officers failed to complete risk assessment forms when they should have done and control room staff wrongly closed a number of incidents as anti-social behaviour rather than domestic matters. This combination of factors led to specialist domestic abuse officers being unaware of a pattern of increasing harassment, and an opportunity to identify an escalation of risk to Ms Trindade was missed.
I have been reassured by Lincolnshire Police that they have given updated training to officers around recognising domestic abuse incidents.”
On 7 October 2010 Isabella Trindade died from stab wounds at an address in Boston. The following day Lincolnshire Police referred her death to the IPCC because of prior police contact with Ms Trindade. Antonio Goncalves, her estranged husband, was later found guilty of her murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.
The IPCC investigation examined 15 domestic incidents dating back to 2007 – eight of them in 2010 – where police responded to calls involving Mr Goncalves and Ms Trindade. Ms Trindade separated from Mr Goncalves in November 2009. The 2010 incidents were:
– 15 February: Mr Goncalves alleged Ms Trindade had slapped him in the face – Ms Trindade denied the offence – domestic incident risk form graded as ‘standard’ – should have been ‘medium’ based on the volume of previous incidents;
– 25 February: Mr Goncalves alleged Ms Trindade had attended his workplace and verbally abused him – police attended – not dealt with as a domestic incident, no domestic abuse form completed – incident closed as ‘anti-social behaviour’;
– 16 March: argument between them in a public car park – Mr Goncalves arrested and received a caution for common assault – police did complete a domestic risk assessment which was graded ‘high-risk’ – domestic abuse police officers visited Ms Trindade and gave advice – incident was dealt with well by police;
– 13 April: Ms Trindade alleged Mr Goncalves assaulted her in a store car park grabbing her arm and pulling her hair – assessment form wrongly graded risk as ‘standard’ rather than high – Mr Goncalves was arrested – CPS decided insufficient evidence to prosecute;
– 13 April: the same day Mr Goncalves alleged Ms Trindade had stolen items from him – he later withdrew his complaint and then asked for it to be reopened – an officer advised him about wasting police time – no domestic risk assessment form completed and incident not linked to others;
– 30 April: Mr Goncalves claimed Ms Trindade had made demands for money – an officer attended but no offences were disclosed – no domestic risk assessment form completed;
– 2 July: Ms Trindade alleged Mr Goncalves had made threats to kill her and her partner – two officers deployed and written statement taken – she said she was frightened to leave the house and that she had previously been assaulted by Mr Goncalves – her account was reinforced by her partner – officers could not track Mr Goncalves down until three days later when he was given a harassment warning – incident closed as ‘anti-social behaviour’, no domestic risk assessment done, Public Protection Unit not informed;
– 25 September: Ms Trindade reported to police Mr Goncalves had again made threats while they were out in their car to kill her and her partner; an officer attended the following day – no written statements taken – Mr Goncalves denied the allegations – incident closed as ‘anti-social behaviour’ and no further police action taken, no risk assessment completed.
The IPCC investigation found uncertainty among a number of officers as to what constituted an incident of domestic abuse and when a domestic incident risk assessment was required.
Some officers did not recognise incidents did not have to be physically violent or consist of significant verbal abuse in order to require an assessment.
Where assessments were completed a number were incorrectly graded and a recurring error was that previous risk assessments were not taken into account. Control room staff wrongly closed a number of incidents as anti-social behaviour.
There also appeared to be some confusion between patrol officers and control room staff over responsibility for checking previous incidents involving named persons and specific incident locations.
With regard to the 2 July and 25 September incidents there should have been appropriate steps taken by officers to properly investigate the alleged offence of making threats to kill and Mr Goncalves could potentially have been arrested.
And the arrest would have done what? Stopped the murder? I think not…
Look at the logs again…
The first two are offences against HIM! The first is a common assault… the second is, at the very least, harassment-nothing about that eh IPCC?
The next is an alleged assault by him on her… He is locked up but…CPS won’t run it… SHOCK…
Then the usual ”she took me CDs …” he was told to FRO after he wanted it run then dropped, then run again…
Then a threat ex-wifey had demanded money… no offences…
Then two sets of threats to kill… both dealt with but… not referred to the PPU (God forbid they should be looking themselves at the overnight DV jobs)… in fact they KNEW about her and the high risk factor because he was arrested and cautioned for common assault, yes?
In a nutshell… we have two warring people… both have committed offences against each other… then ex-hubby kills ex-wifey…
Kids without parents, grand parents without daughter etc…
Our fault? I don’t think so…
The IPCC wasters suggest he may have been arrested for the threats to kill… ok… if CPS do decide to run it… how will that stop him killing her given that 95% of people arrested walk from the station within 24-hours?
Short of moving her or holding him indefinitely… WE CAN NOT STOP PEOPLE KILLING EACH OTHER…
Sure, the officers have missed out some form filling and faxing… but that didn’t kill her… her ex did… The control room closed logs off incorrectly… I bet none of the IPCC (or SMT for that matter) have ever been in a control room on a busy lates… it’s chaos… when you have complicated, stupid, badly written, difficult to use and complicated command and control software that doesn’t talk to ANY other police system, is it any wonder things get missed?
It won’t stop PSD making those officers lives a misery for the next year though…