Greater Manchester Police have admitted that their lack of action DID lead to the death of Katie Cullen, who stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend – but claimed they were muzzled in revealing violent pasts of partners.
GMP admit that their services ‘should have been better’ in relation to Ms Cullen. The force failed to provide Ms Cullen with details of the potential threats posed to her by her ex-boyfriend, despite her reporting him for making repeated threats to kill her following the break of their six-month relationship.
The Stockport nurse was fatally stabbed 130 times to the head by her ex-boyfriend Iman Ghafelipour in 2009, after officers failed to warn her of his violent past.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission slammed the GMP’s ‘catalogue of inaction’ and ‘distinct lack of urgency’, but have failed to cite any misconduct or make any recommendations for learning, to the surprise of GMP’s Head of the Professional Standards Branch.
However, they claim more may have been done had there been ‘clearer guidance available to the police in the 2007-2009 period on the disclosure to victims of the potential threats posed by perpetrators’, suggesting that the police could have given Ms Cullen information which may have saved her life.
Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Rumney said: “The investigation report by the IPCC into the conduct of Greater Manchester Police officers found no evidence of misconduct and unusually made no recommendations for learning.
“GMP felt that this was not an acceptable position and that it was necessary to outline to the IPCC that we recognised that the service provided to Katherine should have been better in 2008 prior to her murder in 2009.”
DCS Rumney went on to explain how the piloting of Clare’s Law by GMP was just one of the steps taken by the force, which has now been rolled out nationally.
The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (Clare’s Law), allows the police to consider disclosing information on request about someone’s previous history of abuse or violence if approached by a partner. In cases of concern, the police can be proactive now in making disclosures to victims about the threat their partners may pose.
“Had more been done to better understand the risk Ghafelipour posed, GMP may have been able to assist Katherine make more informed life choices regarding her relationship with Ghafelipour,” he said.
Her murdering ex’s previous convictions included a string of death threats and arson attacks against another woman – a fact known to the police but deliberately not disclosed to Ms Cullen.
The force argue that the IPCC’s report accepts ‘that the officers provided a reasonable rationale for not making disclosures to Katherine about Ghafelipour’s previous relationship from 2007’.
“GMP recognises and accepts the comments made by the IPCC that the investigations into allegations of arson in 2007 involving a previous partner of Imam Ghafelipour prior to his relationship with Katherine were insufficient in depth and lacked the rigour they deserved,” said DCS Rumney.
“In addition, that despite officers arresting Ghafelipour, interviewing him and submitting an advice file to the Crown Prosecution Service, they lacked the investigative experience to undertake such investigations.”
He added: “In conclusion, domestic abuse is a complex and challenging issue to deal with and we take all reports seriously.
“We are developing better networks with agencies to share information and support people throughout the process. GMP is now more focussed on safeguarding, victim care, targeting perpetrators’ and proactively sharing information. This is reflected in the fact that tackling domestic abuse is now the force priority.”
Image courtesy of RHL, with thanks