Inquest finds a catalogue of police failings contributed to death of Maria Stubbings

Wednesday 15 October 2014

An inquest jury has found that a catalogue of failings by Essex Police contributed to the death of Maria Stubbings, who was murdered by her ex-partner. Rajeev Thacker represented the family.

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Maria was murdered by her partner, Marc Chivers, in December 2008. Despite the fact that Chivers had been imprisoned both for killing another woman and for seriously assaulting Maria prior to her death, Essex Police failed to respond to Maria’s repeated calls for help. The jury found, among other failures, that the force had failed to undertake a risk assessment and safety plan when Chivers was released from prison and that frontline officers had failed to perform basic policing duties. The jury also highlighted the incompetence of the Domestic Abuse and Hate Crime Unit, in particular the Domestic Abuse Liaison Officers. These findings echo those of an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPPC) which highlighted errors made by police in the lead up to Maria’s murder.

Maria’s brother, daughter and son have made a joint statement in which they say:

“The level of incompetence, the lack of basic policing, the failure to communicate key information – words fail us. Ultimately, Maria paid the price for these failings with her life.”

This case has been reported widely in the press, including by the BBC, in the Mirror, and by ITV.

More information can be found in Refuge’s press release. The charity works to prevent domestic violence, to protect those at risk of domestic violence and to provide services for abused women and children. Alongside the daughter, son and brother of Maria Stubbings, Refuge has been calling on the Government to hold a public inquiry into the way in which state agencies, including the police, respond to victims of domestic violence. To add your support to the campaign, please sign this petition.

Rajeev was instructed by Sarah Ricca of Deighton Pierce Glynn.

Rajeev Thacker is a member of the Garden Court Chambers Inquests Team.

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