Joe Pooley’s life and tragic death featured in Netflix documentary series ‘When Missing Turns to Murder’ released today

Wednesday 14 June 2023

Joe's mother Sam Nicholls was represented in the inquest by Una Morris, leading Danielle Manson, of the Garden Court Inquests & Inquiries Team, instructed by Sarah Flanagan from Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors.

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A loving son, brother and uncle, Joe Pooley was murdered, aged just 22 years old, on 7 August 2018, by people he believed were his friends.

The Netflix documentary series ‘When Missing Turns to Murder’ is released today on 14 June 2023. One of the episodes focuses on Joe’s life and tragic death.

Nearly a year after the inquest into Joe’s death which highlighted a series of failings by authorities, his mother, Sam Nicholls, is still grappling to come to terms with a system which failed her son for years and missed numerous opportunities to prevent his murder.

Sam recognised the real and increasing risk to Joe’s life and warned the authorities. Until the inquest, she did not know as much as the authorities and professionals involved in Joe’s life but she still foresaw that he would be killed. Through the inquest, she discovered that the police knew that Joe was being coerced and bullied by the man who would murder him weeks later and Joe told the police and Suffolk County Council he needed help and needed to get away from the people who were exploiting and abusing him.

The probation service knew Joe’s murderer was a high-risk violent offender recently released from prison on a curfew but when his murderer cut his tag off and told the probation service, they failed to recall him and left him free to murder.

Sam feels there has been no recognition or acceptance of the errors and failings by the authorities that lead to the murder of her vulnerable son. They have taken no responsibility and without this learning, she is concerned that society in general is not being protected from known violent offenders and that the same things will keep happening and will leave other families devastated as hers is.

The Netflix documentary series is released today and is available to watch on Netflix here.

Sarah Flanagan, Solicitor for Ms Nicholls, stated:

“Joe’s case highlights the consistent failures that the most vulnerable in our society are forced to endure. It highlights the fact that state authorities must fulfil their responsibilities towards all service users and the importance of learning when they fail to do this. Joe’s family have been brave and determined in the campaign to demand accountability and prevent other families from enduring what they have.”

Una Morris and Danielle Manson are both members of the Garden Court Inquests & Inquiries Team and welcome instructions in inquests.

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