This is the official blog of Sgt Ellie Bloggs, a real live police sergeant on the front line of England. It's not the official opinion of my police force, but all the facts I recount are true, and are not secrets. If they don't want me blogging about it, they shouldn't do it. PS If you don't pay tax, you don't pay my salary.


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Friday, September 05, 2008

A new definition of "could not":

An official report has found that David Summers "could not have been stopped" from killing his ex-lover Diane Edwards and having sex with her corpse.

An injunction was taken out against Summers for threatening Edwards after she broke up with him in January 2006.

For breaching the injunction, which carries a maximum five-year jail term, he was given a suspended sentence. He then removed the electronic tag issued to him by the court: another breach; another chance to issue a maximum five-year jail term.

In The Salisbury Review next week, you can read my thoughts on cases like these.

They are thorny, because we can't treat every jilted lover who reacts badly and makes some threats as a potential murderer. And it's worth remembering that civil injunctions are handed out by the bucket-load on very little evidence.

But breaching court conditions or injunctions is a good indicator that someone's behaviour is going to escalate. Let's not forget Garry Weddell, the police inspector who breached his bail one week by entering an area he was forbidden, and the next week reentered it to murder his mother-in-law. This was a man who was already on bail for murder, yet no action was taken when he breached the conditions designed to prevent him reoffending.

"Could not" is a strong expression.

More accurately, not all these murders can be or should be prevented, at the expense of innocent ex-lovers who have no intention of killing anyone. But the judges who freed Summers and Weddell, their defence lawyers, the prosecution and the police officers who took them to court in the first place, will always wonder if they could, or should, have done more.

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'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.

14 Comments:

Blogger uniform said...

Something I have commented on before.

I detect a change of attitude amongst those who come latter to minutely examine the mistakes of others.

The cold hard fact is that organizations are crap at helping individuals for any protracted length of time .

This reality has led to the conclusions of this report , even the IPCC seem (if you read their results of investigations)to have run out of reasons to blame cops when nutters kill.

No policy , injunction, MAPPA team , psychiatric care order,bail sheet or whatever ,can stop a determined person ,who is at liberty , from killing any other ordinary member of the public.

Once you start from this basis looking back and placing blame is nearly always a paper exercise.

Only a few top Royals and some of the senior politicians get round the clock close protection.

No one else is going to get this !

Any platitudes given by senior officers to persons perceived to be at risk are exactly that; Platitudes.

Forecasting who will do what when brought before the courts for relatively minor breaches is up there with Mystic Meg.

Who would have thought that a millionaire businessman would burn his house down , Kill his wife , RElOAD , go to anther room and shoot his one and only beautiful daughter in the head , just because he was about to become a bit less rich.

You're not safe from your parents in your bedroom chatting on MSN;what chance out on the streets ?

06 September, 2008 09:09

 
Blogger Bystander said...

As I have said elesewhere, all bail decisions, whether taken by a court or by a custody sergeant are a calculated risk. Sometimes they go wrong. Sometimes a person on bail for a trivial offence goes on to commit a serious one. How are we supposed to forsee that?

06 September, 2008 11:34

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will this end in full write ups and points 1 - 20 on every harrassment crime and incident !!

Perhaps more "risk assessing" for us - and plenty more writing and rse covering.

Ultimately though - this is another example of how this Government has let the Country down by failing to build enough prison spaces...

06 September, 2008 13:10

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm just a mop, so can offer no great insights to this, but...

How come pensioners can be jailed for Contempt of Court when they cannot/refuse to pay the Community Charge, yet ppl who break court rulings get ignored? Surely that is Contempt too? [I'm thinking here of the story on DC's blog as well as the case here].

06 September, 2008 13:25

 
Anonymous xoggoth said...

Perhaps lenient treatment of an initial offence in combination with severe treatment in event of breaching a court order makes sense.

Some offences are initially committed in ignorance and with lack of thought but neither applies if the order explicitly spells out the consequences of breech.

The flaw in the idea is of course the lack of prison space.

07 September, 2008 09:34

 
Anonymous PC Michael Pinkstone said...

Uniform @ 09:09 - agree fully, especially the part about 'no policy ... can stop a determined person from killing'.

Yet there will always be that issue of blame. Whose fault is it? Who can we fire? Who can we crucify? (metaphorically speaking) The sad fact is that we have somehow lost the ability to blame the perpetrator nowadays. it's got to be someone else's fault. Personal responsibility no longer seems to exist. England, especially, seems unable to comprehend the fact that there are bad people who do bad things ... and they need to be locked up.

07 September, 2008 21:01

 
OpenID inspectorgadget said...

To be fair, it can be sometimes difficult to tell if you are sleeping with a corpse.

On the other hand, if he killed her first he must have known, and you don't need to be a detective to work that out.

08 September, 2008 15:27

 
Blogger staghounds said...

Judges kiss everything they can get hold of to get their positions, yet they don't treat their own orders seriously.

It's always amazed me.

09 September, 2008 02:02

 
Anonymous Pete said...

Who is this?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7006383.stm

09 September, 2008 07:29

 
Anonymous Trevor said...

Why do you say that first sentence gadget @15:27?

- would it be in your case that the sex was the same but after a while you'd notice that the dishes were piling up?

09 September, 2008 07:31

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Uniform (or Bloggsy if you prefer),
You and your alter egos enrich the world of psychiatry. The extensive facilities at our mountain retreat are free to selected guests during Specimen Examination Week, so we extend our invitation to all five of you to spend a few days in our care. The 'book what you wrote' also interests us......professionally.
Max Von Psychotypal
Chateau de Merdeplod

10 September, 2008 07:27

 
Blogger AJ said...

Of course someone who seriously intends to kill someone should get locked up. The catch is how to identify these people.

The vast majority of people given court orders do not go on to kill people, even those who breach some conditions of the order.

11 September, 2008 11:34

 
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15 April, 2009 10:53

 

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