Danger Posed By Killer "Not Understood"
12 July 2019, 14:04
Detectives investigating the murder of a mother stabbed to death at home had failed to record her address, despite the killer being the subject of a restraining order, a review has concluded.
Convicted rapist Andrew Kemp admitted stabbing Leighann Wightman to death in October 2011 and was jailed for a minimum of 22 years in June 2012.
Despite being the subject of an order preventing him from contacting Miss Wightman, 24, Kemp had managed to break into her home in Norman Street, Netherfield, Nottingham, and stab her eight times before leaving her to die.
Miss Wightman had previously been in an abusive relationship with the then 48-year-old, who had a history of violence spanning more than 27 years.
A second domestic homicide review released on Friday said Nottinghamshire Police took three and a half hours to find the victim on the night she was killed, after failing to record her address.
The force decided to remove a "place of interest marker" from her address in August 2011, on the grounds that "there had been no incidents reported in the past few months" - despite him being in custody.
Miss Wightman's parents disagreed with some elements of the original review, published in 2014, which expressed the need for appropriate training on domestic violence.
The findings of the first review came after police failed to act on reports that Kemp had attacked Miss Wightman three years before her murder.
The latest report has now recommended that police undertake an audit to establish whether restraining orders are appropriately recorded on police information systems.
Summarising the force's involvement in investigating the death, the report, which changed Miss Wightman's name to "Stacey" said: "On the night of Stacey's death, officers could find no record of her address, despite the perpetrator having a restraining order not to contact her.
"This issue is of great concern to her mother, who has never understood why it took the police around three and a half hours to find Stacey.
"That night, police were called to a stabbing incident and found the perpetrator being treated by paramedics. The perpetrator was unco-operative and would not speak to the police."
The review continued: "A friend of the perpetrator's, who was present, told officers that the perpetrator was concerned he would be arrested for breaching a restraining order.
"The friend also indicated that Stacey was responsible for the perpetrator's injuries.
"Stacey's address was not on the system; but after making several calls, they received information that she was living near to her mother's address in a suburb east of Nottingham."
Concluding its findings, the report said: "He had a history of violence against women and girls. He had a conviction for rape and a not proven murder charge.
"Despite his history, professionals focused their attention on Stacey rather than him.
"Professionals did not comprehend the danger he posed, they did not recognise they were being manipulated by him and they failed to see how few choices Stacey had available to her.
"The result was that when he was released from prison and Stacey tried to separate from him, many agencies either ceased their engagement with her or did not recognise the risk she faced.
"This left Stacey vulnerable at the very point that the perpetrator was likely to be at his most angry, because he had lost his power and control over her."
After the review was published, South Nottinghamshire Community Safety Partnership chairman Ruth Hyde said: "The recently completed review has enabled Stacey's relatives to contribute their insights and perspectives, and some additional learning points have been identified, which will be actioned, to increase the understanding of professionals regarding the complexity of domestic violence and to reduce the risk of such tragic events happening in future."
Detective Superintendent Andy Gowan, head of the public protection at Nottinghamshire Police, said: "Since the time of this devastating case and the original domestic homicide review, Nottinghamshire Police has learnt lessons that are continually helping to improve how our officers and staff can better protect vulnerable people from harm in complex cases such as these.
"We have welcomed each of the recommendations put forward and have worked hard to embed them into our everyday work, which has involved delivering extensive training and improving how we work alongside other agencies to share information and better support survivors wanting to escape abusive relationships.
"The force is also regularly reviewing how we can make full use of new powers that have been introduced since this tragic case, including promoting Clare's Law, which was originally piloted by Nottinghamshire Police, to fully inform survivors of abuse about their partner's violent past."
Mr Gowan added: "Other new powers have also been used to impose domestic violence protection notices and orders on offenders, which offers immediate protection to survivors by preventing offenders from returning to a survivor's address.
"All of these improvements have helped countless women to escape abusive relationships, all while identifying as many opportunities to learn from each case, to ensure we are constantly improving the support we offer to survivors and their families."