Battered wife called police SEVEN times in SIX weeks before being shot by estranged husband – THEN her son was found hanged while she was recovering in hospitalPolice arrested Darren Williams twice in a week for threatening to kill his wife and assaulting her – but he was released on bail to live near her
Rachel Williams called police seven times between July 9 and August 18, 2011, visited her local station twice and was 'at high risk of harm'
IPCC upheld four complaints against Gwent Police, who have been told to improve how they deal with domestic abuse casesReport says Gwent police did not share information between departments
15:43 GMT, 28 November 2012
A beaten wife whose son was found dead after she had been shot by her estranged husband today spoke of her anger at how the teenager was let down by social services.
Domestic abuse victim Rachel Williams, who called police seven times in six weeks and visited her local station twice before being attacked by her husband Darren, says that her son Jack was not given enough support in the aftermath of the attack in Newport, south Wales.
Mrs Williams, who was herself failed by the justice system a damning report said today, says that she had called social services voicing her concerns for her 16-year-old son, who was found in the exact spot where his father's body was discovered.
The mother-of-two was shot at point blank range in August 2011 in a hairdressing salon by Williams, who had been arrested twice in the six weeks before the attack and was on bail for beating her.
Rachel Williams was shot by her estranged husband Darren Williams in a hair salon while he was out on bail for attacking her
The mother spent five weeks in hospital where doctors managed to save her left leg
The 43-year-old gunman, who was
obsessed with the Kray twins and also took anabolic steroids, shouted 'I love you' as he shot his wife, before fleeing
the scene and his body was found in Brynglas woods hours later.
His and Mrs Williams' 16-year-old son
Jack struggled to come to terms with the events, and six weeks later the
Newport High School pupil was found hanged in the same spot where his
Today, a police watchdog criticised
Gwent Police for how it handled a series of domestic violence incidents
involving Mr Williams in the run-up to the shootings.
It upheld four complaints:
That police took too long to arrest Williams after Rachel made a statement on July 25A detective constable did not investigate alleged breaches of bail by WilliamsThat a DC investigating the case left their voicemail on during working hours rather than answer their phoneThat a DC refused to take calls from other relatives concerning the case
A separate multi-agency report
found there were a number of shortcomings in the way police, the local
health board and council shared information in the run-up to Jack's
Mrs Williams, 38, who was in hospital
for five weeks following the shooting, said: 'I had put my trust in the
agency's and family members to look after (my son).
'I telephoned social services from
hospital and voiced my concerns regarding his behaviour and how he was
changing from a loving, caring boy, to someone I no longer recognised.
'He was grieving and I needed to know he was receiving all the support available to him, which is now clear he wasn't.
'I find it hard to swallow the agencies involved were not in communication with each other.
'They should all have known he had been doing things out of character.'
But just as she was trying to come to terms with the attack, and make a recovery after nearly losing her leg, Jack died.
One of the reports said more could have been done to help the couple's son Jack, 16, who was grieving for his father while his mother was in hospital
His death prompted a serious case
review as well as domestic homicide probe – which analysed how Gwent
Police, Aneurin Bevan Health Board and Newport City Council had dealt
with the events running up to the teenager's death.
Officials say the purpose of the
review was not to lay blame but to 'reflect and review what took place'
as well as ensuring lessons were learnt in the future.
Report author Ruby Parry said the attack and deaths were 'terrible circumstances that no one could have
predicted' – but admitted there had been 'some shortcomings'.
She added professionals working with
the Mrs Williams' family between July and October last year had wanted
to 'do the right thing', but there were 'complex reasons' why the attack
and subsequent deaths happened.
Among these included a failure by authorities to share information.
The report, written on behalf of
Newport Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) and Newport Community
Safety Partnership, made 16 recommendations.
Mrs Williams' critcisms came after a a
Serious Case Review, a Domestic Homicide Review and an investigation by
the Independent Police Complaints Commission were published today.
The three inquiries uncovered a series of blunders which led to the double tragedy in August last year.
Darren Williams, who had been arrested twice in one week for threatening and assaulting his wife stormed into the salon where she worked and shot her at point blank range
Rachel was living in fear of her estranged husband, who was twice her size, at her home in Newport
report revealed that police had dealt with seven calls involving the
couple between July 9 and August 18 2011, the day before the shooting.
Mrs Williams had also previously visited her local police station twice where she was interviewed by officers.
Williams was arrested on August 6 for
assaulting her and released on police bail. Four days later he was
arrested for threatening to kill her.
At the time of the second arrest he was charged with an earlier assault on his wife dating from July 9.
appeared before magistrates and was then released despite both the
police and Crown Prosecution Service opposing the granting of bail.
/11/28/article-2239709-163FCE76000005DC-482_306x423.jpg” width=”306″ height=”423″ alt=”The Serious Case Review said Rachel, who endured horrific injuries no her leg, had been categorised as being 'at high risk of harm by her husband'” class=”blkBorder” />
The report revealed Rachel, who had to have a new titanium knee after the attack, was not surprised that her ex had tried to kill her
The three inquiries uncovered a series of blunders which led to the double tragedy in Newport, South Wales, in August last year
The force is being
called on to improve the way it deals with domestic abuse cases as a
result of the investigation and has now made improvements.
Issues were found with the system Gwent Police uses to deal with urgent calls.
with a domestic abuse element were not necessarily flagged up under the
system and call handlers were left to interpret information.
Lack of communication between different departments is also highlighted as a problem area within the force.
One of the reports said more could have been done to help the couple’s only son Jack who was left grieving for his father while his mother was in hospital with gunshot wounds.
As a result of the IPCC investigation,
Gwent Police ruled two police constables and one sergeant should be
subject to management action, and a police constable should be subject
to management advice.
The force has accepted all IPCC recommendations and suggestions for improvements.
Davies, IPCC Commissioner for Wales, said: 'This has been a very
difficult case for all concerned and I hope that the family and friends
of all those involved find some measure of peace.
Police’s handling of domestic abuse had been in the public spotlight
since the Joanna Michael case and the All-Wales domestic abuse
conference held in June 2011.
Rachel, pictured here with her son Josh, said she still suffers nightmares and will always remember that day
the high awareness and public profile of the positive measures the
force had put in place, our investigation into how this woman’s concerns
were dealt with highlighted issues with call handling, record-keeping
and awareness of force policy and procedures.
hope that appropriate lessons have been learned and we have shared the
learning from our investigation with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of
Constabulary and the Serious Case Review and Attempted Domestic Homicide
Review into how all agencies acted within this case.'
Today Rachel, who is still recovering from gunshot wounds welcomed the 67-page joint report.
She said: 'Darren almost killed me that day. I know I am lucky to be alive after he shot me.
'I had no knee left, half a shin missing and only some of my main tendon left.
He’d left me with two black eyes where he had kicked me in the face.
'I underwent four operations in one week – I was given a new titanium knee.
'I still suffer nightmares – waking up thinking it is all a terrible dream. And then it hits me – it’s all a terrible reality.
'I will always have the physical scars to remind me of Darren and that fateful day.
'Tragically there are lessons to be learned from this report – but sadly at the cost of my beautiful son.'
The Serious Case Review said Rachel had been categorised as being 'at high risk of harm by her husband'.
Williams stormed into the hair salon and shouted 'I love you' s he shot his wife. His body was found in nearby woods hours later
Gwent police force is being called on to improve the way it deals with domestic abuse cases as a result of the investigation
It said: 'She was being supported by the police and an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor who was in daily contact with her.
indication of the level of concern from the police is evident in their
unsuccessful attempt to have Williams remanded in custody for his own
safety and that of his wife.'
who was charged with beating his wife, was given bail after a
psychiatric assessment decided he did not warrant admission under the
Mental Health Act.
though Williams had previously broken his bail conditions Newport
magistrates were unable to lock him up because the charge was not an
HOW GWENT POLICE SHOULD IMPROVE: THE IPCC REPORT
The IPCC investigation concludes with a raft of findings and recommendations.
It deals with each of the specific upheld complaints, lists findings in detail and sets out a series of recommendations.
With regard to domestic abuse cases Gwent Police needs to have a policy setting out who exactly is responsible for such cases.
needs to be done to highlight the correct channels through which
additional information is passed to relevant departments It also says
the force needs to establish a standardised procedure for dealing with
hand over files.
Gwent Police call handlers should also get better training 'to ensure they recognise incidents related to domestic abuse.'
officers should all get domestic abuse training and records should
checked to find where any training gaps exist so they can be filled.
report also suggests that the police and the Crown Prosecution Service
should meet to discuss ways of better passing on bail information.
follows the finding that the CPS does not routinely inform the police
of magistrates' court applications to vary bail conditions.
The report said: 'He was therefore
bailed to live with his sister. He attempted to kill his wife, and then
killed himself, seven days later.'
The year-long inquiry into the tragedy
made 16 recommendations to the Newport Safeguarding Children Board and
Newport Community Safety Partnership.
It called on the Community Safety
Partnership to write to the Home Office asking if there are grounds for
courts to hear the views of the victim when considering giving bail.
The report revealed 24 different
police officers dealt with the domestic disturbances caused by Williams
after his wife tried to end their marriage.
The report said: 'No single officer, or other professional, had an overview of the escalating situation.
'Each incident was dealt with according to the presenting situation.
'Events also moved so quickly, that one had not been fully investigated before the next occurred.'
The Independent Police Complaints Commission upheld four complaints against the force including one that officers took 'too long' to arrest Williams after he was initially accused of assaulting his wife.
The report revealed Rachel was not surprised that her ex had tried to kill her after she finally ended their 17-year abusive relationship.
It stated: 'This was not an unexpected outcome from her perspective.
'Williams had always made it clear to her that he would 'take her with him rather than live without her'.
Rachel was living in fear at her 130,000 home in Newport, where the locks had been changed and panic alarms fitted.
The report said Rachel’s survival was an 'extraordinary story of determination, fighting off a partner who was more than twice her size and build.'
She spent five weeks in hospital where doctors managed to save her left leg.
Inquests are due to be held on Williams and the couple’s son Jack next year.
Tom Davies, IPCC Commissioner for Wales, said: 'This has been a very difficult case for all concerned and I hope that the family and friends of all those involved find some measure of peace.
'Gwent Police’s handling of domestic abuse had been in the public spotlight since the Joanna Michael case and the All-Wales domestic abuse conference held in June 2011.
'Despite the high awareness and public profile of the positive measures the force had put in place, our investigation into how this woman’s concerns were dealt with highlighted issues with call handling, record-keeping and awareness of force policy and procedures.
'I hope that appropriate lessons have been learned and we have shared the learning from our investigation with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Serious Case Review and Attempted Domestic Homicide Review into how all agencies acted within this case.'
Assistant Chief Constable Simon Prince said that Gwent Police 'welcomed' the report.
He said: 'The death of two members of the same family and the serious injury to another, is a tragedy and our condolences are with the family.
'It is only right for agencies involved to examine their actions to ensure that, if faced with an extraordinary set of events again, they can ensure they have the best opportunities to intervene, to offer help and minimise the risk to those involved.
'We are grateful for the IPCC report and are fully implementing the recommendations.
'Gwent Police are continually striving to improve our response to domestic abuse incidents which includes increased and wider training around identification and log closure; increased sharing and scrutinising of domestic related incidents through the DMM and DACC system and also the implementation of the Domestic Abuse Investigation Unit which is made up of over 60 staff and ensures coordination of responses between relevant agencies to ensure better and more effective responses and investigation.
'We also welcome the Serious Case Review and the Attempted Domestic Homicide Review which allowed the agencies involved to take a step back and reflect and review on the events that took place; to learn from events and improve practice to do all they can to prevent future tragedies.'