Police failed to properly investigate reports by a woman who told them she was being stalked by her ex boyfriend shortly before she was murdered.
24-year-old Alice Ruggles from Tur Langton, Leicestershire was killed by Trimaan Dhillon in Gateshead in 2016. Before her death, she had repeatedly contacted police to report unwanted contact from Dhillon, who bombarded her with text messages and voicemails, made unwelcome visits to her home, gave her unwanted gifts and threatened to kill himself. However, the police watchdog uncovered misconduct by officers who investigated the case.
The IOPC found that Northumbria Police treated the matter as harassment rather than stalking. It also discovered that some of the calls made by Alice Ruggles to the police weren't recorded.
Following Ms Ruggles complaints, the police issued Dhillon with a police information notice (PIN) for harassment to warn him that he could be arrested if he contacted her again. However, this was passed on to him by a major at his army barracks against national guidance for it to be done by a police officer in person, unless in exceptional circumstances.
The IOPC also found that police asked Ms Ruggles if she wanted Dhillon to be arrested for harrassment but she should never have been asked the question because the decision to make an arrest lies solely with the police.
Northumbria Police has apologised and says 'lessons have been learnt'.