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IPCC inquiry finds 'no case to answer' after inquiry into police contact with Tracy Shelvey

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has found no case to answer for misconduct or gross misconduct by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officers following the death of a woman in Rochdale.

Tracy Shelvey died after falling from a multi-story car park at the Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre on 3 February 2014.

The IPCC’s independent investigation looked at the contact between Ms Shelvey and GMP from 31 January 2014 to the day of her death.

The IPCC has found evidence that a phone call to GMP, by Ms Shelvey, on 31 January 2014 was poorly handled and assessed, resulting in no officers being sent to check on her welfare. Ms Shelvey called again on the same day, and this was handled appropriately, resulting in officers being sent to locate her.

The IPCC recommends supplementary training for a police staff member and an acting sergeant at GMP.

Further evidence showed that only a generic victim support strategy was devised for Tracy Shelvey, despite having been identified as a vulnerable adult. However, the officer assigned to support Ms Shelvey – during criminal proceedings in which she was a witness – used their experience to cater the strategy to try to meet her specific needs.

With regard to the day of Ms Shelvey’s death, the IPCC found GMP had managed the incident effectively. Officers and trained negotiators deployed to the Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre took appropriate measures to establish contact with her. The investigator found no evidence to suggest the force could have done anything more to prevent the death of Tracy Shelvey on 3 February 2014.

The IPCC recommends three GMP officers be commended for their professionalism in attempting to assist Ms Shelvey on the day of her death.

– IPCC Statement

Statement on Tracy Shelvey inquest from Pennine Care

“Pennine Care deeply regrets the circumstances that led to this tragic incident. We would like to offer our sincere apologies and sympathy to the family of Tracy Shelvey for their loss and the distress it has caused.

“The Trust has fully co-operated with investigations into Ms Shelvey’s care and treatment.

"We have already made improvements to help reduce the risk of such events happening in the future and will further review our practice in line with the Senior Coroner’s detailed findings.”

– Dr Henry Ticehurst, Medical Director for Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust

Shelvey inquest: Rochdale Council "will look at Coroner's conclusions"

“The death of Tracy Shelvey was a tragedy and I offer my condolences to her family.

"At various times from 2001 the council and others provided Tracy with support through drug and alcohol, and housing services.

"Although we fully accept that we should have done more, we note that the coroner has said our failings did not contribute significantly towards Tracy’s death.

"Since February 2014 we have made a number of changes to our systems so that people in similar situations will get a greater level of support and follow-up when there are difficulties with a person engaging with the support services available.

"We will now look at the coroner’s conclusions carefully and make further changes if necessary.”

– Sheila Downey, Rochdale Borough Council’s Director of Adult Services

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Family welcomes Coroner's findings after 'distressing process'

A coroner has recorded a verdict of accidental death on a woman who fell from a car park roof in Rochdale.

Tracy Shelvey's death came just days after a jury cleared a man she'd accused of rape.

Her mother has told the inquest Tracey was 'very distressed' in the days leading up to her death.

Correspondent Amy Welch has been in court:

Greater Manchester Police statement following Coroner's verdict

“Tracy’s death was a very sad and terrible end to a difficult investigation and one that deeply affected the officers, who had befriended her and supported her during what was a traumatic time.

"We accept the findings and the verdict of the coroner and we will be reviewing our victim support strategies and process of partner referrals.

“Breaking the news of an acquittal to any victim of crime is difficult and every victim reacts to the news differently so there is no universal way to do this. The officers told Tracy in a way they thought best, based on their professional judgement and knowledge of her.

“Since Tracy’s death, all officers investigating rape and sexual assaults have been issued with a document which guides them to ensure that the correct support and strategies are in place for victims. We will be reviewing this process in light of this inquest.

“It is important to remember that police officers are not mental health practitioners and a number of referrals were made to professionals who are trained in this area and better placed to make an assessment on what support is needed.

"I acknowledge that whilst 10 referrals were made to Rochdale Council's Adult Services, including a referral following Tracy being informed of the news of the acquittal, more could have been done by GMP to ensure that action was being taken.

"However, we will continue to work with our partners at Rochdale Council to ensure that the lessons learned from this tragic case have been acted on.

“Greater Manchester Police puts the welfare and needs of victims of sexual crime at the heart of everything we do and we appoint specially trained officers to help all victims through what we know is a very difficult and emotional process.

“We recognise the bravery of anybody who reports a sexual crime and has the courage to give evidence in court. It is vital that victims continue to make reports and have the confidence in the criminal justice system to prosecute offenders.”

– Assistant Chief Constable Robert Potts

Accidental death verdict on woman who fell from car park roof

A coroner has recorded a verdict of accidental death on a woman who fell from a car park roof in Rochdale.

Tracy Shelvey died after falling from the Wheatsheaf Centre car park.

Just days earlier, a jury had cleared a man she'd accused of rape.

Tracy Shelvey

The Coroner, Simon Nelson, criticised police for failing to have a bespoke support plan for Tracy in place.

He also criticised Rochdale Council and Pennine Care Trust for failing to properly support her.

But he said that failings of agencies did not contribute significantly to the death.

Solicitor Harriet Wistrich read a statement on behalf of Tracy's family:

Correspondent Amy Welch has latest from court:

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