Police failings in deaths

Failures made by police in the run-up to the killings of pregnant mother Rachael Slack and her toddler son Auden "more than minimally contributed" to their deaths, an inquest jury found. Her former partner Andrew Cairns unlawfully killed them both.

Live updates

Mother 'would be alive if police had not failed her'

The boyfriend of a pregnant woman who was killed with her toddler son by her ex-partner told Daybreak that he believed the pair would still be alive if they had not been let down by police.

Rachael Slack, 38, and her 23-month-old son Auden were found with multiple stab wounds in their home in the village of Holbrook, Derbyshire, on June 2, 2010.

They were killed by 44-year-old Andrew Cairns, Auden's father, who had a history of mental illness.

Ms Slack's partner Robert Barlow said he believed the deaths could have been avoided.He said: "She was doing the right thing by giving him (Cairns) support and always involving him in the activities with Auden, looking out for him as the father of the child.

"I wasn't made aware of the (police) risk assessment (into the potential for homicide) and the outcome.

"If they had contacted me, I could have acted accordingly - so Rachael would have done as well. It would have got rid of any doubt of what we needed to do in the oncoming weeks after he had been arrested.

"There is every possibility, without a shadow of a doubt, there is every possibility she could have been alive today."

  1. Central

Cairns family: disappointed 'more wasn't done' to help him

Andrew Cairn's family say they are extremely disappointed more wasn't done to help him

In a statement the family of Andrew Cairns has said they are extremely disappointed that 'more wasn’t done by the mental health trust to provide the proper level of care for him.'

Rachel Adamson, a partner at the solicitors which represents the family said:

“The family feels that they and Andrew Cairns were totally let down by the mental health trust. Andrew had mental health issues and was arrested under the Mental Health Act only days before.

Specifically, the family is disappointed that the mental health trust failed to verify background information with family members which it was, as the Coroner pointed out, common practice in psychiatric medicine to do so.

They also failed to make an adequate record of the Mental Health Act assessment on Andrew against common protocol, and failed to adequately co-ordinate the care of Andrew which included a failure to maintain a co-ordinated set of healthcare records.

They feel strongly that more could have been done and ultimately Rachael, Andrew and Auden would all still be here today if all of the concerns raised had been listened to and acted appropriately upon at the time.”


  1. Central

Poignant Rachael and Auden Slack footage released

Moving footage of Rachael & Auden Slack waving goodbye in a touching family video has been released as an inquest into their deaths closed today. The video was uploaded to Refuge's YouTube channel.

The charity are teaming up with Rachael's family to call for a public inquiry into the response of the police and other authorities to women and children experiencing domestic violence.

Police 'more than minimally contributed' to deaths

Police failures in the run-up to the killings of a pregnant mother and her 23-month-old son had "more than minimally contributed" to their deaths, an inquest jury found.

Andrew Cairns took his own life. Credit: ITV Central

Rachael Slack, 38, and her son Auden were stabbed to death by her former partner Andrew Cairns - who had a history of mental illness.

During an inquest at Derby and South Derbyshire Coroner's Court, which began last month, jurors heard that Cairns had been struggling with declining mental health since the break-up of his relationship with Ms Slack in 2009.


Woman was unlawfully killed by her former partner

Rachael Slack and her son, Auden. Credit: Courtesy of Derby Telegraph

Rachael Slack, who was stabbed to death along with her son 23-month-old Auden, was unlawfully killed by her former partner Andrew Cairns and a failure by the police to tell her of the high risk to her life was a contributing factor.

The inquest also ruled that Cairns took his own life.

Back to top

Latest ITV News reports