Police mistakes over stabbing death

A spelling error on a police computer meant domestic abuse was not handled properly by police shortly before a woman was murdered.

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Spelling error meant police failed to prevent woman's murder

A spelling error on a police computer contributed to officers missing signs of domestic abuse shortly before a woman was murdered by her partner.

Sarah Gosling, 41, was stabbed to death by Ian Hope, 53, at their home in Lemington in February. He received a life sentence for her murder.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission found 'organisational and individual errors' in how Northumbria Police dealt with the case.

The force was aware of a history of domestic abuse in the relationship, but Mr Hope's Tewkesbury Road address had been mis-spelled when entered into the computer.

There was therefore no record of the couple's history when officers visited the house on the evening of the murder after reports of shouting. They treated the incident as anti-social behaviour. Two hours later, Hope stabbed Miss Gosling to death.

"It is clear that Northumbria Police were aware of the abuse and had been involved in measures with partner agencies to try to tackle it.

"It is therefore tragic that such an apparently simple error of misspelling a street name could undermine the positive work done by the police force and result in two officers not having the relevant information that might have assisted them to deal with one specific incident differently."

– Nicholas Long, IPCC Commissioner

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