• Video report by ITV News Correspondent Lucy Watson

A police panel has found former Sussex officer Trevor Godfrey committed misconduct in a stalking case which saw a 19-year-old murdered by her ex-boyfriend.

Now-retired Godfrey had told a misconduct hearing Shana Grice had initially lied about being in a secret relationship with older colleague Michael Lane as a "smokescreen" so her boyfriend Ashley Cooke did not find out.

The former Sussex Police officer denied he had applied a stereotype that two people in a relationship cannot be the subject of abuse from one another.

Trevor Godfrey was found to have committed misconduct. Credit: Ryan Hooper/PA

He claimed the fact Ms Grice signed off texts to Lane with five kisses meant there was "no reason" to offer her advice. She was instead fined £90 for wasting police time.

At the conclusion of the misconduct hearing, Godfrey was told he would have been sacked had he not already retired. It was decided his actions would not amount to gross misconduct.

Sussex Police conceded: "We do not attribute any blame on Shana."

  • What happened to Shana Grice?

Shana Grice was murdered by Michael Lane in 2016.

Shana Grice was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, despite her repeated complaints to Sussex Police about his behaviour.

The 19-year-old had reported Michael Lane to officers five times in six months, yet they fined her for wasting police time after she omitted to tell investigators about her relationship with Lane.

The first report came in February 2016, when Ms Grice reported Lane for damaging her car and sending her unwanted flowers. He was warned to stay away.

A month later, Ms Grice called the police again after Lane grabbed her phone and pulled her hair in the street. She was fined £90 for wasting police time.

On 9 July, Lane used a stolen key from her home to break in and watch her sleep. She recorded a phone call with Lane, in which he apologised. She gave the audio to Sussex Police.

Read more: Police not investigating stalking cases effectively, report finds

Lane was cautioned for theft and warned to leave Ms Grice alone.

In the following days, she made several more complaints that Lane was following her.

Just days after her final report, on 25 August 2016, Ms Grice was found dead at her Brighton home.

Lane, 27, is now serving a life sentence for her murder, with a minimum term of 25 years.

  • What response has there been?

Ms Grice's case has highlighted calls for a so-called Stalkers Register of people reported for such offences.

Speaking after the misconduct hearing, Assistant Chief Constable Jon Savell said: "Firstly, I'd like to offer my condolences and thoughts to Shana's family at this awful time, and to reiterate personally and on behalf of the force an apology for what has gone on and the failures that have been highlighted in this and other misconduct hearings.

"I and all my colleagues come to work to help the public and protect them."

He denied the case was a witch-hunt against Mr Godfrey and said the force was learning lessons about how it deals with stalking, harassment and domestic abuse

Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, said the force's approach to stalking has since changed with new recruits receiving mandatory training on stalking. But she added other forces are "woefully behind".