1. ITV Report

Alice Ruggles' family: 'Police need more training on how to deal with stalkers'

Alice Ruggles' parents

By Kris Jepson

The family of Alice Ruggles have called for the police to have more training on how to deal with stalkers, after her murderer and ex-boyfriend Lance Corporal Trimaan Dhillon was given a life sentence. Alice, 24, was found laying dead in her Gateshead flat in October 2016, after Dhillon had stalked her for months - despite being warned by police to stop.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment on Wednesday 26th April.

Watch @krisjepson's report here:

Alice's mother, Dr Sue Hills, said there needs to be a change in procedure. Dhillon had been given a PIN or Police Information Notice, which is an official warning designed to prevent stalking, but he continued to harass Alice.

I think as soon as the PIN is broken he needs to be arrested or visited or something needs to be done, rather than just ignoring him. He’s broken the PIN and he’s thinking well it doesn’t mean anything because I’ve got away with that one and I'll come again and he came two more times, so it just shows it didn't mean anything for him. We don't want this to turn into some sort of witch hunt against a particular person in the police, we want it to turn into a change in procedure so that if this happens again to somebody else that the same thing doesn't happen.

– Dr Sue Hills, Alice's mother

Northumbria Police told ITV News it has carried out an investigation into the case, which is currently being reviewed by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), and once that is returned the force will learn any lessons from the case.

It would be presumptuous of me and wrong of me to say what the IPCC findings would be, but certainly, I’ve read the report and there’s nothing for me to suggest there's urgent action that we need to take as an organisation to address any issues. However, if there are issues and lessons to be learned from the IPCC review then of course we will.

– ACC Darren Best, Northumbria Police

For the first time, Alice's parents told of the moment they found out she had been killed.

Her father, Clive Ruggles, said, "I woke up, I could hear the dog barking and a knock at the door. It was two in the morning so I went down and there were two police at the door saying 'can we come in?'

Alice Ruggles Credit: Family handout

"All this time you know it's going to be something horrible, but you don't know what it's going to be and then they said 'it's Alice' and that was it, that was the moment we knew.

"Actually I think at that moment we looked at each other and we said 'it's Harry' (Dhillon)".

It was really horrendous because only two days before I'd been talking to Alice on the phone and she’d told me about the whole thing and I sort of reassured her that was ok, you know, the police knew what was going on and that it would be alright and that if she just ignored him, he would ignore her and I only put the phone down for 10 minutes, and Emma rang and said 'mum you cannot tell that to her. He's going to kill her. You’ve got to do something'. I thought she was overreacting so I just said to her don’t be silly, he won’t do that. I felt such a sense of guilt, because I'd first of all told Alice not to worry and secondly told Emma not to be silly.

– Dr Sue Hills, Alice's mother

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