Murder victim's family slam police
The family of a young mother who was bludgeoned to death in a dark alleyway has accused police of failing her after she was refused a lift home from two special constables.
Caroline Coyne, 28, was discovered dead between houses in Thorneywood Mount, Nottingham, on the morning of July 23 last year.
Carl Powell, 24, was on Thursday jailed for life after being convicted by a jury at the city's Crown Court of murdering the care home worker.
During his trial, jurors heard how a drunk Ms Coyne, who had two young sons, became separated from relatives and was making her way home from a family party when she climbed into the back of a police car and asked them to take her home.
Special Constable Allen Purnell and colleague Paul Traynor told Ms Coyne they were "not a taxi" and suggested she get a bus or taxi home, before watching her walk away.
She eventually encountered Powell, who chased her down an alleyway and subjected her to a savage attack in which she suffered fatal head injuries.
Speaking after Powell was sentenced to serve a minimum of 20 years in prison, Jason Stansfield, Ms Coyne's stepfather, said the family held Nottinghamshire Police responsible for putting her in the path of her murderer that night.
He said the police could have used their powers to take Ms Coyne home when she jumped into their car, as she was clearly intoxicated and in need of assistance. "Instead they were dismissive of her and, in the words of the defence barrister Mr Smith, she was treated as an inconvenience," Mr Stansfield said.
"The two officers simply pointed her in the direction of home and watched her stagger off for a few seconds until she disappeared from view. It is the family's opinion that Caroline was failed by Nottinghamshire Police that night.
"[They had] the chance to ensure a vulnerable young woman, worse the wear for drink, was taken to a place for safety. So the police, in our opinion, failed Caroline and their advice to take a taxi put her right in the path of her murderer."