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Stab victim let down by police

A domestic violence victim found stabbed to death in her home was let down by police who failed to respond urgently on the day of her murder.

Jeanette Goodwin, 47, was found by police with multiple stab wounds at her home in Quebec Avenue, Southend, Essex, on July 24 last year.

Martin Bunch was later arrested and convicted of her murder.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said that although Essex Police had taken her previous reports of attacks seriously, it failed to "provide an essential emergency response to a high-risk victim".

The IPCC report said Bunch had been convicted of battery against Mrs Goodwin a month before her death. He was given a conditional discharge but within days was arrested again for harassment and a separate allegation of actual bodily harm.

Magistrates released him on bail despite police pleas to have him remanded in custody, the report continues. Police then arrested him a further three times for breaching his bail conditions.

The IPCC investigation found that Essex Police took Mrs Goodwin's reports of domestic violence seriously and offered her support. Officers had "strongly urged" Bunch's remand in custody "on the basis it was the only way to effectively protect Mrs Goodwin".

A statement added: "However, on the day of her murder they did not provide an essential emergency response to a high-risk victim. This was due to a breakdown of communication, a lack of resources and a failure to appropriately prioritise the case. Vital intelligence checks were not made, which would have alerted the decision-makers to the danger Mrs Goodwin was in, and her repeated expressions of fear were not recorded by the call-taker."

The family of Mrs Goodwin, a mother of three, issued a statement welcoming the findings and calling for reform in the way courts deal with victims of domestic violence. They added: "Our main concerns are the justice system rather than police failings. Although justice has rightfully been served upon what we can only describe as an animal, this does not overshadow the obvious flaws within the justice system which greatly failed Jeanette and her chance of a peaceful and fulfilling life."

Deputy Chief Constable Derek Benson offered his condolences to the family and friends of Mrs Goodwin on behalf of Essex Police. He said the report "rightly identifies" failings but also highlights positive steps taken to protect her. He added: "The IPCC report found shortcomings in respect of four members of police staff and one acting police sergeant. The IPCC concluded that their actions did not amount to misconduct but did require debriefing with a senior officer to address performance measures, which has been done."

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