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Agency failings contributed to murder of nurse, inquest finds

Jurors ruled ‘failures to respond’ contributed to the death of Lisa Skidmore.

Leroy Campbell killed a nurse in her home weeks after he told probation staff he might rape again, an inquest has heard (West Midlands Police/PA)
Leroy Campbell killed a nurse in her home weeks after he told probation staff he might rape again, an inquest has heard (West Midlands Police/PA)

Failures to respond to the risk posed by a convicted sex offender contributed to the murder of a nurse who was raped and strangled, an inquest jury has ruled.

In a narrative verdict following a two-week inquest, jurors said numerous failings by agencies were “more than a minimal contribution” to Lisa Skidmore’s death.

The 37-year-old was killed by Leroy Campbell on November 24 2016 at her home in Bilston, near Wolverhampton, after he made disclosures to police and probation staff that he was “seeing open windows” and might reoffend.

The inquest at the Black Country Coroner’s Court was told Campbell killed Ms Skidmore and attempted to kill her mother while subject to supervision in the community, having been released from prison months earlier.

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Lisa Skidmore was raped and strangled by Leroy Campbell. (West Midlands Police/PA)

In its written conclusion, finding that Ms Skidmore was unlawfully killed, the inquest jury identified a number of factors that led to the death.

The jury’s verdict stated: “There was a clear escalation of risk between October 17th and November 24th.

“In this instance the agencies involved failed to share key information of the perpetrator’s disclosures.

“He disclosed to probation that he was experiencing low mood, negative thoughts and feelings that had led to his previous offence.

“He disclosed that he had noticed open windows on his way to the appointment. He disclosed to police that he had given himself two weeks to either get through this or reoffend.”

Noting failures to conduct basic checks, share information, and to document vital information internally and externally by probation and police staff, the narrative conclusion added: “There was no sufficient consideration given to the option of making a reference to recall (Campbell to prison) at any point from 17th October onwards.”

The verdict added: “These failures to respond to the risk were more than a minimal contribution to Lisa Skidmore’s murder.”

The inquest comes a year after a review into the killing by 57-year-old Campbell, who had a string of previous convictions for offences including rape, burglary and false imprisonment.

Campbell, of Forest Road, Moseley, Birmingham, was given a whole life term in 2017 after the city’s Crown Court was told he used a set of step-ladders to climb into Ms Skidmore’s home.

After killing Lisa and attacking her 80-year-old mother, Campbell, who also admitted arson, set fire to the property in an apparent attempt to destroy evidence.

Following the murder of Ms Skidmore, the Chief Inspector of Probation, Dame Glenys Stacey, was asked to review the case.

Her report, published last September, detailed how Campbell was serving a life sentence imposed in 2000 for the latest in a series of violent and serious sexual offences when the Parole Board decided to direct his release in June 2016.

At that stage, he was 11 years over his original five-year tariff, and the review did not criticise the Parole Board’s decision.

But the probation inspectorate flagged up a number of key failings in the way Campbell was supervised after he was freed.

The review said of comments made by Campbell: “In our view that should have resulted in immediate, positive and firm action to protect the public – either an immediate move back to approved premises, or recall to prison.

“Instead, Leroy Campbell was left free to commit these terrible crimes. Once he confirmed that he had thoughts of rape, then it is beyond our comprehension that he was left to remain at full liberty.”

PA

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