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Pc resigns ahead of misconduct hearing over woman murdered by stalker

Shana Grice reported her ex-boyfriend Michael Lane to Sussex Police officers five times in six months before he killed her.

Shana Grice was murdered by her former partner after reporting to police that he was stalking her (Sussex Police/PA)
Shana Grice was murdered by her former partner after reporting to police that he was stalking her (Sussex Police/PA)

A constable accused of ignoring a 19-year-old woman who repeatedly reported her stalker to police before she was murdered has resigned ahead of a disciplinary hearing.

Shana Grice reported her ex-boyfriend Michael Lane to Sussex Police officers five times in six months, but was fined for wasting police time.

On August 25 2016, Lane slit her throat before trying to burn her body.

He was jailed for a minimum of 25 years for her murder in March 2017.

Last month it emerged some of the officers involved in her case would face disciplinary action over her death.

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Michael Lane was found guilty of murdering his former girlfriend Shana (Sussex Police/PA)

If gross misconduct is proven during such proceedings, officers can face dismissal from the force.

On Thursday, Sussex Police published a notice of a misconduct hearing on its website which named one of the officers involved in the disciplinary action as a Pc Mills.

He will resign with effect from Friday and a hearing over the allegations against him is due to take place on May 10, the notice said.

Fourteen officers were investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

The only other police officer due to face gross misconduct proceedings in front of an independent chairman at public hearings in May has already retired, the force previously said.

Another police officer is to face internal misconduct proceedings, which are carried out in private.

No further action will be taken over five other officers investigated by the IOPC, while six other force employees – three officers and three staff – have already been handed “management advice and further training”.

Pc Mills faces two allegations that his conduct amounted to a breach of professional standards of behaviour.

On July 9 2016 – just over a month before Ms Grice was killed – Pc Mills is accused of failing to “adequately investigate allegations of harassment and stalking”, the notice said.

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Ms Grice had reported Lane to Sussex Police officers five times in six months (PA)

During Lane’s trial, the court heard on that day he was cautioned and told to stay away from Ms Grice after stealing a key and creeping into her room while she slept the previous morning.

Pc Mills is also accused of failing to respond to a report of harassment and stalking made by Ms Grice just days later on July 12.

Between July 13 and 15, he “failed to contact Ms Grice or update her regarding the reported incident”, it is said.

On July 12, Ms Grice reported being followed in a car by Lane but no further action was taken, the trial heard.

The notice said: “These failures resulted in Ms Shana Grice not being treated as a victim of domestic abuse and there being a loss of confidence by the public in Sussex Police.

“Pc Mills resigned from Sussex Police with effect from May 3, 2019.”

The force has been contacted for comment.

An IOPC spokeswoman said: “Resigning from the force does not preclude officers from facing misconduct hearings.”

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Miss Grice’s family said she paid for police failures ‘with her life’ (Sussex Police/PA)

Ms Grice’s family said changes made by the force after her death were “too little, too late”.

Her parents Sharon Grice and Richard Green previously said: “Our daughter took her concerns to the police and instead of being protected was treated like a criminal.

“She paid for the police’s lack of training, care and poor attitude with her life.”

The family plan to attend the misconduct hearings and are considering legal action against the force, their lawyer Andy Petherbridge said.

The full IOPC report into the police handling of Ms Grice’s death was completed last year but has not yet been published.

Last month, an independent report found the force’s approach to investigating stalking and harassment cases was not consistent or effective.

Assistant Chief Constable Nick May previously said the force is committed to improving.

PA

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