Birmingham & Black Country

Tina Billingham: 'Missed chances' to help woman killed by partner

Tina Billingham Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Tina Billingham was in a relationship with Ronald Cooke for nearly 20 years

A woman told a nurse she feared her abusive partner would kill her four years before he stabbed her to death, a report has revealed.

Ronald Cooke was jailed for life for the murder of Tina Billingham in 2017.

A domestic homicide review said Cooke had a history of "violent and unpredictable behaviour to women".

Ch Supt Richard Youds, chair of the partnership which carried out the review, said agencies had "missed opportunities" to help Ms Billingham.

Cooke, 55, attacked Ms Billingham at their home in Cradley Heath in February 2017, before driving her to a doctor's surgery.

The review found Ms Billingham, 54, had informed three professionals she was being abused but only once in 10 years was she offered specialist domestic abuse help.

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Cooke was jailed for life with a minimum of 24 years

After they first met in 1999 Cooke, of Granville Road, was "abusive and controlling" to Ms Billingham, the report said.

She visited her GP multiple times reporting depression, but there was a lack of "professional curiosity" into its cause.

In March 2013, she told a nurse she feared Cooke might kill her, but this disclosure "produced no action that she felt would make her safer" and she was referred for counselling.

Ch Supt Youds, of the Safer Sandwell Partnership, said organisations accepted the review's recommendations, while improvements had already been made to services - including increased training for staff.

A statement from Ms Billingham's family said: "No person should have to go through the pain of losing a loved one through domestic abuse.

"We hope this may stop other families receiving that earth-shattering phone call or knock on the door."

The review made nine recommendations, including GPs being able to use evidence to identify victims of domestic abuse.

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