Coventry & Warwickshire

Warwickshire Police admits mistakes over Luisa Mendes 999 call

A police force has admitted "mistakes were made" after taking too long to respond to a 999 call by a woman who was later found dead.

Luisa Mendes was found at a home in Briar Close, Leamington Spa, on 25 October 2012 after calling Warwickshire Police saying she was being beaten.

Control room operators failed to send out an officer quickly enough after wrongly categorising the call.

The force has apologised and said a settlement had been made to her family.

An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said her plea was treated as a nuisance call and an officer was dispatched the following day.

After failing to get an answer at the door, the officer left. Paramedics subsequently found Ms Mendes.

Solicitors for her family said she was heard to scream and hang-up when she made the call.

Written apology

The call operator rang back and two men answered, denying there was a problem.

However, Ms Mendes, originally from Portugal, confirmed she was being beaten and was heard saying "don't beat me, don't touch me".

The operator told the men police would attend within the hour but did not categorised the call as "violence", solicitors Hodge Jones and Allen said.

No-one has been charged over her death, the firm said. Three police officers received final written warnings over her death.

A narrative verdict was recorded by a jury at the inquest of the 44-year-old in June.

The hearing was told her death was due to a catastrophic bleed to the abdomen caused by a rupture to her spleen which was the result of a "deliberate application of force by a third party".

In a statement, Warwickshire Police said they accepted mistakes were made and a "full and final settlement" had been made to the family. A written apology has also been sent to the family from the chief constable Martin Jelley.

"The IPCC reported back to Warwickshire Police in May 2014 and rightly identified actions delivered by individuals needed to be addressed and also made some overall recommendations for Warwickshire Police that have all now been implemented. The IPCC has confirmed it is content with our actions."

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