Attack case against Haytor death woman's ex-partner dropped

Katherine Hooper
Image caption The CPS said it dropped the assault case after Ms Hooper's death and new police evidence

An assault charge against the former partner of a mother who is believed to have killed herself and her two children has been dropped.

Katherine (Kat) Hooper and her son Joshua, five, fell to their deaths from Haytor on Dartmoor in July and the body of two-year-old Samuel was later found at her home in Dukes Close, Paignton.

Neil Patterson, 52, had denied assaulting Ms Hooper in April.

Prosecutors said there was no longer a "realistic prospect of conviction".

'New material'

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said its decision to discontinue with the case followed new evidence from Devon and Cornwall Police.

Mr Patterson had been due to appear before Torbay Magistrates' Court last week on a charge of assault by beating, but the case was adjourned while the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided if it was going to proceed.

"When the original decision was made to prosecute Mr Patterson, it was determined that the complainant's evidence, along with that of other individuals who were eyewitnesses to some of what had been complained about, would be sufficient to provide a realistic prospect of conviction," a statement from CPS spokesman Michael French said.

"Following that decision, we had to carefully consider our evidential position in light of the complainant's tragic death.

"Although the courts can choose to admit the evidence of deceased witnesses under certain criteria, and that possibility was considered, the police provided us with new material that we felt meant that there would no longer be a realistic prospect of conviction."

Image caption A Serious Case Review is examining whether the family were failed after it emerged they were known to social services and other agencies

Mr French said Ms Hooper's family had been notified

"I extend my sympathy to them at this difficult time," he added.

After the deaths of Ms Hooper and her children, police said they had launched a murder investigation, but were not looking for anyone else.

A Serious Case Review is currently under way to examine whether the family had been failed after it emerged they were known to social services and other agencies.

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