Dorset

Sharon Perrett murder: Police 'stopped calling abuse victim'

Sharon Perrett Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Sharon Perrett died from a "sustained violent attack" by her partner

Police stopped trying to call an abuse victim shortly before she was murdered by her partner because her phone was off, an inquiry has found.

Sharon Perrett, 37, was beaten to death by Daniel O'Malley-Keyes at her home in Christchurch, Dorset, in August.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said "genuine attempts" were made by phone but alternative methods to contact her were ruled out.

Dorset Police has changed its policy on contacting domestic violence victims.

Image copyright Dorset Police
Image caption Daniel O'Malley-Keyes was jailed for a minimum of 18 years for the murder

Ms Perrett attended hospital in May 2018 with rib and torso pain, disclosing that she had been threatened and assaulted by her partner "around five or six times previously".

Police made "genuine attempts" to contact her about the alleged abuse but her phone was switched off, the IOPC investigation found.

On 26 August, she died from a "sustained violent attack" at her flat in Park Gardens.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Ms Perrett's body was found at her flat in Park Gardens

"Alternative methods of contact such as attending Ms Perrett's home were considered but ruled out as inappropriate as they may have alerted the perpetrator to the fact police were involved and put Ms Perrett in immediate danger," said IOPC regional director Catrin Evans.

The watchdog said the police action was "in line with established practices and procedures" and no action would be taken against any officers.

However, the force has revised its domestic abuse policy and now recommends that alternative methods of communication, including contacting family members, should be used.

O'Malley-Keyes, 39, formerly of Chestnut Avenue, Bournemouth, was jailed in May for the murder and ordered to serve a minimum of 18 years.

Dorset Police said it had spent three weeks trying to phone Ms Perrett.

Det Ch Insp Rich Dixey said: "We are constantly reviewing all our policies, particularly in relation to domestic abuse, and this case has given us another opportunity to examine our ways of working and how improvements can be made."

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