Eystna Blunnie murder: 'Chances missed' to prevent death

Eystna Blunnie Image copyright Other
Image caption Eystna Blunnie was found fatally injured near her home

Opportunities were missed to protect a heavily-pregnant woman who was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend, a report has revealed.

Eystna Blunnie, 20, was murdered by Tony McLernon in Harlow, Essex, in June 2012.

The Safer Harlow Partnership found there were many signs she was in danger before she was fatally attacked.

It recommended agencies should work together better to share information about high risk adults.

The report investigated the build up to Miss Blunnie's death and McLernon's history with mental health service providers.

It referred to an incident two months before Miss Blunnie - who was nine months pregnant - was murdered in which McLernon had squeezed her by the throat until she could not breathe, threatening "he would kill her".

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Tony McLernon sent Eystna Blunnie a text message telling her he had a surprise for her

Essex Police asked the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for advice on whether he could be charged with an offence.

At the time, the CPS decided there was not enough evidence. It later admitted that decision was wrong.

McLernon, 24, left Miss Blunnie for dead in the middle of a road. He was jailed for life at Chelmsford Crown Court following a trial in March and will serve a minimum of 27 years before he is eligible for parole.

Miss Blunnie's father Kevin said he believes his daughter would still be alive if McLernon had been prosecuted.

"For that mistake, we lost our daughter and granddaughter," he said.

"In our hearts, we feel had action been taken at that point, it would have made a difference."

The report's author, Jackie Sully, said no one could be sure if charging McLernon would have changed the course of events leading to Miss Blunnie's death.

She was concerned that agencies involved in domestic violence cases did not share information internally or with other organisations.

"If nobody is getting the bigger picture, how on earth can you take steps to prevent what sometimes seems inevitable?" she said.

A Essex Police spokesperson said: "We acknowledge the findings of this review and we have worked hard to address the recommendations that have been made.

"We are committed to improving the police and partnership working that underpins the effective combating of domestic abuse."

The CPS is yet to comment.

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