Essex

Keeley Barnard: Killer daughter 'posed no risk' to mum

Keeley Barnard was sharing a sofa bed with her mother when she strangled her Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Keeley Barnard was sharing a sofa bed with her mother when she strangled her

An alcoholic who threatened her husband with a knife "posed no risk" to her mother, who she later killed in "rage and frustration", a report has found.

Keeley Barnard strangled 70-year-old Margaret Sims, who had Alzheimer's, with such force a bone was broken in her throat.

Opportunities were missed to assess the risk Barnard, 53, posed to her mother, a Domestic Homicide Review has found.

But it said her issues had "no direct impact on the eventual homicide".

Barnard, from Chelmsford, was jailed for life in February 2018.

The review, published by the Tendring Community Safety Partnership, found she had a history of alcohol-fuelled violence towards her husband and adult son, with the police attending their home on four occasions between 2011 and 2017.

Image copyright BPM Media
Image caption Essex Police described Margaret Sims as a "vulnerable elderly lady who was unable to defend herself"

One incident in which she threatened her husband with a knife "should have been initially graded as high risk", the review said.

Grading the risk would have alerted other agencies to provide family support and represented a "missed opportunity".

Described as "a high-functioning alcoholic", Barnard had twice overdosed on antidepressant medication, the report said, and had threatened to kill herself in 2017 after "feeling at crisis point".

She had been "physically violent and verbally abusive" towards her husband - but the review found there was no evidence Barnard "posed any risk to her mother" and her issues had "no direct impact on the eventual homicide".

During her trial last year, Chelmsford Crown Court heard Barnard and her mother had been staying in a spare room at another daughter's house in Stanford-le-Hope on 20 August 2017.

Barnard had strangled her mother "in rage and frustration" with such force that a bone was broken in Mrs Sims' throat, the jury heard.

At the time, Essex Police described Mrs Sims, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2014, as a "vulnerable, elderly lady who was unable to defend herself".

The review concluded that although Barnard "experienced low mood and was under stress, she did not have a severe and enduring mental illness".

The attack on her mother "occurred without warning", it said.

It recommended domestic abuse should be included in the training of GPs across Essex - as well as greater sharing of information between agencies.

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