Domestic abuse killings in London treble

By Danny Shaw
Home affairs correspondent, BBC News

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image copyrightMet Police
image captionSophie Cavanagh was murdered by her estranged husband Martin Cavanagh in Bromley on 20 May

The number of killings in London linked to domestic abuse more than trebled last year, new figures have revealed.

Deputy commissioner of the Met Police Sir Stephen House said there were 29 deaths in 2018 compared with nine in 2017.

It is the highest amount of domestic abuse killings in the capital since 2015, where there were 31.

Sir Stephen said of the 29 domestic abuse killings in 2018, police had not identified any "real warning signs".

"I think there is a portrayal that every homicide in London is knife crime, gang related, young black man," the deputy commissioner said.

"That clearly is not the case."

In total, the Met said it recorded 136 homicides last year compared with 138 in 2017 - which included those killed in the terror attacks at Westminster, London Bridge and Finsbury Park.

The detection rate for homicides - which relates to the proportion of cases which result in someone being charged - was 91.9 % last year, according to Sir Stephen.

Thirty deaths were classed as "youth homicides" - three fewer than the previous year.

Sir Stephen told the Police and Crime Committee that more broadly, the domestic abuse detection rate, arrest rate and timeliness of arrests had all dropped, which the force was trying to address by getting officers to make arrests within 24 hours where possible.

image copyrightEllena Cruse/Newham Recorder
image captionElizabeta Lacatusu, 44, was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend in Redbridge, east London

He explained when the time-frame "slips" to 72 hours and beyond the conviction rate falls.

Each of the 29 domestic abuse-related killings are being reviewed to examine the role of all agencies involved

However, Sir Stephen explained these reviews typically take six to nine months to complete.

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