Suffolk

Dennis Nicholls killing: Suffolk police call handler sacked

Police at Kirkley Run, Lowestoft
Image caption Police activity after Mr Nicholls's body was found in the sitting room

A police call handler has been sacked for gross misconduct after a father who dialled 999 asking for help was killed by his mentally ill daughter.

Dennis Nicholls, 89, urged police to hurry to the Lowestoft home he shared with Karen Kimber, fearing she was going to harm him.

Kimber, 53, was given a hospital order after admitting the manslaughter of her father by diminished responsibility.

Suffolk Police said it had changed the way it handled 999 calls.

It said it now carried out a more "rigorous assessment" of "threat".

Kimber, who had a long history of mental illness, strangled her father believing he was the devil.

She had sought help in the run-up to her father's death.

In a 999 call from their home in Kirkley Run, Mr Nicholls said Kimber was trying to hurt him and urged police to help.

Image copyright Gary Evans
Image caption Police were called to the scene at about 20:50 GMT on 19 November

He made the call just before 21:00 GMT on 19 November 2014.

Shortly afterwards, Kimber was found in the street near her home. She told neighbours she had just killed her father.

The matter was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) as "there had been recent police contact with the victim prior to his death".

The IPCC found a case for gross misconduct against a member of police staff and they were subsequently dismissed.

Suffolk Police said call handlers now used a new method of dealing with each call, based on a more "rigorous assessment of the threat, risk and harm posed by each incident".

A IPCC spokesman said: "The investigation examined the actions and decision making of a call handler who took an emergency call from Mr Nicholls, specifically looking at the call handler's assessment of the risk posed to Mr Nicholls and the grading of the call.

Image caption In the 999 call from Kirkley Run, Mr Nicholls urged police to hurry as his daughter was trying to 'hurt him'

"The investigation report will be published in due course."

The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, the county's mental health care provider said Kimber received an effective and appropriate level of care.

A review into the case is being carried out by the Waveney Community Safety Partnership.

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