Wales

Nicholas Churton murder: Police communication criticised

Jordan Davidson and Nicholas Churton
Image caption Jordan Davidson (left) killed Nicholas Churton (right) with a machete and hammer

A watchdog has criticised "ad hoc" information sharing between police and probation workers after a man was murdered by an offender out on licence.

Nicholas Churton, 67, was killed with a machete and hammer by Jordan Davidson at his home in Wrexham in 2017.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said liaison arrangements "significantly contributed to the sequence of events".

North Wales Police said it was determined to learn from the incident.

The IOPC said: "There was no documented process, clear audit or specific guidance for those dealing with incidents involving Jordan Davidson and the decision to engage with the CRC [Community Rehabilitation Company] was left to the discretion and experience of individual officers, with varying results."

It added there had been eight incidents in which Davidson came to the attention of the force between his release from Bridgend's Parc Prison in December 2016 and Mr Churton's murder three months later.

They included an arrest for theft, an arrest on suspicion of robbery and possessing a knife, an arrest for breach of the peace and a report from a member of the public of an unknown male inside her vehicle, where Davidson was later identified as a suspect.

The IOPC said officers responding to the incidents liaised with the probation service "to varying degrees", adding that some officers took "proactive steps despite the lack of protocol".

But it said the force had not breached procedures in the way it communicated with the National Probation Service (NPS) and the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) as, at the time of his release, Davidson was not classed as high-risk as he had not been convicted of any violent or sexual offences.

Davidson had a long list of previous convictions and was out on licence and living near Mr Churton when he killed him.

In December 2017, the 27-year-old was jailed for a minimum of 23 years at Mold Crown Court after admitting murder. His sentence was later increased to 30 years.

He also admitted two burglaries, robbery, attempted robbery, attempted grievous bodily harm and actual bodily harm on police officers - most were committed in the days around the murder.

Image caption Mr Churton, who lived alone, was found dead in his living room by a friend

Deputy Chief Constable Richard Debicki said he was "sorry if there was anything more that we could have done at all as an organisation which might have prevented this awful event".

He added: "We have fully engaged with the IOPC throughout their investigations and have been absolutely determined to learn from this tragic incident.

"Having done so, I accept in full the IOPC recommendations."

Responding to the IOPC's findings, Ian Lucas, former MP for Wrexham, called for an independent judicial inquiry into the case in which he said there had been "gross failings in the police and probation services".

He added: "Important questions remain unanswered and I will continue to push for those answers."

The NPS has been asked to comment and the CRB will be defunct from 2 December and its work taken over by the NPS.

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