Braintree: Damning report reveals police failings in mother and daughter’s murder

ESSEX Police committed a catalogue of errors prior to the murder of a mother and her two-year-old daughter, an investigation has found.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) today issued its findings from an investigation into Essex Police contact with Christine Chambers and her family leading up to her and her young daughter’s murders in June last year.

The investigation found that a catalogue of incidents over a two year period involving Ms Chambers and David Oakes were treated largely in isolation by officers and there were failings of systems within Essex Police’s response.

Ms Chambers and two year old Shania were murdered by David Oakes, Shania’s father, on June 6.

The IPCC found important information about David Oakes’ violence towards Ms Chambers was known to agencies involved in the child custody proceedings, but either not known by police or not taken sufficiently into account in their risk assessments.

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They also found there was inadequate action taken to arrest Oakes at the earliest opportunity, when reports were made of him breaching a non-molestation order.

David Oakes was convicted of their murders at Chelmsford Crown Court on 11 May 2012 and was sentenced to whole life imprisonment.

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In a statement, the family of Christine Chambers said: “We realise one evil man is responsible for taking Christine and Shania away from us, and not having them in our lives any more remains extremely difficult to bear.

“While we understand at times Christine could have been more co-operative with the police, we do feel that Essex Police could have done more to prevent the deaths.”

The IPCC has urged Essex Police to reinforce training to officers around use of domestic violence forms and in particular the need, in accordance with national policy, to ask additional questions of a victim where stalking and harassment is identified.

Assistant Chief Constable Maurice Mason said: “Essex Police accepts the findings of the IPCC report, and apologises for the failures identified there.”

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