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Met 'let down' victim killed by her family

  • Woman approached police four times before murder
  • Two officers to face disciplinary proceedings

Karen McVeigh
Thursday April 3 2008
The Guardian

Two Metropolitan Police officers are to face disciplinary proceedings over their treatment of a young woman who was tortured and murdered in a so-called "honour killing" case after the police watchdog concluded yesterday she had been "let down" by them.

The father and uncle of Banaz Mahmod, 20, were jailed last year for her murder after she fell in love with a man they disapproved of. She approached police for help four times, telling them of threats to her life, and even providing names of those she thought were involved in a plot to kill her. On New Year's Eve 2005, in a "distressed state" after fleeing an attempt on her life, she told PC Angela Cornes that her father had tried to murder her, but the officer dismissed her as manipulative and melodramatic.

Mahmod vanished from her home in Mitcham, south London, in January 2006 and her body was found three months later, crammed into a suitcase and buried in a pit. The case highlighted the Met's failures to implement a 2003 strategy which would have included training frontline officers to recognise the risks of honour-based violence.

Yesterday the Independent Police Complaints Commission found the police response to the young Kurdish woman was "at best mixed" and criticised "delays in investigations, poor supervision, a lack of understanding and insensitivity" in the handling of her case.

Two unnamed officers, believed to be PC Cornes and her supervising inspector, will now face a disciplinary panel to explain what the IPCC said were the "worst failings" - their actions during the incident on December 31 2005. The Met said the officers will continue in their duties pending the hearing.

The IPCC also raised concerns over the handling of complaints of "historic physical and sexual abuse" made by Mahmod to the Met on September 14 2005. It found West Midland's initial investigation to be "flawed, not done in a timely fashion and poorly supervised" and recommended that six detectives - four from the Metropolitan Police and two from West Midlands Police - should receive written warnings , while another Met officer should receive advice.

Last night support groups for victims of honour violence said they were "very disappointed" and called for the officers to face criminal proceedings.

Scotland Yard said in a statement: "Banaz contacted the Metropolitan Police on a number of occasions and action was taken in all of those cases, but whether those actions were appropriate was a matter for the IPCC to review.

Met Commander Shaun Sawyer said: "Clearly there have been lessons for us to learn as a result of this case which have already been incorporated in our standard operating procedures."

Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited 2008




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