Linah Keza killed by ex boyfriend after seeking help from police: Refuge responds

Linah KezaToday David Gikawa, 39, was found guilty of murdering his ex girlfriend Linah Keza, 29, in July last year.  Linah was stabbed to death while she was with her three year old daughter.

Linah had previously made a witness statement stating that she was “petrified” of Gikawa and told police that he carried a sharpened kitchen knife with him.

 

This verdict comes exactly one year on from Refuge launching a campaign calling for a public inquiry into the response of the police and other state agencies to women and children experiencing domestic violence. Please sign our petition now.

Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of national domestic violence charity Refuge, says:

 

“Linah Keza was brutally robbed of life by her ex-boyfriend, David Gikawa, after enduring a campaign of abuse at his hands.  My thoughts go out to her family and friends at this difficult time.

Two women suffer Linah’s fate every single week in England and Wales. It is unacceptable that women and children continue to die in such huge numbers in this country as a result of domestic violence.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating the Metropolitan Police’s response to Linah. It has been reported that she was in contact with the police on three separate occasions in the days leading up to her death. We await the IPCC’s decision as to whether the force made any failings in its response to this vulnerable young woman.

The Metropolitan Police Service has been criticised in the past on a number of occasions for failing to protect victims of domestic violence.  In 2010, the IPCC found disturbing evidence of “collective and organisational failings” in the force’s response to Arsema Dawit, who was killed by her ex-boyfriend after she reported to police officers that he had assaulted her and made threats against her life. And just last year, the IPCC found “clear failures” in the way Metropolitan Police officers responded to Lucinda Port, who was stabbed to death days after police became aware that her partner had breached his bail conditions.

These cases are far from isolated examples of failure.  Earlier this year, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found alarming evidence of poor and sometimes dangerous policing in forces across the country, concluding that weaknesses in policy and practice are putting women and children at risk.

Of course, it is not only police officers who have a duty to protect life. The truth is that women and children are let down by many different agencies: social services, health services, probation, the courts and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Earlier this year, for example, an inquest into the death of Cassandra Hasanovic found that two separate police forces and the CPS all failed to take appropriate steps to safeguard her life.

It is a disgrace that the State is failing to protect women and children up and down the country. That’s why Refuge is calling on the Government to open a public inquiry into the response of the police and other state agencies to victims of domestic violence.  How many more women and children must die before we see real change?  How many reports must be published before victims of domestic violence are given the protection they deserve?

Please add your voice to our campaign and sign our petition calling for a public inquiry.”