Second domestic homicide review in a week finding missed opportunities to protect a victim of domestic violence – Refuge responds

A domestic homicide review into the murder of Natalie Esack by her estranged husband Ivan has found that Kent Police missed a number of opportunities to protect her.

This report comes less than a week after the domestic homicide review into the death of 19 year old Eystna Blunnie, which also found opportunities to protect Eystna had been missed.

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

“The domestic homicide review into the death of Natalie Esack is extremely unsettling. It finds that there were a number of missed opportunities to protect this terrified woman prior to her brutal murder at the hands of her estranged husband in 2012.

On one occasion, Natalie reported receiving threatening phone calls and text messages from her husband.  She told Kent Police that he had threatened to kill her and had previously assaulted her.  However, this was not recorded as a crime and no further investigation was undertaken.  The police were aware of a number of factors which meant that Natalie was in extreme danger – including the fact that her husband owned a shotgun.  And yet, she was never assessed at being at high risk.  This meant that another opportunity to put robust protection in place was lost.

How many more times must we read about missed opportunities and lessons learned?  Every week two more women suffer Natalie’s fate – killed at the hands of current or former partners.  And in too many of these cases, the police and other agencies failed to provide proper support to terrified, desperate women prior to their deaths.

This has to stop.  Refuge is calling for the Government to open a public inquiry into the response of the police and other state agencies to victims of domestic violence.  We need a radical shift in the way our state agencies respond to this horrific crime.  We need action – now.  Please sign our petition calling for a public inquiry.”