Maria Stubbings

The family of Maria Stubbings, killed by her ex-partner in December 2008, are supporting Refuge’s campaign for a public inquiry


Manuel Fernandez, Celia Peachey, and Bengi Stubbings, family members of Maria Stubbings, holding her photograph

In 2008, Maria Stubbings was murdered by her former partner Marc Chivers, despite making repeated calls for help to Essex Police. An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has shown that Essex Police made a catalogue of shocking errors in their response to Maria. Click here to see a timeline of events.

An inquest into Maria’s death is currently underway – please see here for more information.

Maria’s family is determined to ensure that Maria did not die in vain. Something positive has to come out of her tragic death and the deaths of so many other women who have lost their lives because of domestic violence.

Together Refuge, the national domestic violence charity, and Maria’s family are calling for the Government to open a public inquiry into the response of the police and other state agencies to victims of domestic violence.

Maria’s family and Refuge are urging you to take action today. Please sign our petition now and strengthen our call for a public inquiry into domestic violence.

Maria StubbingsFind out more about Maria’s case

  • Click here to find out more about Maria Stubbings’ murder at the hands of her ex-partner and the failure of Essex Police to protect her
  • Click here to read about other domestic violence homicide cases where the police and other state agencies have been found to have failed women


Maria and Manuel

Manuel Fernandez, Maria’s brother, said:

“If ever there were a case to be a catalyst for change, it is this one. There is such a catalogue of failings. The police knew this man had killed a woman before, he’d already gone to prison for assaulting Maria yet when she called for help, the police didn’t provide it. They turned off a Panic Alarm at a crucial time when Maria needed it most and at what one point, when police officers were told to find her because of growing concerns, her door was opened by her killer and they gave him a calling card to pass on to her. What kind of protection is that?

“We’re four years on, and yet it’s clear the problems persist. They say lessons have been learned – but then we read about other cases where Essex police and other forces have failed women in Maria’s situation. That’s why we’re calling for a public inquiry. We want justice for Maria and for all women facing domestic violence who are failed by the state.”


Maria and Celia

Celia Peachey, Maria’s daughter, said:

“My mum was not a statistic – she was a person. She had a right to protection and she was denied that basic human right. I truly believe that she would still be alive today if the police had done their jobs properly.

“I know that the police can’t save every woman who’s a victim of domestic violence – but there were so many missed chances to save my mum. She was crying out for help and was led to believe it was on its way. But it never materialised and she was left isolated and in fear of her life. As for my little brother, we’re lucky he’s alive. He was in the house with our mum’s body hidden under a pile of coats in a downstairs toilet, and our mum’s killer, who was following him round in case he found her. If Bengi had found her, I truly believe he’d have been killed too. He was just fifteen years old. I find it astounding that no one seemed to even consider the need to protect him.”


Maria and BengiBengi Stubbings, Maria’s son, said:

“It’s horrific to discover the extent of the police’s failings – and hard to understand how they got it so wrong. The risk to my mum and to me was clear. I didn’t have a clue at the time how close to death I was. I don’t want other women and other children to go through an experience like that. We’re all equal – we all deserve help and protection when we’re in danger – and they knew the danger.”


Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of RefugeSandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, said:

“Two women are killed every week as a result of domestic violence.  That’s two women too many.  The list of women who have suffered the same fate as Maria is sickeningly long.  Christine and her daughter Shania Chambers, Jeanette Goodwin, Clare Wood, Sabina Akhtar, Cassandra Hasanovic – all of these women were murdered by a current or former partner in recent years.  All of these women were also failed by the police – and sadly there are countless others.

“The reality is that many state agencies are still failing to take domestic violence seriously. Over forty years since Refuge opened the world’s first safe house, women and children are still being terrorised in their own homes.  We are urging the public to sign our petition 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 to uncover the truth – to understand why women and children are still not getting the support and protection they deserve.”


The family’s solicitor, Sarah Ricca of Deighton Pierce Glynn, said:

“The family will now be pursuing the legal remedies available to them, including bringing a civil claim.  Their key concern is to ensure that other lives are saved.  Initiative after initiative has been announced by politicians and chief police officers over the years, yet mistakes continue to be made in the way the state responds to domestic violence that cost women their lives.  Maria’s family believe that only a full scale public inquiry – in effect a Stephen Lawrence inquiry for women – can get to the bottom of what’s going wrong and bring about the kind of change that is needed.”