No police officers will face sanctions in the aftermath of the slavery murder of Lyndsey Vaux although two bobbies’ performance has been described as “unsatisfactory”.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct was brought in to probe whether anything more could have been done to prevent the mum-of-one’s death at the hands of bullying lesbian partner Becky Reid at their home in Sydney Street, Platt Bridge.
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A trial heard that the 30-year-old victim was subjected to years of abuse, which included numerous physical attacks, starvation and humiliation - she was forced to rifle in bins for food - before her body “gave out” after another brutal assault on May 22 2016.
Officers had had contact with Lyndsey two months before she died in which she was quizzed over facial injuries and she was said to have told them that they were the result of an attack by anonymous girls and being hit by a car, even though it later emerged that they were caused by Reid.
The IOPC inquiry focused on whether police responding to those reports were negligent in spotting signs of abuse, coming to the victim’s aid or taking action against her attacker.
And the office has now come to the conclusion that there is insufficient evidence upon which any tribunal would find misconduct in respect to recording what Lyndsey told them as “intelligence” rather than as a crime or for conducting insufficient inquiries.
But it said that, based on the evidence, the performance of both officers was unsatisfactory.
Reid, 32, was was convicted of Lyndsey’s murder after a six-week trial and the Manchester Crown Court jury also found her guilty of causing her ex Samantha Newns grievous bodily harm with intent.
She was given a life sentence with a minimum tariff of 20 years before she is eligible for parole.
Her mother Gillian Reid, 57, was cleared of killing Lyndsey but convicted of assaulting Samantha and given a 12-month suspended jail term.
But while Lyndsey’s mum Anne later thanked those who came forward, senior investigator Bob Tonge said that if Lyndsey’s abuse had been reported sooner, she might be alive today.
An IOPC spokesperson said: “We carried out two independent investigations into the contact Greater Manchester Police had with Lyndsey Vaux prior to her death on 22 May 2016.
“Our investigators looked at three separate contacts dealt with by the police between 14 and 21 March 2016, all concerned with Lyndsey’s welfare.
“Our investigator found that there was insufficient evidence upon which a reasonable tribunal could conclude that any of the officers involved had a case to answer for misconduct.
“We completed our investigations following the conclusion of the trial in October 2017, at which Becky Reid was jailed for life for Lyndsey’s murder.
“Our thoughts remain with Lyndsey’s family and friends and we thank them for their patience and understanding while we carried out our investigations.”
The IOPC investigation heard that between March 14 and 15 2016 Lyndsey was spoken to separately by two Greater Manchester Police officers while they were out patrolling as she appeared to have injuries to her face.
Lyndsey told these officers that she had been beaten up by a group of girls unknown to her.
The officers both checked to see whether a crime had been recorded and neither could find one. Both officers recorded intelligence.
One of the officers was informed by another professional that Lyndsey had provided a different explanation to her: that she had been hit by a car.
The victim was asked about the different explanations she had provided and she stated that both incidents had taken place.
Experts have said that Lyndsey’s coming up with alternatives to the truth in explanations for her abuse by Reid is typical of those trapped in a frightening and controlling relationship.
Those investigating the murder said that the way she was treated during her time with Reid was a “classic case of modern slavery.”
The report observes that both officers underwent training in crime recording during the investigation and GMP did not consider further formal performance procedures were necessary as the officers’ decision-making would not have the benefit of the force’s recent training on National Crime
Recording Standards and the introduction of robust compliance procedures.
The spokesman said that the findings had been shared with the force and Lyndsey’s family.