10 officers probed over Pilkington abuse inquiry

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The Independent Online

Ten police officers are under investigation for the way they handled the case of a mother and her disabled daughter who were found dead in a burnt-out car after years of abuse from youths, a watchdog said today.

Police were contacted 33 times in 10 years about yobs bullying Fiona Pilkington and her 18-year-old daughter, Francecca Hardwick, in the street where they lived in Barwell, Leicestershire.



An inquest last September found that, despite repeated pleas for help, 38-year-old Ms Pilkington received only eight visits from police officers.



She was found dead alongside her daughter in her burnt-out car, which was parked in a lay-by on the A47 in nearby Earl Shilton, in October 2007.



Following the inquest, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said it would look into the way Leicestershire Constabulary dealt with the family's complaints in the years before their deaths.



Today, the IPCC said police and council officials had so far "co-operated fully" with its investigation.



The statement added: "We have now served advisory notices on a total of 10 Leicestershire Police officers and this situation is being kept under review.



"Such notices are not judgmental in any way, but are required under police misconduct regulations, and served on officers to advise that their conduct is under investigation."



It added: "This complex inquiry is going back over police contact with Fiona Pilkington, her daughter and neighbours over a period of several years.



"We are progressing this rigorous investigation as swiftly as possible and will make our findings public in due course."







A jury at the inquest into the deaths ruled police officers and council officials failed to properly share information.

The police also failed to offer Fiona Pilkington and her daughter sufficient protection. These failings contributed to their deaths, the jury ruled.



Ms Pilkington, her daughter and her severely dyslexic son Anthony, 19, suffered years of torment from a gang of up to 16 yobs, some as young as ten.



Her family's ordeal included stones, eggs and flour being thrown at their home, while the mob once shouted at Francecca, who had the mental age of a four-year-old, to lift up her night-dress.



On another occasion, Anthony was marched to a shed at knifepoint and locked in by the gang.



Immediately following the inquest Chris Eyre, Temporary Chief Constable of the force, offered his "unreserved apologies" to Ms Pilkington's family.