Maria Stubbings case: Call for domestic violence inquiry after report finds murdered woman was 'failed' by police

 

The family of a woman murdered by a convicted killer has called for a public inquiry into the handling of domestic violence cases, following a second damning report into police failures over her death.

Maria Stubbings, 50, was killed  following mistakes by police that left her at the mercy of her violent former partner, Marc Chivers, who had served time in prison in Germany for killing another woman.

Just months after his release from a German jail, Chivers was back behind bars in Britain for assaulting Ms Stubbings, a vulnerable woman with a history of mental health issues. But before he was released, police disabled a panic alarm at Ms Stubbings’s house and her repeated calls for help were not taken sufficiently seriously.

When police first turned up at the home in Chelmsford, they were told by Chivers that she had gone on a walking holiday – and they left after passing on a business card to her killer. They found her body the following day.

The family has called on the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to open a public inquiry into the way police and other agencies respond to such cases, with two women killed every week through domestic violence. The killing was one of three domestic abuse inquiries handled by Essex Police that was passed to the police watchdog because of failings in the investigation.

“If ever there was a case to be a catalyst for change, it’s this one because of the catalogue of failings,” said Manuel Fernandez, the victim’s brother. “We want justice for Maria and for all women facing domestic violence who are failed by the state.” Celia Peachey, Maria’s daughter, said: “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.”

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) released a damning second verdict into the case after complaints about inaccuracies in the organisation’s first report. As a result, three officers have now been given “management advice” – a low level  of admonishment under the police  disciplinary code.

The second report looked in more detail at how police responded to the threat to Ms Stubbings’s son Bengi, 15 at the time of the 2008 killing, who was in the house while his mother’s body was hidden under a pile of coats in a downstairs toilet. Chivers was jailed for life the following year.

The IPCC report said that police gave Ms Stubbings most protection from her abusive former partner while he was in prison. “When he was released both she and her son were left completely vulnerable,” it said.

Essex Police said it accepted the findings of the report, and Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh offered to meet the family to apologise. He said significant changes had taken place since Ms Stubbings’s death. “We would urge anyone suffering at the hands of a violent offender to contact us immediately. Our pledge is this: we will listen to you and we will help you,” he said.

Failed by the state: Victims of abuse

Clare Wood

Miss Wood, 36, was strangled and set on fire by an ex-boyfriend despite complaints to police. The IPCC said she had been let down by “individual and systemic” failings by Greater Manchester police.

Jeanette Goodwin

Essex police was criticised by the IPCC for failing to send officers to a woman who had told them five times about her fears of a jealous ex-lover. Ms Goodwin, 47, was stabbed in her home in Southend, Essex, in 2011.

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Text messaging changes as a relationship evolves
life
News
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid
football
News
peoplePerformer had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?