Officers face action over honour killing

Two police forces were accused today of "letting down" an honour killing victim when she told officers she feared for her life in the months before her murder.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) criticised failings in the handling of Banaz Mahmod's complaints against her family.

She asked police for help four times, even giving officers a list of men she thought would harm her, but was not taken seriously.

Miss Mahmod, 20, disappeared from her home in Mitcham, south London, in January 2006, and her body was found buried in a suitcase in a garden in Birmingham three months later.

Following an Old Bailey trial her father and uncle were jailed last July for her "barbaric" murder.

The IPCC today released the results of its investigation into how Metropolitan Police and West Midlands Police officers dealt with her complaints before her death.

The police watchdog concluded that three matters were handled "appropriately" and with compassion, but noted delays, insensitivity and a lack of understanding in another two cases.

Two Metropolitan Police officers - a constable and an inspector - will now face an internal disciplinary panel to explain their actions over an incident on New Year's Eve 2005 when her family first tried to kill her.

On that day Miss Mahmod's father lured her to her grandmother's house and forced her to gulp down brandy.

In terror she escaped by smashing a window and fled to a cafe in Wimbledon, south-west London.

But the officer who interviewed her about what had happened, Pc Angela Cornes, dismissed her account as fantasy, the Old Bailey trial heard.

Pc Cornes was more concerned that Miss Mahmod had broken a window as she escaped and wanted to charge her with criminal damage.

No date has been fixed for the disciplinary panel and both the IPCC and Scotland Yard refused to confirm the names of the two officers involved.

The IPCC also raised concerns about the handling of complaints of historic physical and sexual abuse made by Miss Mahmod to the Metropolitan Police on September 14, 2005.

The case was passed to West Midlands Police because the alleged incidents took place there, but she was only interviewed on October 10 and did not sign her statement until January 10, 2006.

The police watchdog ruled that the Met could have done more in its dealings with Miss Mahmod, lines of inquiry were not followed and there was poor supervision.

It also found that the initial West Midlands Police investigation was "flawed, not done in a timely fashion and poorly supervised".

The IPCC recommended that four Met and three West Midlands detectives should receive written warnings over this matter.

Another Met constable should receive words of advice and a West Midlands officer should receive training over his failure to provide adequate supervision, it said.

IPCC Commissioner Nicola Williams said: "Banaz Mahmod was a young woman who lost her life in terrible circumstances.

"Her murder has been termed an 'honour killing' and there has been much debate about this subject, which I do not intend to add to.

"The IPCC's investigation focused on how two police forces dealt with allegations and whether more could have been done to assist a woman who was living in fear.

"It is clear that the police response was at best mixed. In relation to three of the incidents we investigated, we found the police force involved, the Metropolitan Police Service, had dealt with matters appropriately and sensitively.

"However, in relation to two incidents we have found that Banaz Mahmod was let down by the service she received.

"There were delays in investigations, poor supervision, a lack of understanding and insensitivity."

The IPCC also made recommendations aimed at improving policing practice, including the review of procedures relating to the investigation of sexual offences.

Scotland Yard said in a statement: "The MPS has been informed about the findings of the IPCC investigation into how it handled complaints from Banaz Mahmod prior to her murder...

"We do not think it is appropriate to comment further at this stage until all disciplinary proceedings are complete."

:: Two men are due to stand trial at the Old Bailey in July in connection with Miss Mahmod's killing.

Amir Abbas, 30, of no fixed address, is charged with conspiracy to murder and perverting the course of justice.

Dashti Babaker, 21, of Redcar Street, Camberwell, south-east London, is accused of perverting the course of justice.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk