Police probed over woman's murder

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The Independent Online

A police force is being investigated for its handling of the murder of a woman at the hands of her jealous ex-partner.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will examine the police response to complaints from Katie Summers in the days before she was killed by Brian Taylor.



Taylor, 29, stabbed the 24-year-old to death in a frenzied attack at her home while their two children were in the house.



The IPCC said officers from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) visited the victim's home four times in the days preceding her death.



A spokesman said there was a long history of domestic violence between the couple and investigators would be scouring police records to see what information was held and if it influenced their response.



Taylor, of Chorley Old Road, Bolton, was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 17 years and six months after he pleaded guilty to the killing.



He was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court last month.



The pair had been involved in a violent and volatile on-off relationship for eight years and were separated at the time of her death.



The court heard that Taylor was consumed with jealousy when he discovered Miss Summers had been out to a nightclub and vowed to friends that he would kill her.



He told one friend he was going to break into his ex-lover's home and stab her but the friend thought he was joking and ignored the remarks.



Miss Summers, also known as Katie Boardman, was fatally attacked in the lounge of her house in Masefield Avenue, Farnworth, near Bolton, on 9 October last year.



Taylor did not harm his three-year-old son and two-year-old daughter and drove them to his mother's house where he confessed to the killing.



An IPCC spokesman said: "We will investigate how Greater Manchester Police dealt with complaints from a Farnworth woman prior to her murder.



"There had been a history of domestic violence in Miss Summers' relationship with Taylor and officers had attended her house on four occasions in the days leading up to her murder.



"On the final occasion Taylor was arrested as he was wanted for an offence of criminal damage - an offence which was not in connection with any incident involving Ms Summers.



"He was bailed pending further enquiries."



Ms Naseem Malik, IPCC Commissioner for the North West, said the watchdog would assess whether police took "appropriate action" when contacted by Miss Summers.



He said: "Our focus initially will be on several incidents Greater Manchester Police dealt with after Ms Summers moved back into the area in the summer of 2007.



"However, we are conscious that there appears to have been a long history of domestic violence and we will want to know what information was on police computer systems about this and whether it influenced the police response."



IPCC chairman Nick Hardwick told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "We have a systemic cluster of domestic violence cases coming to us at the moment and there are a number of common themes with what has gone wrong.



"I think, generally, people accept that the police response to these sorts of murders has improved but one death, of course, is one too many.



"What we are trying to do is to use the experience of cases like Katie's to make sure the police learn from them and improve their performance."



The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced last week that it would apologise to the family of a domestic violence victim who was murdered by her husband.



Malik Mannan, 36, stabbed to death wife Sabina Akhtar, 26, five days after his bail conditions were removed by police.



Mannan was jailed for life, to serve a minimum of 17 years, at Manchester Crown Court on Friday.



The CPS publicly admitted they made a wrong decision by not charging Mannan at an earlier date.



The IPCC launched an inquiry into Greater Manchester Police's handling of the case but shelved it when the CPS offered an apology to Mrs Akhtar's family.