Two detectives resign over bungled knifing inquiry

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The Independent Online

Two Scotland Yard detectives were "required to resign" yesterday after admitting a catalogue of errors during their investigation of a knife attack on a man who was later shot dead.

Peter Woodhams, 22, a satellite television repairman, was shot dead in front of his fiancée, Jane Bowden, and their infant son in August last year after seven months' of harassment at the hands of a group of youths who would gather near his home in the Custom House area of east London.

The murder was the culmination of a succession of clashes between Mr Woodhams and the group which began in January 1996 with a vicious assault during which the man was slashed across the face and stabbed in the neck, narrowly missing an artery and leaving him terribly scarred.

After the attack, Ms Bowden claimed she phoned the Metropolitan Police every day for five weeks but officers never took a statement from her and the incident was not fully investigated until Mr Woodhams was murdered by 17-year-old Bradley Tucker, one of the gang members.

An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) this week found there had been "serious flaws" in the initial investigation into the knife attack. The two officers – a detective sergeant and a detective constable who has since joined the Derbyshire force as a uniformed constable – were last night ordered to resign from their posts at the end of two-day disciplinary hearing.

Ms Bowden, who believes her partner would still be alive if the stabbing had been properly investigated, said last night: "I wanted them to be fired and I am pleased they have been. This is something for us to cling to but Peter hasn't got his life back. Our son Sam has still go to grow up without a father and nothing will change that."

The IPCC found that officers did not request a forensic expert to examine the scene of the stabbing, close to Mr Woodham's home, and failed to photograph the scene. They also did not investigate anonymous calls identifying suspects which were made to the Woodhams family.

A further seven officers were investigated for their part in the inquiry, leading to written warnings to three officers. There other officers were cleared.