Transport officer's lie delayed search for girl
Police officers involved in a search for a 17-year-old girl have been criticised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for not looking at a railway line until six days after she was reported missing.
Natasha Coombs's body was found on 10 August 2007 near Manningtree station in Essex, a fortnight after she went missing. She had been hit by a train. Six weeks later, her mother, Joanne, 41, took her life at the same spot.
Natasha's father, Gary Coombs, made 11 complaints to the IPCC about the conduct of detectives from Essex Police and the British Transport Police. He said he believed his wife committed suicide because of the stress. The IPCC upholds four of his complaints in a report issued today.
A British Transport Police (BTP) communications officer stalled the inquiry, the IPCC said, when he "lied" to Essex Police that on-board train sensors would have alerted staff if anyone had been hit. The officer has since resigned after being told he faced allegations of gross misconduct.
BTP should have also begun searching the railway line earlier; Essex Police failed to examine train CCTV footage which showed Natasha walking near the tracks; and "inappropriate, confidential and inaccurate information" was passed to the media.
"The communications officer admitted he lied to an Essex police officer ... and that he actually had no knowledge of train sensors," the report said.
"The police did miss opportunities for a timely and thorough search for Natasha Coombs."
BTP said it had apologised to Mr Coombs. Essex Police said it was sorry for the delay in finding Natasha and accepted mistakes had been made.
- 1 Bill Clinton portrait features Monica Lewinsky reference, artist admits
- 2 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 3 Pornhub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Average penis size revealed: Scientists attempt to find what is 'normal' to reassure concerned men
Bill Clinton portrait features Monica Lewinsky reference, artist admits
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Kanye West gives guest lecture at Oxford University: 'If I, Kanye West, can remove my ego, I think there's hope for everyone'
'This is what Islam tells us to do': A rare glimpse inside a Saudi Arabian prison – where Isis terrorists are showered with perks and privileges
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
£18000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a customer focu...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Development Executiv...
£45000 - £53000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Learning & Develo...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's largest regional newspaper pub...