Letter: Council help and police support for a murder victim

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The Independent Online
Sir: You published on your front page (10 March) a letter sent by Edna Phillips to her MP, Ann Clwyd, six weeks before she was murdered by two teenage girls. In response to that letter and other comment in your newspaper, it is essential to describe the police involvement in this case.

On the evening of 21 March 1992, a report was received by the police from a member of the public who claimed to hear banging and noises coming from the vicinity of the home of Miss Phillips. A police constable responded to that call and searched the area and the front and rear of Miss Phillips's house. There was no evidence of any persons being present or any forcible entry having been made to the home.

Later that evening, a second call was received, reporting a burglary at Miss Phillips's house. Some four minutes later, the same police officer returned to the house and discovered that entry had been gained by breaking a rear window. Together with another officer, he took details and subsequently arranged for visits from a member of the victim support scheme and a scene-of-crime officer.

The scene-of-crime officer spent 25 minutes searching for fingerprints or other evidence, but none was found. Victim support personnel assisted in making arrangements for door locks and the installation of a burglar alarm. The new locks and the alarm were fitted 14 days after the burglary, some two months prior to Ann Clwyd communicating with the superintendant at Merthyr Tydfil about the letter she had received from Miss Phillips.

In the weeks following the burglary, the police officer who took the original report of the crime from Miss Phillips revisited her several times to reassure her, but she did not tell him about any harassment she was receiving. Maria Rossi and Christina Molloy were interviewed as part of the investigation into the burglary, but there was no evidence at that stage to establish their responsibility for the burglary, although they admitted it following their arrest for the murder of Miss Phillips. House-to-house inquiries following the murder also brought to light a catalogue of despicable incidents of harassment of the old lady.

I hope that you will now focus your attention on how society, and the systems within it, enabled these two girls to develop the contemptible personalities that culminated in such an outrageous, vicious and brutal killing of an old and defenceless person. It might be considered significant that at the time of the murder, Christina Molloy was on four sets of bail, one of which was imposed by the courts with conditions, and Maria Rossi was also on conditional bail.

I can assure you of my determination to effectively police every area within the South Wales Constabularly, although we need extra manpower to ensure a visible presence on foot as well as the ability to quickly respond to urgent incidents in vehicles. There is also a desperate need for the rejuvenation of the old valley community spirit, so that people will work with the police and the local authorities to eradicate the problems they are encountering.

Yours faithfully,


Chief Constable

South Wales Constabulary

Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan

(Photograph omitted)