Nicola Bulley: Lancashire Police investigated over death of another missing mother

Kiena Dawes’ family say she was ‘let down’ by Lancashire Police before her death, as officer investigated for gross misconduct

Matt Mathers
Wednesday 22 February 2023 10:25 GMT
<p>Kiena Dawes  had repeatedly sought the help of police in the weeks leading up her death, her family says </p>

Kiena Dawes had repeatedly sought the help of police in the weeks leading up her death, her family says

A police officer from the force criticised over the Nicola Bulley search is being investigated for gross misconduct after the death of a young mother who was also reported missing.

Kiena Dawes, 23, was hit by a train near Garstang, Lancashire last July just hours after she was reported missing.

Following her death, her family claimed she was ‘let down’ by Lancashire Police.

Ms Dawes’ family released photos of her injuries after an alleged assault

The police watchdog said an officer from the force now faces investigation because a man was released on bail after being arrested on suspicion of assaulting Ms Dawes 11 days before she died.

Lancashire Constabulary referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and an investigation launched in August last year remains ongoing.

An IOPC spokesperson said: "Our investigation into prior contact between Lancashire Constabulary and Kiena Dawes, before her death on 22 July, 2022 continues.

"We have been looking at the police response when Ms Dawes was reported missing, as well as reports that she had been the victim of assaults.

A 28-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident but later released on bail

"Having obtained and reviewed a number of statements from witnesses, to understand the nature of the contact between officers and Miss Dawes, an officer has been served notice for gross misconduct in relation to their actions leading up to a man being released on bail earlier in July last year.

"This does not necessarily mean that misconduct proceedings will follow. Our thoughts remain with Miss Dawes’ loved ones and all those affected by her death."

Ms Dawes’ family claimed she had been living in fear and had repeatedly sought the help of police in the weeks leading up her death.

Her older brother Kynan said before her death the force fitted her home with a panic alarm and gave her a special neckless that had a button she could press. But he said this hadn’t stop her attacker coming to her home on July 11, leaving her ‘completely traumatised’.

Lancashire Police also faces criticism of how it handled the case of missing Nicola Bulley

And he said the police should have done more to help her as she attempted to bring her alleged attacker to court.

“The police have let my sister down, they have,” he said at the time. “She wanted to go through the legal route to get justice. She didn’t want to live a life the way she was living, so she ended it.

“ The head of CID is going to go through everything with a toothpick.

“They’re going to find out why nothing happened, and why it got to the point where she felt she wasn’t being looked after by the service, which she should be, and decided to take her life.”

Lancashire Police had visited Ms Bulley’s home in the weeks before she vanished

It comes as Lancashire Police faces criticism over its handling of the search for Ms Bulley, who was found dead in the river in St Michael’s on Wyre more than three weeks after she was reported missing.

Police investigating the case revealed that officers and healthcare professionals had been called out to Ms Bulley’s home on 10 January following concerns for her welfare.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “First and foremost our thoughts are with Kiena Dawes‘ loved ones at this difficult time.

“We referred ourselves to the IOPC in July 2022 in relation to contact we had with Kiena before her death.

“The IOPC are currently conducting an independent investigation and as this remains ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment any further at this time.”

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