Breaking LONDON Southwark

An officer has been given a final written improvement notice and another a written improvement notice for their failings in dealing with a teenage girl who later died

Screenshot 2020 09 05 at 05.00.08

An officer has been given a final written improvement notice and another a written improvement notice for their failings in dealing with a teenage girl who later died.

PC Kerry Lynham and PC Sophie Dennis, based at South East command unit, attended a gross incompetence hearing to answer allegations that their performance was grossly incompetent following their interactions with Katrina Makunova.

Miss Makunova, aged 17, died on 12 July 2018 at flats in Brisbane Street, Southwark, after she fell on a knife in her bag during a struggle with her ex-boyfriend. Oluwaseyi Dada, then 21 of Brisbane Street, SE5 was later convicted of manslaughter and jailed.

Given previous police contact, following her death, a referral was made to the Independent Office for Police Conduct who carried out an independent investigation.

It concluded that PCs Lynham and Dennis should face a gross incompetence hearing.

On 23 June 2018 the officers attended Miss Makunova’s home address in SE23. Miss Makunova told them Dada had confronted her outside her house that evening and detailed several other interactions that led her to believe Dada might harm her.

It was alleged the officers failed to acknowledge she was reporting criminal allegations of harassment and other offences and take action.

It was claimed they didn’t complete the necessary forms or risk assessments relating to a potentially vulnerable victim of domestic abuse and PC Lynham did not complete a Merlin report in order to help safeguard Miss Makunova as a child.

It was also alleged PC Dennis provided false and misleading information on a subsequent crime report by stating the necessary paperwork had been completed, wrongly noting Miss Makunova refused to answer risk assessment questions and that she did not wish to provide a statement when in fact she had not been asked.

The officers referred Miss Makunova to a local domestic abuse support charity and suggested she take out a restraining order against Dada.

The hearing, chaired by Commander Alison Heydari, concluded on Wednesday 9 September, with gross incompetence proven against PC Dennis for all the allegations. Unsatisfactory performance was proven for PC Lynham for failing to acknowledge the allegations made by Miss Makunova and then taking action. Allegations that PC Lynham failed to complete forms, risk assessments and a Merlin report were not proven.

PC Dennis was given a final written improvement notice and PC Lynham a written improvement notice.

Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House said: “We expect all our officers to take allegations of domestic abuse extremely seriously and follow proper procedures to safeguard victims.

“We join policing to protect people like Miss Makunova and I am deeply ashamed that these officers failed her. My thoughts are with Miss Makunova’s family and friends.”

+ The IOPC investigation found failings in the action of 10 other officers, ranging in rank from PC and detective sergeant, in relation to their dealings with Miss Makunova.

These included investigating her allegations, safeguarding her as a child and supervising the work of other officers as they dealt with her matters.

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