Police delayed seeing ITV journalist found dead after reporting abuse

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A report has revealed that Greater Manchester Police delayed seeing a television journalist who reported domestic abuse by nine days, due to “resourcing issues”.

Teresa McMahon, who worked for Granada Reports, was found dead less than two weeks later at her home.

The force, according to a watchdog report, also failed to inform Teresa of her former partner’s violent history, when she requested it under Clare’s Law, and lost a vital bodycam footage.

Last week, Manchester Evening News revealed a complaint about the way GMP handled its investigation after the death of Teresa is to be reinvestigated. The move comes after the family complained to a police watchdog about the force’s initial inquiry when the 43-year-old was found hanged at her flat in Salford.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said the investigation conducted by GMP into the complaints made “was not adequate, reasonable or proportionate” and that “lines of enquiry had not been pursued”. It has directed the force “to reinvestigate the complaints in line with procedures outlined in their domestic abuse policy.” An inquest scheduled for February 10 will now be postponed.

The full report by the IOPC says Teresa, who worked as a producer and news editor for Granada Reports, had reported domestic abuse in the weeks before she died. She had ended the relationship but had accused her former partner of pressurising her into resuming it. She asked GMP for details of his history of violence but they refused to give it, saying as she was no longer in a relationship she had no right to see it. A police bodycam recording of an interview with Teresa. discussing her concerns, 12 days before she died was lost by the force.

The IOPC review of the way GMP handled the family’s complaint says: “In regards to the decision to disclose information to Teresa under Clare’s Law… guidance stipulates that the scheme applies to former partners, as well as current partners. Accordingly, this could be revisited and considered as part of the reinvestigation.

“It is of note that Teresa informed officers that she had ended the relationship, however, she informed the police that he was pushing to reconcile the relationship. Was consideration given by the officers involved in this matter of the possibility that Teresa may have returned to the relationship and were the risks surrounding this considered? Or were the risks considered if (he) could have been a risk to Teresa despite them having ended the relationship.

“Teresa is described by the investigating officer as not engaging with officers, or hesitant to provide further details of the situation, and she informed officers that she did not wish to proceed with any further police action. The reinvestigation could consider what Teresa’s motive would be behind this, was she afraid of repercussions, or experiencing coercion and control within her relationship.”

Teresa reported domestic abuse at 4.23am on July 12th 2021 via an email to police. The incident log states that Teresa’s crime report was initially assessed as being suitable to be dealt with via the Domestic Abuse appointment process, rather than the other option of the police to attend as a matter of urgency.

As a result, Teresa was asked to attend an appointment at Swinton Police Station on July 13. But the appointment was cancelled due to “resourcing issues ahead of the appointment which were identified along with the need to reschedule.”

The IOPC report says: “It is of note that Teresa was visited at her home address on 21 July 2021. This is a delay of nine days, and in my view, this would be a significant time to have passed in regard to an investigation of this nature.

“The police investigator does not appear to have addressed and provided a meaningful rationale for this delay, and demonstrated if any consideration was made in regard to how this could have impacted Teresa and how she would feel about pursuing this matter.”

The reports says: “It is of note that Teresa’s former partner had a history of offending on PNC, (Police National Computer) and this intelligence was available to officers. Therefore, what considerations of risk were made in regard Teresa. The reinvestigation could consider if it was an appropriate decision to dismiss this information when all of the information is put into context?”

It adds that the reinvestigation should “provide a meaningful rationale” as to why bodycam footage of Teresa being interviewed by an officer on July 21 at her home was not retained. GMP disclosed it has been lost or not retained due to a “system fault”.

Deputy Mayor for Greater Manchester, Baroness Hughes, says in a letter to Teresa’s aunt, Lorna McMahon: “I will raise my concerns with the Chief Constable regarding the capture and retention of body-worn video to seek some answers and assurances that system errors are not regular occurrences within the use of the technology and for lessons to be learned where possible.”

The IOPC report concludes: “Due to the nature and profile of this investigation, the force may wish to consider whether the reinvestigation should be subject to special procedures.”

In August last year, a second pre-inquest review heard that Teresa was “a vulnerable individual locked in a coercive and controlling relationship,” described as “toxic”.

In a previous pre-inquest review at Bolton Coroner’s Court, senior coroner for Manchester West, Timothy Brennand, told how the 43-year-old producer and news editor was found dead at her flat in Little Hulton, Salford, on August 3, 2021. It was established that reports of concerns over abuse had been made to police before her death – by friends, colleagues and family members.

The court heard how an investigation by Greater Manchester Police had ruled out any criminal activity but attending in court, Teresa’s aunt Lorna McMahon stated she was unhappy with the investigations. During the first pre-inquest review in February last year, Lorna told Mr Brennand that Teresa had never shown any expression of ‘self-harm or suicidal intent’ and was not under the treatment of mental health services. However, she raised ‘safeguarding concerns’ around her niece alongside reports of concerns over abuse.

Lorna said at the hearing: “Teresa said she was going to work in London with ITV for three months to get away from this [abuse].”

A GMP spokesperson said: “GMP is re-investigating the complaint and note an Inquest into the death of Teresa McMahon is due to be heard, so we are unable to comment further at this stage.” They added: “Under our regulations we are unable to comment while PSB (GMP’s Professional Standards Branch) or the IOPC are investigating.”

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