Beds, Herts & Bucks

Amelia Arnold murder: Stevenage agencies failed to talk to each other

Jack Wall and Amelia Arnold Image copyright Contributed
Image caption Jack Wall killed Amelia Arnold at their home in Stevenage on 8 November 2012

Police, local authorities and the NHS have been criticised for a lack of communication following the death of a "vulnerable" 19-year-old woman who was murdered by her boyfriend.

Amelia Arnold was killed by Jack Wall in front of their baby daughter at their Stevenage home in November 2012.

A Domestic Homicide Review said agencies involved in her care were aware of domestic violence issues.

Some of the agencies said they had already acted on recommendations.

Wall, who hit Ms Arnold on the head with a "dumbbell-like" object before strangling her, was jailed for life in 2013.

The review commissioned by SoSafe, the Stevenage Community Safety Partnership, criticised Stevenage Borough Council, Hertfordshire County Council social services, Hertfordshire Police, NHS mental health services and the Women's Centre refuge in Stevenage, which were all aware of domestic abuse issues.

The report described Ms Arnold as "vulnerable because she had problems including potential homelessness, teenage pregnancy, being a new young mum, physical and mental health and what she described as lack of family support".

It concluded "there is little evidence of inter-agency working" and at least one agency should have seen the need to sit down with others.

Richard Roberts, cabinet member for Hertfordshire's Children's Services, said: "There have been significant improvements in multi-agency working and we will continue to build on this to ensure information is shared and acted upon."

Richard Henry, Stevenage Borough Council's executive member for safer communities, said: "In line with the recommendation made in the (report), we have now reviewed and improved our staff training and awareness programmes relating to domestic abuse."

A statement from Hertfordshire Police said: "We have worked to meet the recommendations highlighted.

"There is always scope for improvement, particularly as we believe domestic abuse is under-reported and we need to encourage more victims to come forward."

The refuge and NHS mental health services have not responded to the BBC.

SoSafe said it would monitor the implementation of any improvements.

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