Surrey

Farnham puppy farm shootings: Surrey sergeant criticised

Stacy Banner
Image caption The three detectives were criticised over the arrest of Stacy Banner, whose mother and sister both died

Misconduct claims against a Surrey Police sergeant involved in the Farnham puppy farm murders have been proven but two other detectives have been cleared.

They received misconduct notices during an IPCC probe after John Lowe killed Christine Lee and her daughter Lucy.

The three were criticised over the arrest of Ms Lee's other daughter Stacy Banner after the deaths in 2014.

Surrey Police said a hearing found the sergeant should be given management advice, but he could still appeal.

IPCC associate commissioner Tom Milsom said: "The allegations against Stacy came at an extremely difficult time in her life, following the tragic deaths of her mother and sister.

"A panel found a charge of misconduct proven against a detective sergeant who authorised her initial arrest without ensuring relevant lines of enquiry were not completed before doing so.

"The allegations regarding the other officers were not proven."

Ch Supt Helen Collins, from Surrey Police, said the complaints had been thoroughly investigated and the evidence carefully considered, but she added: "We are still in a period where the detective sergeant can choose whether or not to appeal [against] the findings and therefore will not be commenting further."

Image caption John Lowe was found guilty of murdering both women
Image copyright PA
Image caption Christine and Lucy Lee were killed at Keepers Cottage Stud

The IPCC said a constable had faced claims he did not take actions that could have prevented the need to arrest Mrs Banner, but was cleared.

In the sergeant's case, it was claimed the officer did not have sufficient evidence to suspect Mrs Banner of the offence, and failed to ensure relevant witness statements were taken - the watchdog said the first claim was not proven, but two claims relating to witness statements were.

A gross misconduct claim against Det Insp Paul Burrill heard his authorisation of Mrs Banner's continued detention and a further arrest were not necessary - but those claims were not proven.

Image caption Christine Lee's body was found inside the farm's main building

In a separate development, the IPCC said Mrs Banner also complained about a delay in informing her that her loved ones had been formally identified, and she also said her visit to see their bodies had been "inadequate and unprofessional".

The IPCC said its investigator had interviewed the senior officer and specialists and examined log books, but no-one was given misconduct notices.

Mr Milsom said: "Communications between Stacy and the family liaison specialists indicate that their relationship functioned relatively smoothly and that Stacy's concerns were not raised at the time and nor had Surrey Police picked up any intimations she was unhappy."

Image caption Lucy Lee's body was found outside the house, near the animal pens

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