Sussex

Shana Grice murder: Stalker ex-boyfriend jailed for life

Shana Grice Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Shana Grice's life "became a nightmare" as Michael Lane stalked and harassed her

A stalker who murdered his former girlfriend after she rejected him has been jailed for life.

Shana Grice, 19, was found with her throat cut in the smoke-filled bedroom of her Brighton flat in August 2016.

Michael Lane, 27, had placed a tracker device on her car during a campaign of harassment, his trial heard.

Sentencing Lane, Mr Justice Green said he would serve a minimum of 25 years. The judge also criticised police over their contact with Miss Grice.

Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Michael Lane will not be eligible for parole until he is 52

Lewes Crown Court was told Miss Grice had contacted police several times about Lane's unwanted attention.

The jury heard that after making one complaint to Sussex Police about Lane, Miss Grice was issued with a fixed penalty notice for wasting police time because she did not disclose she had been in a relationship with him.

'Shana was stereotyped'

Mr Justice Green, criticising Sussex Police, said: "You jumped to conclusions.

"In other words, she was treated as the wrongdoer and having committed a criminal offence, and Michael Lane was treated as the victim.

"There was seemingly no appreciation on the part of those investigating that a young woman in a sexual relationship with a man could at one and the same time be vulnerable and at risk of serious harm," he said.

"The police jumped to conclusions and Shana was stereotyped."

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Media captionLane's account to police was rejected by the jury
Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Police found a tracking device on Miss Grice's car

He said that after penalising Miss Grice for time-wasting, police then treated all further complaints by her with "scepticism".

The judge said another consequence was that Lane felt police would not act if he continued his "obsessive stalking".

Miss Grice's mother, Sharon Grice, said Lane had been harassing, stalking and pressuring her daughter for more than a year.

In a statement following Lane's sentencing, she and Miss Grice's father Richard Green said their daughter would have still been alive if Sussex Police had acted on her complaints.

Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption A pair of Lane's trainers matched a blood-stained footprint at the scene

They said: "Shana had complained to the Sussex Police about his stalking her over five times but this was treated as being of low risk and she was given a fine for wasting police time."

They described Lane as a "dangerous and obsessive man" who had shown "arrogance and cowardice" by pleading not guilty and blaming others for his actions.

"He compounded this by relying on the wholly inadequate police assessment of risk to Shana to suggest he was no danger to her.

"We firmly believe Shana would be alive today if Sussex Police had acted to protect Shana on the many occasions she complained about Lane, rather than issue her with a fine for wasting police time."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has begun an investigation.

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