Devon police apologise for 'failings' over murderer

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Donald Pemberton picture shown to jurorsImage source, Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption,
Donald Pemberton was found with two meat cleavers in Plymouth on 15 December 2014 but rehabilitation officials were not told until more than a week later

A police force has apologised after a report found it failed to share details about an ex-inmate who went on to kill.

Tanis Bhandari was murdered by Donald Pemberton - along with Ryan Williams - in Plymouth on New Year's Day 2015.

A safeguarding report said there were "fundamental failings" in sharing information between police and rehabilitation officials.

Devon and Cornwall Police apologised to the family of Mr Bhandari, 27, "for the recognised failings by the force".

Image source, Facebook
Image caption,
Tanis Bhandari was stabbed on New Year's Day in 2015

Pemberton, then aged 21, and Williams, then aged 22, were jailed for life for the murder, which happened after Mr Bhandari had left a pub in Tamerton Foliot early on New Year's Day in 2015.

Mr Bhandari was stabbed twice during the attack and died at the scene.

Pemberton, who had mental health issues, had been previously detained for two months for carrying a machete and was released on licence from a young offenders institution in October 2014.

On 15 December he was found with two meat cleavers in Plymouth, arrested by police and bailed.

However, the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC), which was responsible for supervising him after his release, was not told about the offence until 23 December.

The CRC decided Pemberton "could not be managed in the community" and a court hearing was listed for 16 January.

Image caption,
Donald Pemberton had been detained for two months for carrying a machete

The report said no assessment of Pemberton was made by the CRC, which was "largely unaware of the risks" Pemberton "may present to himself and others".

It recommended that in future police should ensure agencies like the CRC are told of arrests "without delay".

The report added sharing information about offenders should be improved between agencies and police should consider public safety when making bail decisions.

Andy Bickley, chair of the safeguarding board, said: "If there is one thing this case highlights it is the importance of agencies sharing information and working together.

"There were clearly fundamental failings in this case."

Assistant Chief Constable Jim Colwell said: "Some of the approaches in place at the time of the incident, both in force and with partner agencies, were not fit for purpose."

Changes had been made and "in particular, we have made changes aimed at ensuring information sharing between police and the Probation Service is more efficient and effective".

The CRC said there had been "significant changes" to the service since Mr Bhandari died "with the adoption of new practices and procedures, particularly around the sharing of information between police and probation".

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