Sarah Gosling murder: Missed chances but death not 'preventable'

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Ian HopeImage source, Northumbria Police
Image caption,
Hope had a history of domestic violence

A woman stabbed to death by her violent boyfriend could have been given more help, a report has concluded.

Sarah Gosling, 41, was stabbed to death by Ian Hope, 53, in 2012 after he subjected her to sustained violence.

A Domestic Homicide Review (DHR) found that chances to help her had been missed.

However, it concluded her death could not have been prevented because she would not leave Hope or help prosecute him. He is serving life for murder.

Ms Gosling, who had an alcohol problem, met Hope over the internet in 2009 and they moved in together.

Over the next year and a half, police were called to their Newcastle home 10 times.

However, Hope was only prosecuted once for assault because his partner was reluctant to help police, the DHR report said.

Hope was found guilty of murder and ordered to serve a minimum of 17 years.

The report praised the support Ms Gosling received from several agencies including Women's Aid and Victim Support.

Image source, Northumbria Police
Image caption,
Sarah Gosling died from a single stab wound to the chest

But it also concluded she should have been put in touch with one of the council-supported, Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVA), to help her go through a prosecution.

The report recommended that Newcastle City Council should have more IDVAs and that those they had were too overworked.

It also said Northumbria Police needed to have stricter bail conditions for assault suspects.

Investigators also highlighted the fact that many of Ms Gosling's colleagues, at a supermarket in Gosforth, knew she was being abused but did not share the information.

But the report concluded: "Despite the level of abuse she (Ms Gosling) never felt able to leave him (Hope).

"As she stated to friends, she loved him and believed that he would stop his behaviour.

"While she was being supported, she was unable to leave the relationship, making the death difficult to prevent."

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