Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Landlord received no warning ahead of double murder

A landlord said it received no warning from partners that a tenant and her daughter who were shot and killed had complained to police of harassment.

Christine Chambers, 38, and Shania, two, were found dead in their Greenfields Community Housing Association home in Braintree, Essex, on Monday 6 June. Another daughter escaped through the window.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission launched an investigation after it emerged Essex Police had received reports from Ms Chambers for a period spanning two years.

The most recent report came to officers on 27 May and concerned Ms Chambers complaining of being pestered and harassed.

Greenfields told Inside Housing that if a tenant of theirs has called police with an accusation of harassment or violence they are always told.

A Greenfields spokesperson said: ‘The murders are currently being investigated by the police and Greenfields will co-operate fully with their enquiries.

‘Nobody at Greenfields has received any reports of harassment or domestic abuse from the tenant or from any other agency about the tenant.

‘We were shocked and saddened to hear the news and we would like to send our deepest sympathies to family, friends and neighbours of the victims.’

The IPCC’s investigation will look at police involvement in the case.

Rachel Cerfontyne, IPCC commissioner, said: ‘At this stage, it is too early to say whether police responded appropriately to each incident and this is something that will take time to establish, but we will make our findings public as soon as we are able.’

A 50-year-old man is under armed guard in hospital where he is being treated for gunshot wounds. Police said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.

Readers' comments (12)

  • Rick Campbell

    Have I missed something here -- a tenant reports harassment to the police as a crime and then the police tell (without the tenany's permission) tell the landlord?

    Surely. if the tenant wanted the landlord to know about their personsal circumstances, they would inform the landlord themselves?

    As I said, perhaps I sm missing something here?

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  • Jim Bauld

    Information sharing protocols are in place between police and many housing associations in Scotland.

    They are covered by specific provisions in the Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004. These rules allow local authorities, HB authorities, RSLs and the police to disclose information to each other where that would be "expedient" for the purposes of that Act. These rules specifically allow what would otherwise be breaches of the rules on data protection etc.

    I assume that similar laws would exist in England?

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  • There are also protocols in place for safeguarding children if they are deemed to be at risk. Our housing organisation sits o the local safeguarding children board and would be part of information sharing of this nature. All partners would inform the complainant that they may share information if there is a child safety issue.

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  • Rick Campbell

    I can see the viewpoints in reporting 'upwards' to police and statutory authorities but fail to see why the reporting would automatically be 'downwards' when the victim had deliberately not reported to the landlord in the first place.

    The victim would hardly be unaware of the landlord's anti-social behaviour services?

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  • I have to agree with Rick, when I read this, I thought it odd that the Police would inform a HA of matters of harassment and violence everytime it is reported.

    I can understand the necessity of such communication being required, and that in some cases the Police may do it. For it to be standard proceedure in all cases seems odd.

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  • Well, very odd and we only have the landlord's word for it that the woman had not reported concerns. In my experience, the police have contact the RSL when I was violently assaulted and dropped charges due to the Snr NSO providing false information concerning myself to them. They too said they had 'fully co-operated with Police' but in actual fact had perverted the course of justice. Hundreds of incidents had already been reported by this stage with no effective remedial action taken. As for this case, it is possible that the woman confined her concerns to police and not informed the landlord as she may have believed it was beyond their jurisdiction to help if the nutcase was neither a tenant nor lived at her address. The police really should be accountable in taking these reports much more seriously, obviously. I'm glad he was unable to finish the job and hope that his miserable life is long and very painful. Poor child, surviving with the memory of this horror.

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  • According to the Daily Mail July 7

    "Essex Police admitted that Miss Chambers had complained to them numerous times about Mr Oakes over the past two years and that the force had been in repeated contact with the family...

    "Friends of Miss Chambers said she had separated from Mr Oakes recently and was in a custody dispute which was due to be heard at Chelmsford county court yesterday...

    "It was also claimed that Miss Chambers' ex boyfriend was subjected to a non-molestation order that prevented him from coming within 100 yards of her."

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  • Exactly; a non-molestation order was in place and therefore, the woman would certainly have informed her landlord. Added to this that neighbours had witnessed her being beaten in the street, the first and logical suggestion would have been reporting to police and landlord. Denial, denial, denial does not exhonerate anyone from responsibility.

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  • Under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 section 115 the Police are able to disclose information with a 'relevant authority' "where the disclosure is necessary or expedient for the purposes of any provision of the Act" (a very wide ambit). The Housing Act 2004 made registered providers 'relevant authorities'. Therefore the Police can share information with social landlords where this can help solve or prevent crime and disorder. As social landlords have so many powers to tackle behaviour of this sort then it would be relevant and lawful to share information of this sort. I think some posters here are making assumptions about what the victim knew or wanted, which none of us can do at this stage.

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  • there is a lot of talk of police and housing providers working together and sharing information, regretably though in my own case even though mappp wiltshire were aware of threats to shoot me, and the housing provider attended these mappp meetings, was i warned when this dangerous guy was threatening to shoot me as soon as he was released from prison - no. they dont care and you cant trust them.

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