A retired police officer has defended his decision to hand a teenager a fine for wasting police time just weeks before she was killed by her ex she told officers he was stalking and harassing her.
Shana Grice, 19, reported Michael Lane to police five times in six months.
But when Sussex Police PC Trevor Godfrey found out she had been in a relationship with Lane, he warned her about wasting officers’ time.
Five months later, Lane murdered her. Mr Godfrey appeared before a disciplinary hearing in Lewes, East Sussex, today to answer charges of gross misconduct.
The panel hear he did not adequately investigate allegations of harassment and stalking made by Miss Grice.
And he failed to treat Miss Grice as an abuse victim.
James Berry for Sussex Police told the hearing that because Miss Grice did not tell PC Godfrey she had been in a relationship with Lane, he considered her dishonest.
And he recommended no further action be taken against Lane.
Mr Berry said: “There was no appreciation that a young woman in a sexual relationship with a man could be vulnerable.”
Mr Godfrey defended his decision to fine her for wasting police time.
He told the panel that issuing Ms Grice with a fixed penalty notice after she complained about being harassed by ex-partner Michael Lane was the "lenient option".
Ms Grice had reported her former boyfriend to police five times in six months but was fined for wasting officers' time after it emerged she initially failed to disclose the pair had previously been in a relationship.
The case was closed before her pleas for help were properly investigated.
Mr Godfrey said it was "a bit of a bombshell" when Lane told him after being arrested in March 2016 on suspicion of a minor assault against Ms Grice that the pair had actually been in a sexual relationship for several months – and that the reason he was in an alleyway next to her home in February 2016, after previously being warned by police to stay away from her, is because he was summoned there by Ms Grice.
The hearing was told Mr Godfrey later informed Ms Grice, during a phone call lasting less than a minute-and-a-half, that her evidence of being harassed by Lane was discredited.
James Berry, presenting the case against Mr Godfrey, accused the former police officer of leaving Ms Grice with the "clear impression" that she was wasting police time and had committed a criminal offence.
Mr Godfrey replied: "Absolutely, she did waste my time. I arrested someone (Lane) as a result of her evidence on a false allegation.
"She had committed a criminal offence – I don't get what you're trying to get at here."
Asked by his own counsel Michael Aldred about the case, Mr Godfrey added: "I took the lenient view that a warning was sufficient.
"The fixed penalty notice for wasting police time – that was not my decision. His (the inspector's) decision, which I don't disagree with, was that she should not be able to get away with making false statements."
Mr Godfrey told the hearing how his only involvement with Ms Grice was when police were called in March 2016 after Lane pulled Miss Grice's hair and tried to grab her mobile phone.
No further action was taken against Lane, but Ms Grice was issued with a £90 fixed penalty notice for failing to disclose she had been in a relationship with the older man, and for "having caused wasteful employment of police by making a false report".
Miss Grice, of Portslade, near Brighton, first reported Lane for stalking and harassment in February 2016.
In March 2016, she called police after a scuffle with Lane in the street.
PC Godfrey interviewed Miss Grice and Lane. Lane told him it was a domestic argument.
PC Godfrey did not ask Miss Grice about Lane’s claim, as he should have done.
On August 25, 2016 Miss Grice was found dead at home. Her throat had been slit.
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