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July 31st 2019

Civil Liberties

Misconduct charge for Sussex Police officer who warned stalking victim as family hit out at ‘sham’ disciplinary hearing

Andrew Petherbridge

Andrew Petherbridge

Legal Executive and Head of Civil Liberties

Misconduct charge for Sussex Police officer who warned stalking victim as family hit out at ‘sham’ disciplinary hearing

A Sussex Police officer has been found guilty of misconduct at a disciplinary panel today over his failure to properly investigate Shana Grice’s complaints that she was being stalked by the man who would later murder her. The charge was downgraded from gross misconduct.

A Sussex Police officer has been found guilty of misconduct at a disciplinary panel today over his failure to properly investigate Shana Grice’s complaints that she was being stalked by the man who would later murder her. The charge was downgraded from gross misconduct.

Shana was killed by her former stalker boyfriend in August 2016, despite repeatedly reporting her concerns to Sussex Police.

PC Trevor Godfrey concluded that Shana’s complaints were dishonest and issued Shana with a penalty notice for time wasting. Five months later she was dead. PC Godfrey has retired.

Shana’s parents, Sharon Grice and Richard Green, who have sat through Godfrey’s two-day hearing, issued the following statement through their solicitors, Hudgell Solicitors: “We can barely believe what we have witnessed these past two days. The panel allowed a wholesale character assassination of our daughter, who is obviously not here to defend herself.

“Godfrey’s testimony only proved his discriminatory attitude, even accusing Shana of coercing Lane. We can barely believe what we have heard.

“Godfrey stereotyped Shana from the outset, she didn’t stand a chance. At Lane’s criminal trial, Mr Justice Green recognised this, yet the panel have chosen to it.

“To add insult to injury, we have been subjected to aggressive and bullying tactics from Godfrey’s representatives, yet we were the ones accused of trying to intimate him.

“The misconduct charge is a joke and the hearing a sham. Had Godfrey not retired, he would be allowed to carry on serving as a police officer. What message does this give to other officers? Even more importantly, what message does it send to victims? We are disgusted and feel thoroughly let down by the process. There is no justice.”

Responding to the news, the family’s lawyer Andy Petherbridge of Hudgell Solicitors said: “Shana’s parents have been through enough and I am appalled by today’s decision. There were so many warning signs that were ignored by Sussex Police and our police officers must be held to a higher standard.”

In April, another officer, PC Mills, who has now resigned, was found guilty of gross misconduct for failing to adequately investigate a complaint made by Shana after Lane let himself into her house with a stolen key and entered her bedroom. Had PC Mills not resigned, he would have been dismissed.

Michael Lane was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing Shana in August 2016. At his trial, the judge, Mr Justice Green, was scathing of Sussex Police’s treatment of Ms Grice.

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