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January 31st 2020

Inquests

Jury inquest set to start for murdered hairdresser

Vicky Richardson

Vicky Richardson

Manager, Civil Liberties

Jury inquest set to start for murdered hairdresser

A jury inquest into the death of murdered hairdresser, Katrina O’Hara, will begin on Monday 3 February in Bournemouth.

A jury inquest into the death of murdered hairdresser, Katrina O’Hara, will begin on Monday 3 February in Bournemouth.

  • Date: Monday 3rd February 2020
  • Time: 10am*
  • Location: Bournemouth Town Hall, Bourne Ave, Bournemouth BH2 6EB

Katrina, 44, was murdered by Stuart Thomas on 7 January 2016 at her hair salon in Blandford Forum, Dorset. Thomas was later convicted of her murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 26 years in August 2016.

The inquest will examine whether Katrina’s right to life was breached under Article 2 of European Convention of Human Rights. Article 2 inquests are enhanced inquests held in cases where state bodies have failed to protect the deceased against a threat or risk.

The coroner, Mr Brendan Allen, will hear from a number of witnesses including Katrina’s 20-year-old daughter Morgan O’Hara, plus police officers from Devon and Cornwall Police who were in contact with Katrina in the run up to her death.

The family are expected to attend the opening day but will not be giving any media interviews. They have issued a statement via their solicitors, Hudgell Solicitors: “It’s been four long years since our Mum was so cruelly and violently taken from us. The fact that our Mum’s death could have been prevented only makes our grief even harder to bear.

“The inquest process is going to be another painful but necessary step to ensure that the full circumstances of our Mum’s death, including the role of the police, are examined independently by a jury. It won’t give us our Mum back, but it may give us some closure.

“As we have said previously, our Mum’s case is not unique and our only hope is that her death will serve as a wake-up call to the government and police forces across the country to not brush domestic violence issues under the carpet. As a family we would like to urge anyone going through domestic abuse to speak out and seek help.”

Victoria Richardson and Alexandra Eldon of Hudgell Solicitors are acting on behalf of the family. Victoria Richardson says: “Katrina’s young family have been through unimaginable pain yet continue to act with quiet dignity and composure. Our aim is to ensure they get the answers they seek about the circumstances leading up to their Mum’s untimely and avoidable death.”

The inquest is listed for four weeks. The family will issue a statement post-inquest, but are unlikely to do any media interviews. However, media should contact Kerry Jack (details below) with bids.

Hudgell Solicitors have instructed Chris Williams of Garden Court Chambers.

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