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Watchdog launches investigation into whether police failed to protect Shane Gilmer in year leading to his murder

A police watchdog is launching an investigation into whether officers failed to protect Shane Gilmer after he made a number of complaints about his murderer, Anthony Lawrence, stemming back to January 2017.

Shane was fatally wounded after being attacked with a crossbow in his own home in Southburn and his pregnant partner, Laura Sugden, was also seriously injured. Anthony Lawrence was found dead in North Yorkshire the following day.

IOPC Regional Director for the North East, Miranda Biddle, said: “We understand, at this time, that Mr Gilmer and Ms Sugden made a number of reports to Humberside Police regarding the alleged actions of Anthony Howarth from January 2017. Our investigation will look at a number of reports made prior to the incident on 12 January 2018, including the nature of the contact with police, how this was recorded and how the force responded. The force’s search for 55-year-old Howarth or the circumstances of his death are not part of our investigation.

“We carefully considered the referral from Humberside Police before beginning our investigation, making the decision to look at the reports by Mr Gilmer and Ms Sugden and what, if any, contact the force had with Anthony Howarth dating back to January 2017.

“We have met with Mr Gilmer’s family and with Ms Sugden, to discuss our investigation, and they will be regularly updated on its progress. I am confident that our investigation, and of course the coronial proceedings to come, will bring some clarity to the circumstances of this horrific murder and attempted murder.”

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