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IOPC investigates Derbyshire following serious domestic assault

Force is being investigated after domestic abuse victim is stabbed by ex-boyfriend who was already known to the police.

The IOPC has begun an independent investigation into Derbyshire Constabulary after a woman was beaten and stabbed by her ex-partner after he broke into her home.

The IOPC is now investigating the way the force handled a number of incidents of abuse involving Andrew Booth, 47, against his girlfriend Zahra Rechelle, 31. The force received an unspecified number of reports involving Rechelle and Booth from September 2018 up until the night of the stabbing attack on 2 February this year.

The IOPC has indicated that it is making police handling of domestic abuse a key area of its work.   

Rechelle was beaten and stabbed several times by Booth on that date.  She had called officers to her home in Glossop, Derbyshire after he had smashed his was through her window. After being severely beaten, Rechelle managed to escape from the house onto the street where she was then stabbed by Booth during a standoff with officers.

This investigation follows a mandatory referral by Derbyshire earlier this month as a death or serious injury matter.

Booth was jailed for 14 years in October after admitting grievous bodily harm with intent, assault by beating, escaping custody and possession of a bladed article. He also received an indefinite restraining order prohibiting him from contacting his victim.

The court heard that during their relationship Booth would “bully and degrade [Ms Rechelle] by spitting, flicking cigarettes or throwing household items at her, as well as calling her names”.

IOPC Regional Director Derrick Campbell said: “We will be considering the force’s response to incidents reported to them prior to the stabbing and whether there is any learning that can be identified.”  

He went on to say: “We have made initial contact with the woman concerned to explain our role and we will be keeping her regularly updated as our inquiries progress.”

Derbyshire Constabulary have stated they will not be commenting due to the ongoing investigation.

An IOPC spokesperson said that the investigation was at an early stage and that its scope was still being assessed.

They went on to say that: “Domestic abuse is one of the key themes the IOPC is focusing on and it is appropriate we consider the force’s handling to see whether any learning arises.”

Another IOPC report into the North Wales Police response to a domestic abuse incident in December last year found that victim Laura Stuart, who was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend in 2017, had previously reported her abuser to the police 18 times.

A Freedom of Information request by the VICE news website to all UK  police forces request has found that between 2015 and 2017, 55 women were killed by men they had previously reported to police.

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