Murder could not have been prevented

Nothing agencies could have done would have prevented the murder of a Ponteland mum at the hands of her partner, a review has found.

Jacqueline Grant, 48, was strangled by Stephen Streener at his rented home in Choppington in November 2011, around four months after the pair began a relationship.

Streener was found guilty of her murder in August 2012 and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Now the Safer Northumberland Partnership has published the findings of an independent domestic homicide review.

And it has found that despite Streener having had contact with mental and physical health services in the period leading up to the murder, and previous convictions for violence, none of the agencies involved could have been expected to identify that Mrs Grant was at risk.

It states: “The review has seen no evidence to indicate there was anything the agencies involved could have done (or done differently) which could reasonably have been expected to prevent this tragic incident from occurring.”

The report was commissioned in line with Home Office guidance to establish whether lessons could be learnt.

Streener’s last conviction for violence was in 1984, and there was no history of domestic violence, but in 2011 an ex-partner requested a police presence while she collected belongings from his home, saying he had made threats to harm her. When police attended she made no further allegations and the review panel was satisfied that the routine response was “appropriate and proportionate”.

Streener had been treated for long-term physical and mental health conditions in the year prior to the murder, and had ‘significant numbers’ of contacts with health services leading up to a week before. But while there were concerns about his mental health, there was no sign of aggression.

Recommendations include consideration of Safeguarding Adults’ procedures where cases do not qualify for multi-agency risk assessments, the impact of Streener’s health condition on family relationships, and the risk of aggression in patients prescribed certain medication, particularly after changes in type or dosage.

Partnership Chairman Dave Ledger said: “This was a distressing case and our sincere condolences continue to go to the family involved. We always look to learn from every incident and there are a number of recommendations which have been taken forward.”