The family of a 23-year-old victim of violent domestic abuse found hanged in her flat are urging police to reopen their investigations after a coroner recorded an open verdict.
Becky Day was discovered in her flat in Peel Place, Hull on December 29, a month after ex-boyfriend Liam Scott’s release from prison for strangling her and breaking her nose.
Her father Philip said there were “100 questions still unanswered” about his “beautiful, fun-loving, life-giving” daughter Becky’s death and anyone who had listening to the evidence could draw their own conclusions.
Coroner Rosemary Baxter said she was not satisfied Becky had committed suicide, there was no note and no evidence she was depressed to the point of self-harming immediately before her death.
Neighbours had heard cafeworker Becky shout “get your hands off me” before a scream, and then “it went really quiet,” before Mr Scott came banging on the door, saying she had tried to kill herself.
Ms Baxter said: “Like the police inspector I will never know what Becky was thinking or experiencing at the time. The evidence before me does not fully and sufficiently disclose to me with certainty how the deceased lady came about her death.”
Mr Day said: “The verdict was the only verdict that the coroner could have given. I hope the investigation will be ongoing and that justice will be found for my daughter, because she deserves justice. We knew her and she would have not done this.”
However Det Chief Insp Matt Baldwin said they had examined CCTV, physical evidence, pathology and witnesses and she didn’t have injuries to support her struggling or being manhandled to a position where Scott could have hung her from the loft hatch, adding: “We couldn’t in any way prove that Liam Scott committed any criminal act in order to cause Becky’s death.”
Having been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, Scott was later released unconditionally.
The court heard Scott could turn violent when drunk and would drink super-strength lager “for days until he had no money left.” Becky had been classed “high risk” and referred to the Domestic Abuse Partnership after being assaulted last June and even more seriously in September when Scott strangled her leaving her gasping for breath and then kicked her in the face, breaking her nose, for which he was given a four month jail term.
In a statement Jane Bell, from DAP, said: “Rebecca stated that she was frightened of Liam and he was capable of killing her.”
Her step-sister Rebecca Coates said Becky told her there were bloodstains on the carpets and walls of the flat where he’d “made her bleed”. “She said on a morning she was going to have a termination and she was getting ready and he was kicking and hitting her.”
Police at the scene found him “aggressive” and smelling of alcohol, and had to handcuff him as he kept obstructing paramedics. He told them he had been to get beers and returned to find her hanging. But he later claimed he was asleep when it happened. Mr Baldwin said after that intitial statement, Scott had stuck to a “broadly consistent” account and that had been corroborated by the physical evidence. Forensic scientist Robert Bone used a mannequin to explore whether Becky hung herself, or there was third party involvement, and concluded his findings were “better explained” by the victim taking her own life, rather than the intervention of another party.