Chances missed to help victim of savage murder

Samantha Sykes (left), 18, and Kimberley Frank, 17.
Samantha Sykes (left), 18, and Kimberley Frank, 17.
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A review into the savage murder of a Wakefield teenager by her sister’s ex-boyfriend has found that a string of agencies missed opportunities to intervene.

As previously reported in the Yorkshire Post, Afghan asylum seeker Ahmed Otak, 21, stabbed 17-year-old Kimberley Frank 15 times last March, forcing her sister Elisa, who he been in a violent relationship with, to watch.

Ahmad Otak

Ahmad Otak

A court was told that Otak laughed and spat on Kimberley’s body before tying up Elisa with an electrical flex and luring her friend Samantha Sykes, 18, to Kimberley’s flat in Barden Road, Eastmoor.

He stabbed Miss Sykes 30 times before slitting her throat, abducting Elisa, 19, afterwards and attempting to flee to France.

Otak was jailed for life last year at Leeds Crown Court and told he must to serve a minimum of 34 years in jail.

A serious case review involving a number of agencies was launched because Kimberley had been extensively involved with social services in Wakefield.

The key aims of the review, which has been written by Professor Pat Cantrill, included assessing whether different agencies effectively communicated with each other and if proper procedures were followed in relation to concerns about sexual exploitation.

The report said Kimberley’s “history identifies her as a child who experienced a troubled adolescence” and “had a history of sexual exploitation since the age of 13”.

It said: “There is no doubt that she experienced and remained vulnerable to abuse as a result of sexual exploitation.

“However her death was not as a direct consequence of this particular vulnerability but as a result of her connection with the abusive relationship between [Otak] and her older sister.”

The review concluded: “There were missed opportunities to work with [Otak] and [Kimberley’s] older sister to address their violent relationship. No co-ordinated response to the domestic abuse was triggered by any incident or involvement of social services or police and the failure to trigger a multi-agency risk assessment conference resulted in the information known about them and [Kimberley] not being shared to inform an effective risk assessment.

“The result was that the level of risk [Otak] posed to [Kimberley] was never identified, assessed and therefore not managed.”

It said: “If there is one issue, a root cause that influenced the quality of provision for (Kimberley) more than any other it is that errors of judgment led to missed opportunities to conduct a comprehensive multi-agency assessment of her needs.”

The review makes a number of recommendations to all of the agencies involved, which include the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, West Yorkshire Police and Wakefield Council’s youth development and support service.

They include learning in areas such as protecting teenagers, identifying and reducing the risk of sexual exploitation and the provision of mental health services to young people in crisis.

A summary of the report states that changes have already been made in relation to services provided for young people and care leavers.

Responding to the review, Edwina Harrison, independent chair of Wakefield and District Safeguarding Children Board, said: “This was a deeply shocking case and we extend our sympathies and sorrow to both families for what happened.

“The lives of Kimberley Frank and Samantha Sykes were cruelly snatched away by the murderous act of one man, who then went on to kidnap his ex-partner.

“He has now been sent to jail to serve a minimum of 34 years.

“Conducting this review has given us the opportunity to look at how support for vulnerable young people could be improved as Kimberley was receiving help from a range of services.

“We found good practice and also pinpointed areas where people could work better together in the future to share information and assess risks.

“We have made recommendations for the agencies involved in this disturbing case and the board will be making sure all the learning is used to improve support services for vulnerable young people.”