Tragic consequences of 
police spelling mistake

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A SIMPLE spelling mistake by a police force had “profound consequences” and was a “missed opportunity” in trying to prevent the murder of a woman suffering domestic abuse, an investigation has found.

The IPCC has released a report into individual and organisational mistakes by Northumbria Police after the murder of Sarah Gosling, 41, in February. She was stabbed to death by her partner Ian Hope, 53, at their home in Newcastle.

The report said that the force was aware of Hope’s history of domestic violence but a misspelling of his address 13 years earlier on a police log proved disastrous when they were called to the house.

On February 25 two officers attended the property after a report of shouting and papers being thrown out of the window, but they left after warning the couple about littering.

This was because the control room had no information to link the occupants of the address to domestic abuse, due to the error. Less than three hours later Hope had stabbed Ms Gosling.

IPCC commissioner Nicholas Long said: “It is clear that Ms Gosling and Mr Hope were in an abusive relationship.

“It is also clear that Northumbria Police were aware of the abuse and had been involved in measures with partner agencies to try to tackle it. It is therefore tragic that such an apparently simple error of misspelling a street name could undermine the positive work done by the police force and result in two officers not having the relevant information that might have assisted them to deal with one specific incident differently”