Police refused to go to murder scene

Two police officers refused to attend a scene where a woman was stabbed to death.

The officers were the closest to the house where Louise Webster was stabbed in January 2010, but claimed they were following a suspicious car during an anti-prostitution operation and refused. However, they could not give the car’s registration and no independent evidence backed their claim.

Mother-of-three Ms Webster’s partner Martin Ashby was jailed for life at Northampton Crown Court last week for her murder.

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Yesterday, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said two police officers called to Ms Webster’s home in Roade, Northamptonshire, put others in danger by refusing to attend.

Its probe also found one of the pair, who have both since received final written warnings for gross misconduct, went house hunting on duty the night before.

Medical experts found Ms Webster would have died even if they had attended, but the IPCC said the officers put others in danger.

Commissioner Amerdeep Somal said it was “deeply disturbing” that they chose to ignore the “basic and fundamental” principles of police work to protect the public and preserve life.

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The IPCC said Northamptonshire Police were called to Ms Webster’s home at 12.11am on January 18.

A GPS device in one of their radios told the control room the two officers were the closest. But the officer who answered refused, saying their Inspector would not want them to leave their assigned duties.

An officer on his own responded to the call at 12.20am and arrived nine minutes later. Only then could a paramedic go into the house and treat Ms Webster.

The investigators found that the officers were not prohibited from responding and their notebooks showed they had not dealt with any prostitution inquiries or other incidents in six hours on duty.