Police missed signs leading to murder

A MURDERER who killed his estranged wife in a frenzied knife attack could have been arrested days before her death, a police watchdog has reported.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found that police failed to investigate a catalogue of domestic incidents in the months before Isabella Trindade was murdered by Antonio Goncalves, which could have led to him being charged.

Two police constables will face misconduct hearings as a result of the IPCC investigation, which has been underway since Isabella’s murder last year.

The two officers, who have not been named, are remaining at work until the hearings take place. Police have not yet revealed the date of the hearings.

Fifteen domestic incidents were examined by the IPCC during the investigation, starting in 2007. Eight of them happened in 2010.

Twice Isabella claimed Goncalves had threatened to kill her, but on both occasions police classed the matter as anti-social behaviour and no further action was taken. In the last incident officers did not take any written statements, did not complete a risk assesment, and did not pursue Goncalves after he had denied the allegations.

Just 12 days later, on October 7, he stabbed his former wife to death at Argyle Street in Boston and attacked her partner Christopher Ayres when he tried to defend her.

IPCC commissioner Armdeep Sohal, said: “The investigation found that some officers failed to complete risk asssessment forms when they should have done and control room staff wrongly closed a number of incidents as anti-social behaviour rather than domestic matters. This combination of factors led to specialist domestic violence officers being unaware of a pattern of increasing harrassment and an opportunity to identify an escalation of risk to Ms Trindada was missed.

“I have been reassured by Lincolnshire Police that they have given updated training to officers around recognising domestic abuse incidents.”

More than 1.000 staff members at Lincolnshire Police have undergone further training in domestic abuse, stalking and harrassment in the past year, and a further 24 courses have been planned for this year, according to a force spokesman.

Det Supt Guy Collings said: “Lincolnshire Police acknowledges the IPCC recommendations. Extensive changes in the way we deal with domestic abouse have been implemented over the past few years.

“We take all domestic abuse incidents extremely seriously and it is a key priority for all officers and staff to take positive action, supporting the victim and holding the perpetrator to account. We put the victim at the heart of all investigations.”

Goncalves was found guilty of the murder of Isabella Trindade and the attempted murder of Christopher Ayres at Lincoln Crown Court in April. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 28 years.