The family of murdered teenager Shana Grice say that they believe her murder could have been prevented if police had taken her worries more seriously.
Michael Lane, 27, of Thornhill Rise, Portslade, was this afternoon convicted of the 19-year-old’s murder, which happened after he had spent months stalking her.
During the trial, the jury at Lewes Crown Court heard that Miss Grice had been given a fixed penalty notice by Sussex Police for wasting police time after she raised concerns with them about Lane’s behaviour.
In a statement read to the court Miss Grice’s mother Sharon Grice said on behalf of herself and her partner Richard Green: “We firmly believe her murder could have been prevented if her fears had been listened to and taken seriously by the police.”
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is currently investigating concerns around how Sussex Police dealt with her complaints and an observer sat in court during the trial.
A spokesman said: “The IPCC is conducting an investigation into the contact between Shana Grice, Michael Lane and Sussex Police in the lead up to her death on (Thursday) 25 August 2016.
“Investigators have interviewed a number of witnesses and upon completion of the ongoing murder trial will carry out additional interviews with police officers and staff identified as subjects in our investigation.
“The investigation has been assessing the circumstances surrounding all contact between Sussex Police, Shana Grice and Michael Lane in the lead up to Ms Grice’s death.
“There are currently 12 employees of Sussex Police who have been identified as subjects in this investigation. The IPCC will not be naming any of these individuals.”
Deputy Chief Constable Bernie O’Reilly said: “I would like to extend my sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Shana Grice, who was murdered by Michael Lane.
“When we looked at the circumstances leading to Shana’s murder, we felt we may not have done the very best we could.
“Within days of her murder I personally visited Shana’s family to apologise on behalf of Sussex Police and we made a referral to the IPCC.
“The referral was specifically in relation to how we dealt with incidents involving Shana leading up to her murder.
“Since then we have thoroughly reviewed all aspects of how we deal with cases of stalking and harassment and, working with partners, we have now taken on the learning and our approach is more robust.
“We are fully co-operating with the IPCC and until we receive their report we cannot comment further.”