A television documentary shines a light on failings that left a teenage girl at the mercy of the man who stalked her then murdered her.
Shana Grice, 19, died at the hands of an obsessive former work colleague, Michael Lane, but she was let down by police, according to an official watchdog.
Miss Grice, a former Hove Park pupil, endured eight months of stalking and harassment before Lane killed her in the bedroom of her Portslade home.
She made five separate complaints to Sussex Police but Lane was not stopped from harassing her.
Even after she reported one assault – when Lane chased her, pulled her hair and snatched her phone – it was Miss Grice who was punished.
Lane admitted the offence and received a caution but police gave Miss Grice a £90 fixed penalty notice, accusing her of wasting police time.
Five months later, she was dead.
Tom Milsom, operations manager of the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC), told the documentary makers: “There were significant system and training failures by Sussex Police.
“There seemed to be a lack of awareness among many officers we interviewed around the difference between a spat between two individuals and actually moving on to it being harassing behaviour.
“You really need to listen to the victim and I don’t think that happened to Shana. So, overall, she was let down, yes.”
The IOPC investigated 14 officers and civilians, recommending two gross misconduct hearings, four misconduct hearings and a wide-ranging series of training measures – all of which were immediately accepted by Sussex Police.
Forensic psychologist Kerry Daynes said that the case typified an outdated approach by some police officers to the stalking and harassment of young women.
She said: “What they’re missing is that stalking, by its very definition, is underpinned by obsession.
“So if somebody is obsessed with somebody, do you think that not even a slap on the wrist – a quick ‘don’t do it again’ – is really going to make a difference? Of course it’s not.”
Regarding the £90 fine for wasting police time, she said: “They’ve made a moral judgment about her, which is completely unfair.
“Stalking is very often referred to as murder in slow motion. You can see the risk getting higher and higher and higher.
“And this is exactly what we’ve got here. This is a murder taking place in slow motion.”
When the trial judge jailed Lane for life in March 2017, he criticised Sussex Police. He said: “The police jumped to conclusions and Shana was stereotyped.
“Tragically, when she sought help from the police, she received none.”
“Michael Lane felt that if he continued with his obsessive stalking behaviour, it was most unlikely that the police would do anything to stop him. And he did continue.”
Sussex Police later apologised to Miss Grice’s family.
Kerry Daynes told the programme: “What is so tragic is how preventable Shana’s death was.
“So many times somebody could have intervened to change the outcome. There’s so many times when responsibility should have been put on Michael Lane’s toes, not on Shana’s toes, for what he was doing and what he was putting her through.”
Murder in Slow Motion: The Shana Grice Story, produced by Shearwater Media, is scheduled to be broadcast at 10pm tomorrow (Sunday 21 March) on Sky Crime and Now TV.
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