Sussex Police have sacked one officer and apologised to a grieving family after a mother of three killed herself two days after officers told her they didn’t believe she had been bound and gagged in her home, an inquest heard.It’d take a heart of stone not to feel a little bit sorry for ex-DC Deans-Cane, but luckily, that’s exactly what I have!
Police were called to the house of Clare Cruttenden, 30, in Québec Road, Hastings, late on February 17 2014, after a 999 call to say an intruder had broken in, trashed her house, tied her up and stolen her handbag.
An inquest heard yesterday (Tuesday) this was the 18th or 19th time she had alleged to police she had been the victim of crimes since 1999, including multiple rapes and violent attacks.
She was told on this occasion they thought she wasn’t telling the truth.
The following day she was found in a coma at the Granville Hotel in Kings Road, Brighton, after taking an insulin overdose, and she then died at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.You mean, they thought that she was telling the truth on the other 17 or 18 occasions?!?
Supt Nick May said the matter was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), as is usual in these circumstances, and it asked Sussex Police to investigate under their supervision.
He said: "Deputy Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney has visited Clare’s family and apologised to them. (Ed: She seems to do this a lot...)
She apologised for the level of service that Clare received that night, which was far from that that people in Sussex Police usually receive in the vast majority of cases.
"The service those officers gave to Clare when they attended her home two days before her death fell way short of our standards and we take that very seriously indeed."Gosh. I remember when police were supposed to establish that a crime had been committed before proceeding – now, they are expected to consider the feelings of the clearly-unhinged!
Coroner Alan Craze said DC Deans-Cane was said to be extremely tired at the time and had allowed himself to become angry by what may have been yet another false alarm and he has since apologised.
Mr Craze said the purpose of the inquest was not to point fingers of blame at anyone and he said it must not focus on whether Sussex Police has done anything wrong.
The eight-strong jury at Eastbourne Magistrates Court decided that Clare killed herself while her balance of mind was disturbed, and that a personality disorder had affected her actions.It seems she wasn’t the only nutter in this story – her friends are equally bonkers:
Close friend Darren Norden, of Chiltern Drive, Hastings, told the inquest she was not getting any help from police.
He said: "She was sick of being sexually assaulted by somebody that she knew and yet nobody believed her. I told her we had to get her some help but she said 'what's the point?'
"She alleged multiple rapes and attacks by one individual but the police were not doing their job, they did not believe her.
"Every time she had a run in with a police officer she would call me. She was fed up of being physically hurt and abused."Hmmm. And what do the medical professionals say?
Professor Robert Peckitt, a consultant forensic psychiatrist, told the inquest at Eastbourne Magistrates Court yesterday that this was an exceptionally difficult case.
He thought Miss Cruttenden had a complex personality disorder and while he was not an apologist for poor policing, it was possible the mother had a dysfunctional relationship with Sussex Police.
He said a number of multi-agency meetings had been planned before she died and she may have considered this to have been a threat to her.
He said: "She could have been diverted to mental health pathways but this is not a matter of blame, it is a terrible tragedy.
"The police response was generally satisfactory in my view, and she was very adept at keeping professionals at arms length when she wanted. The days of police officers sneering at complaints has gone and good riddance."
He talked of her "fragile precarious inner world" and said she may have wanted to react to what she felt as police inaction by what - in his own view - was an act of suicide.So, we have a situation where you cannot say you disbelieve a person’s account of a crime, despite there being no evidence.
And despite it being your job to prove that a crime has been committed, if you suggest that it hasn’t to the accuser, you’ll be fired.
And they wonder why they have a problem recruiting police officers in 2015.