Police should have done more to protect Derbyshire mum and son killed by ex-partner, report today says

Melony Slack holds an image of Auden. Hayden Slack holds an image of his sister, Rachael.
Melony Slack holds an image of Auden. Hayden Slack holds an image of his sister, Rachael.

Police should have done more to protect a pregnant mum and her son who were stabbed to death by her ex-partner, a report says.

In 2010, Rachael Slack and her son, Auden, two, were killed by ex-partner Andrew Cairns, who then took his own life.

Rachael, of Holbrook, had already reported to police that Cairns had threatened to kill her and take away their son.

Neighbours had also reported concerns to police.

Although police arrested Cairns, he was released on bail and killed Rachael and Auden five days later.

Today an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) review into the investigation of the police’s involvement with Rachael and Auden has been released.

Domestic violence campaign group Refuge said the report showed an inquest in 2013 uncovered extensive material that was omitted from the original IPCC report.

A spokesperson for Refuge said: “The inquest concluded that Rachael and Auden’s deaths were ‘more than minimally’ contributed to by failings of Derbyshire Constabulary... The report acknowledges the inquest findings and is also highly critical of the previous report which was ‘totally under resourced’, failed to gather relevant evidence and relied on Derbyshire’s police’s own assessment of events – making the assessment that there were no indications of misconduct after just four days of the investigation.

Hayden and Melony Slack, Rachael Slack’s brother and sister-in-law, said the family had experienced a “frustrating and painful” five-year wait for the report.

They said: “We were offended both by the brevity of the original report and the speed at which it was produced. It is regrettable that the information in the review published by the IPCC was not available to the Coroner before the inquest or the Derbyshire Safeguarding Children’s Board when compiling the Serious Case Review.

“Too many times government institutions announce that ‘lessons have been learned’ following tragedies similar to ours. We believe that these lessons must lead to significant, positive change to ensure other women and children... do not lose their lives due to avoidable failings.

“We support Refuge’s call for a public inquiry into how state agencies respond to incidents of domestic violence.”

To sign the petition visit: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/public-inquiry-into-police-and-state-agency-response-to-domestic-violence