Domestic violence and abuse case
The chilling story of a woman who was let down when she sought Police protection from her violent ex-husband.
Lily met Richard when she was 18. They later married and had 4 children together. Throughout their marriage of 25 years Richard was violent and verbally abusive.
Lily finally separated from Richard and moved out of the matrimonial home. She attempted to move on with her life, undertaking vocational training and study with a view to becoming financially self-sufficient and independent. She also attempted to move on in her personal life and met Sam with whom she fell in love.
Unfortunately, Richard’s jealousy, violence and controlling nature were never too far from Lily’s life. So fearful was Lily of how Richard might react if he were to find out about Sam that she hid the relationship from Richard and even her children.
Richard’s violence towards Lily escalated over a number of months, commencing with verbal abuse, then physical assaults upon her, stalking her and making verbal death threats. Lily involved the Police from very early on seeking assistance and protection from Richard and his escalating behaviour. Police were witness to the injuries she had sustained and even the verbal threats by Richard to stab Lily.
Finally, Richard was arrested by the Police and a Provisional Apprehended Violence Order (‘AVO’) issued. Richard was not permitted to go within 100 metres of Lily. He was also charged with 2 very serious offences and granted bail to attend Court at a later date.
Despite the AVO, Richard continued to make threatening telephone calls to Lily, followed her when she drove around the township in which they lived and regularly parked his car just outside the 100m from Lily’s home and kept her under surveillance.
One evening Lily and Sam had dropped the children off to Lily’s mother’s home for the night and were driving back to Lily’s home. Whilst driving through the township Lily realised that Richard was following them, believing that he had become aware of her relationship with Sam. Sam telephoned 000 and sought advice. He was told to drive to the nearest police station which they did. Richard brazenly followed them there and abused them both, in breach of the AVO.
Lily gave a statement to the Police which included Sam’s full name. They had requested his name be left out but were told by the Police it had to be included and were assured that Richard would be held in custody until he was required to attend court. Richard was arrested and charged with breach of the AVO.
Lily and Sam returned to Sam’s home for the night in the belief that they were safe.
In the early hours of the next morning, Richard was granted on bail and provided with a copy of Lily’s statement containing Sam’s name. The Police did not telephone Lily to advise of Richard’s release. Sadly, after his release, Richard located Sam’s address in the phone book, went to his home and murdered Sam by stabbing him. Lily witnessed the whole thing. Richard then chased after her with the knife.
Richard was subsequently arrested, charged and eventually found guilty of murder.
The effect on Lily was profound. She suffered significant psychological/psychiatric trauma and was unable to continue with her studies or return to the workforce.
Lily instructed The Law Office of Conrad Curry to act for her in suing the Police for negligence. Despite the fact that there was a real legal issue as to whether a duty of care was in fact owed by the Police to Lily as an individual, we were able to resolve her case in a way that will mean she will get the much needed psychiatric treatment she requires and have something for the pain and anguish suffered and income lost.