A Metropolitan Police officer has been fired without notice after she failed to investigate allegations of harassment made by a domestic violence victim who was later murdered by her husband.
Denise Keane-Barnett, 36, initially reported domestic abuse by her estranged husband Damion Simmons to police on 26 January 2020.
Simmons went on to set fire to the house Ms Keane-Barnett was staying at in Harlesden, north London, on 16 April 2020, just 40 minutes after officers left the scene.
He was convicted of the teaching assistant’s murder and jailed for life with a minimum term of 32 years in 2021.
PC Sandeep Khunkhun, who was in charge of investigating the allegations, was dismissed following a misconduct hearing on Tuesday which found she failed to arrange for Simmons’ arrest and cancelled plans to interview him on three occasions.
She also failed to update the crime report and set an action plan despite being asked to do so by a number of supervisors.
Chief Superintendent Sara Leach, BCU commander for Brent, Harrow and Barnet, said PC Khunkhun’s investigation was clearly below the standard expected.
Ms Leach said: “Our thoughts today remain with Ms Keane-Simmons’ family who have suffered an unimaginable loss.
“Tackling violence against women and girls is one of our top priorities. We want anyone who is a victim of domestic abuse to feel confident in coming forward to us and we know a case like this damages the trust people have in our organisation.
“As part of our Violence against Women and Girls Action Plan, we are now delivering new specialist training on domestic abuse to over 8,000 frontline constables and sergeants. This is aimed at improving the initial response to domestic abuse and assisting officers with recognising and responding to coercive and controlling behaviour.”
A few days after Ms Keane-Barnett’s first reported Simmons’ abusive behaviour to the police, officers removed him from property for locking her in her room.
They returned later that after Ms Keane-Barnett found a light bulb with a camera in her bedroom.
Body worn video recorded by the officers who interviewed her after she informed police Simmons was harassing her by email showed Ms Keane-Barnett confirmed she wanted him to be arrested and would attend court if necessary.
Despite Ms Keane-Barnett giving a statement confirming she fully supported police action and wanted her husband arrested, PC Khunkhun sent the case for closure on 6 April 2020.
PC Khunkhun’s dismissal follows an investigation carried out by the Independent Office for Police Complaints (IOPC).
The panel rejected the record PC Khunkhun made on 30 March, that Ms Keane-Barnett told her she did “not wish to substantiate the allegations”.
IOPC regional director for London Sal Naseem said: “The national guidance is clear that police officers have a duty to take positive action when they deal with domestic abuse. PC Khunkhun failed to follow reasonable lines of enquiry, which had been set by a supervisor and to ensure appropriate safeguarding was put in place.
“PC Khunkhun failed Ms Keane-Barnett in a shocking dereliction of her duties as a police officer.”
PC Khunkhun will now be placed on the Barred List held by the College of Policing.
As a result, she will be prevented from being employed by police, local policing bodies (PCCs), the Independent Office for Police Conduct or Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.