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Lessons must be learned following the tragic death of a mother-of-four who was killed by her partner, Cheshire East councillors have said.

The 53-year-old woman, referred to as Pam, died in August 2019.

Her partner was considered unfit to stand trial due to a health condition and, after being found responsible by a jury for killing Pam, was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order.

Pam’s death and the circumstances leading up to it, were discussed at the CEC adults and health committee as councillors considered the domestic homicide review.

One of the main purposes of a review is to establish what lessons can be learned regarding the way professionals and organisations work individually and together to safeguard victims.

Committee chair Jill Rhodes told the meeting: “I think what’s important for Pam and her family is that we work on those lessons learned and, if possible, we try to prevent another tragedy.”

The meeting was told by director of adults and social care Jill Broomhall: “Pam did have a history of alcohol abuse and of domestic abuse from her partners over many years.

“The perpetrator had a diagnosis of Huntington’s disease, which is a neurological inherited brain disease.

“The perpetrator was known to adult social care, Pam was not known to adult social care.”

The report referred to various incidents of domestic abuse where police were called but Pam did not wish to pursue the matter.

Both Pam and the perpetrator failed to attend medical and other care appointments.

Cllr Stewart Gardiner said: “I am not convinced that the circumstances of this case, or the unfortunate end result, could have been prevented.”

He acknowledged there were “missed opportunities” and questioned whether it was right someone who lived a ‘chaotic’ lifestyle should be ‘knocked off the system’ – as Pam appeared to have had been – because they missed two medical appointments.

He added: “The other thing is, the criminal justice system seems to fail people who are in vulnerable relationships.

“It doesn’t recognise that if you are being abused by your partner you are probably scared of that person and therefore, however much you are in a dangerous position, you probably won’t take the action necessary to take that person out of your life.

“I would like to see the criminal justice system review that and see ways in which they can override the need for the victim to bring that matter forward.”

Cllr Nicola Cook said it appeared “there were opportunities missed to focus on the perpetrator’s behaviour with the ultimate goal to stop the abuse”.

“There is clearly learning to take with regard to the sharing of information and I note, in particular, the relative lack of information shared with adult social services about Pam, which was essential in order that she could be fully supported,” she said.

“The report outlines that whenever someone exposes domestic abuse they should be believed and supported.

“The review highlights a number of these moments that were missed… I would hope the recommendations in this report, when fully implemented, may change the way domestic abuse victims and perpetrators are supported in the future.”

Cllr Janet Clowes said: “Sometimes the best support for the victim is if you are dealing and managing the perpetrator in an effective way and I think some of the failure for those multi-agency partners to actually engage effectively and in a timely way with the domestic violence services may have contributed, and that has come across in some of the recommendations.”

The committee agreed to seek a review of the progress towards the lessons learned and that the report should be published on the Safer Cheshire East website.

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