Inquest into the death of Katie Locke concludes


Photo by Marcin Nowak on Unsplash

An inquest into the death of Ms Katie Locke concluded last week before HM Assistant Coroner for Hertfordshire, Alison McCormick.

Ms Locke, a 23-year-old history teacher, was murdered on 24 December 2015 by Carl Langdell, a man she had met on the internet dating site ‘Plenty of Fish’. At that time, Mr Langdell was known to two police forces, two NHS Mental Health Trusts, and the National Probation Service. Three weeks before the killing, Mr Langdell had been sentenced for making threats to kill two other women.

The Coroner found that there were “a number of lost opportunities for sharing information between the public bodies regarding the murderer”. The Coroner observed that there was very little information sharing, and no joined up thinking or management in respect of Mr Langdell. The Coroner concluded that appropriate concerns on the part of the Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust regarding the need to safeguard female patients and staff from Mr Langdell, did not translate into a consideration of any need to safeguard other women once he had returned to the community, and that no consideration was given by any Hertfordshire agency to a referral into the Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Potentially Dangerous Person (PDP) procedure, to manage Mr Langdell’s risk of harm in the community.

The Coroner also found that there were “lost opportunities for further or additional measures to be taken within the criminal justice process”. In particular, a fully informed picture of Mr Langdell, and the risk that he posed to women, was not placed before the Crown Court at his sentencing for making threats to kill. The Hertfordshire Probation Service acknowledged that the option of imposing a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) was not considered in Mr Langdell’s pre-sentence report, and that it should have been.

Nick Armstrong and Tim James-Matthews were instructed by Caroline Robinson of Bindmans on behalf of Katie’s family.

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