A 30-Year-Old Mother Of Three Tragically Ended Her Own Life In An Effort To Escape From Her Abusive Partner

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A 30-Year-Old Mother Of Three Tragically Ended Her Own Life In An Effort To Escape From Her Abusive Partner

Police demonstrated a “lack of understanding of controlling and coercive behavior” in the case of a woman who took her own life to escape an abusive relationship, according to a coroner’s remarks.

Kellie Sutton, 30, tragically hanged herself at her shared residence with her violent partner, Steven Gane, who cruelly taunted her with the words, “Do everyone a favor.”

Gane was subsequently sentenced to 51 months in prison after being convicted of controlling and coercive behavior, assault resulting in actual bodily harm, and assault by beating.

Initially ruled as a suicide, the inquest’s conclusion was overturned last July in a legal precedent involving a domestic violence victim’s suicide when a new inquest returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough assistant coroner Samantha Broadfoot KC has since submitted a prevention of future deaths report to Hertfordshire Police, outlining shortcomings that may have contributed to Ms. Sutton’s death.

Ms. Broadfoot highlighted a “lack of awareness of the link between domestic abuse and suicide” and confusion among frontline officers regarding the circumstances warranting a Domestic Violence Protection Notice (DVPN).

A DVPN is a civil order enabling police and magistrates’ courts to enforce protective measures in instances where there is insufficient evidence to charge a suspect.

Ms. Sutton, of Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, passed away in hospital on August 26, 2017, after Gane hurried home upon her failure to respond to his messages. Her last text message read: “Hope you feel bad, for this is your fault, you told me to do everyone a favor, so that’s what I shall do. Hope your life’s better without me.”

Ms. Broadfoot’s report noted a neighbor’s call to the police on July 9, 2017, reporting that Ms. Sutton was being “beaten up by her partner.”

However, officers did not speak with the neighbor, who possessed further pertinent information, including the fact that one of Ms. Sutton’s children had witnessed the incident. The abuse persisted, ultimately leading to Ms. Sutton’s suicide a few weeks later.

When sentencing Gane in March 2018, Judge Philip Grey attributed Ms. Sutton’s suicide to his behavior, stating, “Your behavior drove Kellie Sutton to hang herself that morning. You beat her and ground her down and broke her spirits.”

The jury at the subsequent inquest concluded that further police investigation might have resulted in interventions altering the final outcome.

Assistant Chief Constable Amanda Bell stated that Hertfordshire Police had created a Vulnerability Information Portal following the tragedy.

This app provides officers with access to information regarding coercive behavior, domestic abuse, and suicide.

She added: ‘The link between domestic abuse and suicide now features prominently in all our training around sudden deaths.’

There was now also revised guidance for officers attending a report of a sudden death, including reviewing the domestic abuse history of those involved, Ms Bell said.

Speaking after the first inquest’s conclusion was overturned, Ms Sutton’s mother, Pamela Taylor, said she had been a ‘much-loved mother, daughter, sister, auntie and friend’. She added: ‘It is an unspeakable loss and something I will never get over.’

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