Murdered mother let down by Kingston Council’s ‘culture of complacency’ says report

Kingston council’s ‘culture of complacency’ has been slammed by a report that concluded the brutal murder of a woman in front of her two-year-old daughter could have been prevented.

The independent report by Safer Kingston Partnership into the 2011 death of Charito Cruz found myriad factors that could have prevented her death.

Contact was made with several agencies including the NSPCC and the Metropolitan Police after her relationship with partner Muhammed Niazi fell apart.

Davina James-Hanman, the independent chair and author of the report, said: “The question remains open as to whether more robust responses may have prevented Agapito’s (Cruz’ pseudonym) death.

“The Metropolitan Police, the Independent Domestic Violence Advisor and Royal Borough of Kingston’s Children’s Social Care all assumed that the absence of physical violence meant they were dealing with a standard risk case.”

Niazi has been imprisoned for a minimum of 12 years for battering the 37-year-old mother to death with a hammer.

Three weeks before the murder, he took an overdose of paracetamol after becoming convinced that his partner was having an affair, however at hospital he was not found to have ingested a dangerous level of the drug.

Ms Cruz reported relationship conflicts and fears of her daughter being abducted to the NSPCC.

However, Ms James-Hanman said in her report that there was a lack of urgency in responding to NSPCC referrals.

The instability and abuse was in family life extended to Niazi showing a pornographic film to their two-year-old daughter.

He told the girl that ‘this is what your mummy’s doing, she is a prostitute, whore, dirty woman’.

He also let her play with cigarettes and told her that in the future he would teach her how to smoke.

Sadly the Royal Borough of Kingston Children’s Social Care did not carry out any form of risk assessment in response to the referrals they received.

The report stated that Ms Cruz said on her visit to the Kingston Domestic abuse one stop shop, multi-agency domestic violence drop-in service, that Niazi had made threats to kill her.

Training on domestic violence is now a mandatory for Kingston social workers.

Picture courtesy of Ray Forster, with thanks

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