South east London: PCs deny charges in Katrina Makunova case

A police officer accused of failing to act on the claims of a domestic abuse victim said there had been “no way to see what was coming down the line,” after the teenager was killed in a confrontation with her ex-boyfriend.

Pcs Kerry Lynham and Sophie Dennis are accused of gross incompetence in their handling of Katrina Makunova, who claimed she had been harassed by her former partner, Oluwaseyi Dada.

The 17-year-old died in July 2018 after falling onto a knife she was carrying in her handbag as she met Dada, 23, in Camberwell, south-east London.

Dada was jailed for two years and three months for manslaughter in what the judge called “an extraordinary case.”

A tribunal heard Pcs Lynham and Dennis had responded to a domestic incident at Ms Makunova’s mother’s house two weeks prior to her death, on June 23.

The officers said that at the time they had viewed the incident as “non criminal” and that no allegation of criminal harassment had been made by Ms Makunova.

But Pc Dennis admitted she had failed to fill out two mandatory risk assessments following the incident, but said she could not recall the reason why she had not.

“I know it sounds silly but I don’t have an answer,” she told the disciplinary panel on Tuesday.

“I can’t recall why I didn’t fill out (the risk assessment), but looking back in hindsight I can say it was a mistake.”

Pc Dennis also admitted she had provided false and misleading information on a crime report by logging that the risk assessments had been completed.

The panel heard how Ms Makunova had provided the officers with an incorrect date of birth, stating that she was 18, when in fact she was 17.

Those under the age of 18 are considered children and a separate safeguarding report is required, which Pc Dennis also did not fill out.

Pc Lynham said she had had no cause to believe Ms Makunova was not an adult and that both officers had assessed the level of risk at the time of the incident as “standard”.

“My evaluation was the risk had been removed because of the action they were going to be taking,” she said.

“(Ms Makunova) explained she’d already contacted (Dada) they were engaging in conversation prior to his arrival (at the house).

“I believe it didn’t quite meet the threshold for harassment.

“I felt I was able to make a risk assessment based on the questions I had asked.

“I had no way of knowing what was coming down the line.”

Sophie O’Sullivan, legal adviser to the panel, said the incident “could be regarded as a missed opportunity case”.

Pcs Lynham and Dennis face allegations that they:

– Failed to acknowledge a member of the public was reporting criminal allegations of harassment and offences under the Public Order Act;

– Failed to take positive action as a result of that allegation;

– Failed to complete risk assessments relating to a vulnerable victim of domestic abuse;

– Failed to safeguard a child (Miss Makunova) in failing to complete a report for a database containing details of minors who have had contact with police.

Pc Dennis is also accused of providing false and misleading information on a crime report.

Pc Dennis has admitted failing to complete the appropriate risk assessments and providing false and misleading information, but denies failing to acknowledge a report of harassment or taking positive action.

Pc Lynham has denied all allegations. A verdict in the hearing is expected on Wednesday.

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