New inquiry call by brother of murdered Maria

12:00pm Thursday 3rd April 2014

THE brother of a Chelmsford woman killed by her ex-boyfriend still wants more done to protect victims of domestic violence.

Manuel Fernandez, the brother of murdered Maria Stubbings, spoke out after Essex Police’s service for victims was described as “improving” in a Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary report - inspectors said “significant improvements” had been made.

In December 2008, Marc Chilvers murdered Ms Stubbings at her home in Pitfield, Chelmsford, shortly after he was released from prison. He assaulted her five months earlier.

Chilvers had previously been jailed in Germany for killing an ex-girlfriend, but this was something the 50-year-old mum-of-two was unaware of.

Last May after an Independent Police Complaints Commission report criticised Essex Police, Stubbings’s family called for a public inquiry into how police respond to domestic violence cases.

Her brother Manuel Fernandez said despite what the Inspectoarte’s postive report says, they still want an inquiry.

Mr Fernandez said: “The police say lessons have been learned, but then we read about other cases where Essex Police and other forces have failed women in Maria’s situation.

“We want justice for Maria and for all women facing domestic violence who are failed by the state.”

Alongside Ms Stubbings death, Essex Police were also criticised following the killings of Jeanette Goodwin in Southend and Christine Chambers and her two-year-old daughter Shania in Braintree.

Both murders happened in July 2011 at the hands of ex-boyfriends.

Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston said domestic abuse is a key area of concern and he wants Essex Police to continue with improvements, but stopped short of backing calls for a public inquiry.

Mr Alston said: “I respect the call of the family of Maria Stubbings and Refuge for a national public inquiry.

“However, I am also conscious that public inquiries can sometimes take months or even years to report back.

“Here in Essex, Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh and I are committed to immediate and ongoing work to continue to improve support for victims of domestic abuse.”

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