Hayley Richards & unborn child (5 June 2005)
Hayley Richards, 23, was murdered in her flat in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, in June 2005. She was murdered by her boyfriend of 10 months, 25 year old Hugo Quintas, who fled to Spain after the murder. He was subsequently brought back to the UK, tried and found guilty of Hayley’s murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
From The Timesonline (29 Apr 2006):
POLICE LEFT WOMAN AT MERCY OF KILLER
She was pregnant and afraid, but police ignored her plea and rescued a distressed dog instead
POLICE failed to protect a pregnant woman who told them that her boyfriend had attacked her and threatened to kill her, an official investigation found yesterday. Six days later the man had slit her throat.
Hayley Richards, 23, had told officers, who had a warrant for her boyfriend’s arrest, where they could find him. Instead, they decided to rescue a dog from a locked car.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission said that Wiltshire Constabulary had “failed to give a victim of domestic violence the priority and protection she deserved”. It refrained from blaming specific officers and said that systemic failures were responsible.
On June 5, 2005, Miss Richard, a waitress from Trowbridge, Wiltshire, told police that Hugo Quintas, 24, a Portuguese factory worker, had attacked and threatened to kill her. She said that she was petrified.
Officers were instructed to arrest Quintas but were unable to find him. Two days later Miss Richards told police he was drinking in a pub in Trowbridge but the duty sergeant said that all his officers were busy.
Richard Reynolds, a commission investigator, said that two officers were dealing with a distressed dog. A woman officer refused to go to the pub to arrest him on her own because of “health and safety concerns”. Mr Reynolds concluded that she was “excessively cautious and inflexible”.
By the time that police arrived at the pub Quintas had left. The investigator added: “As a result, precious time and a clear opportunity for an arrest were lost.”
Another chance to arrest him was missed on the day before he murdered Miss Richards. Police stopped his Rover car in Trowbridge because the rear light was broken. He was issued with a ticket and let go.
Six days after the initial plea for help, Quintas slashed Miss Richards’s throat from ear to ear with a Stanley knife and she bled to death.
He was jailed for life last month for her murder and was ordered to serve a minimum of 18 years. Ian Bynoe, the complaints commissioner, said: “We cannot say whether these lost opportunities led to her death, but our report has made recommendations to Wiltshire to ensure that better procedures are put in place to give officers the training and information they need to protect victims of domestic violence.”
Martin Richards, the Chief Constable of Wiltshire, accepted that his force’s investigation into the first assault on Miss Richards was “below the standard she had a right to expect”. He said that changes to procedure and training had already been made.
“When Hayley rang police to tell us Quintas’s whereabouts on June 7, we had a good chance of arresting him but we didn’t act fast enough,” Mr Richards said. “In essence, at that moment, we made the wrong decision and for that I am deeply sorry.”
Miss Richards’s brother, Paul, said: “We feel bitter and angry about the week before Hayley was murdered. We do feel that Wiltshire police should change their policies and everything else to make sure no other family goes through what we have gone through.”
From 4ni News (28 Apr 2006):
POLICE HANDLING OF HAYLEY RICHARDS’ CASE ‘POOR’
Wiltshire Police have been criticised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) over the handling of a case which resulted in the murder of a pregnant woman. Hayley Richards,was murdered in her Trowbridge flat by her boyfriend, Hugo Quintas last June. The Portuguese factory worker slit the 23-year-old’s throat. Six days before the murder, Hayley, who was two months pregnant, had complained to police after Quintas attacked her. She told police that she was “petrified” of him.
The IPCC said that the investigation into the case had been “poor” and said that “institutional failures” had led to police failing to arrest Quintas. The IPCC upheld two complaints by Ms Richards’ family against Wiltshire Police regarding the investigation. The IPCC report highlighted one occasion when Ms Richards told police where Quintas could be found, but the police failed to arrest him. Two of the four officers on patrol, according the report, were attending reports of a dog locked in a car. The IPCC said that a “clear opportunity for an arrest” had been lost. IPCC Commissioner Ian Bynce said: “This was a tragic loss for Hayley’s family and friends. Wiltshire Constabulary’s response to a woman who had reported a serious assault was not good enough and the force failed to give a victim of domestic violence the priority and protection she deserved.”
The IPCC did not find that any individual officer had seriously failed in their duty, but we did conclude there were systematic failures which led to insufficient priority being given to this victim of domestic violence. There was also a failure to show the positive and effective action needed from all officers and staff involved. “There were two occasions when Hayley’s attacker could have been arrested. Once when Hayley rang the police to report that Quintas was in a local pub and later when two traffic officers stopped Quintas in his car. We cannot say whether these lost opportunities led to her death, but our report has made recommendations to Wiltshire to ensure that better procedures are put in place to give officers the training and information they need to protect victims of domestic violence.”
Quintas flew to Portugal the day after the murder and was arrested in Spain. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for Hayley’s murder last month and ordered to serve a minimum of 17 years behind bars.Wiltshire Police have issued an apology.
MAN MURDERED PREGNANT GIRLFRIEND
A Portuguese factory worker who cut his pregnant girlfriend’s throat in a fit of jealous rage has been convicted of her murder.
Hugo Quintas, 25, killed 23-year-old Hayley Richards at her flat in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, last June after she admitted sleeping with another man.
The jury at Bristol Crown Court took two hours to reach a guilty verdict.
Less than a week before her death, Ms Richards had reported Quintas to Wiltshire Police after he attacked her.
His friend, Sergio da Cunha, 30, who was accused of washing Quintas’ blood-stained clothes and then helping him to catch a flight to Portugal, was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice.
As the verdict was read out, members of Miss Richards’ family cheered and shouted “yes”. Some burst into tears.
Quintas, who arrived in England from Porto in 2003, had tried to strangle his lover of 10 months after she threw him out of her flat six days before he eventually killed her.
She told officers she was “petrified” of her boyfriend and feared he would “go mad” if he found out she had reported him to the police.
But Wiltshire Constabulary failed to arrest Quintas – who claimed the attack was her fault – despite her warnings.
The force’s handling of Miss Richards’ complaint is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
During the two-week trial, the jury heard Quintas set upon his girlfriend, who was two months pregnant with his baby, in a “prolonged, deliberate and fatal attack” in the early hours of 11 June last year.
Quintas caught a plane to Portugal the day after the murder, starting an international manhunt. He was eventually picked up by Spanish border police.
Speaking outside court Hayley’s mother, Christina, said: “We lost a wonderful person from our lives when Hayley was murdered and there is nothing that can ever make up for what has happened to our family.
“It is, however, some consolation that someone has been found guilty of her murder. Hayley loved life. We will never forget her and we’ll always remember the memories we have of our time with her.”
Senior Investigating Officer, Det Ch Supt Mike Veale, said the crime was “devoid of emotion”.
“Hugo Quintas committed one of the most violent and shocking crimes I have ever investigated,” he said.
“His murderous slaying of Hayley Richards and her unborn child was cold-blooded in its planning and horrific in its execution.
“His subsequent behaviour was cruel in the extreme, devoid of emotion and remorse and shockingly calm.”
Hugo Quintas, life with a minimum tariff of 17 years.