Heather Williams QC acts as High Court orders Article 2 compliant inquest into alleged police failures to protect life

In R (Skelton) v Senior Coroner for West Sussex, the Administrative Court has today ordered a full, Article 2 ECHR compliant inquest into potential police failures to protect Susan Nicholson before she was murdered by her partner, Robert Trigg.

The Coroner’s decision to hold a very narrow inquest focused only on Susan’s unlawful killing was quashed. The Court accepted there were arguable breaches of the police’s duty to investigate the earlier death of Caroline Devlin (which was wrongly declared non-suspicious at the time) and arguable breaches of the police’s operational duty to protect Susan, in light of successive call outs to incidents at her address in the months leading up to her death and Trigg’s documented violence to previous partners. The claim for judicial review was brought by Susan’s parents, Peter and Elizabeth Skelton, who have long fought for justice for their daughter. Susan’s death was also initially treated as non-suspicious, but as a result of her parents’ tireless campaign, Robert Trigg was eventually convicted of killing both Susan Nicholson and Caroline Devlin.

Heather Williams QC, instructed by Alice Hardy of Hodge Jones & Allen solicitors, represent the family in this judicial review application and in the coronial proceedings.

For further details please see the full press release here.

The judgment can be found here.