Alice Hardy, Partner in our Civil Liberties team appeared on ITV Meridian News and BBC Radio 4 to discuss the new inquest into the death of Susan 52, who was suffocated by her partner Robert Trigg in 2011, five years after he had killed a previous partner.
Nine years after her death, the High Court has now ordered a full inquest to investigate potential failings by the police, who initially considered Susan’s death to be non-suspicious. Susan’s parents, Peter and Elizabeth Skelton, campaigned for Trigg to be investigated for Susan’s murder, with a successful conviction taking place six years later, in 2017. They are represented by Alice Hardy and Fiona Bowen of Hodge Jones & Allen and Heather Williams QC of Doughty Street Chambers.
Speaking about the inquest to ITV Meridian News, Alice Hardy commented: “It’s a vindication of what the family had been arguing for some time, which is that it appears that the police could have taken steps to prevent Susan’s death.”
Sussex Police had opposed the legal challenge and indicated that they would seek to recover legal fees from Susan’s parents, should it have failed. Alice Hardy added: “It’s an enormously vulnerable and stressful position for Peter and Elizabeth to be in. They were determined to get the full inquest to look at whether Susan’s death could have been properly investigated and they felt threatened by that. It was very disappointing that the police chose to fight it in that way.”
The outcome of the case could help protest victims of domestic violence in the future. Alice was further quoted across the print media, telling The Telegraph: “The judgment is very helpful in setting out what investigative steps the police should take in this kind of situation, where somebody dies and an investigation needs to be carried out.
“We will now also get a full inquest at which questions will be asked of individual police officers, senior police officers, about what was and should have been known about the risk to Susan, what was and should have been done to protect.
“I hope this will cast a light on what Sussex Police should do in future to better protect people in Susan’s position.”
For further information on the inquest, please click here to read our full press release.