THE tragic death of two-year-old Rio Smedley — murdered by his mother’s boyfriend — could not have been prevented by police officers investigating an allegation of domestic violence before his death, an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation has found.
But a police officer involved in the case DID “fail in his duties in a number of ways” — and should face a misconduct hearing.
The independent investigation looked into Greater Manchester Police’s handling of an allegation of domestic assault made by Kirsty Smedley in March, 2012.
The force made a mandatory referral to the IPCC following the death of Rio Smedley, who was murdered by Daniel Rigby in April, 2012.
He was sentenced to life in prison in November 2012.
IPCC investigators looked at whether a decision to take no further action against Mr Rigby in relation to the complaint of domestic violence was appropriate and whether the force had followed all national and local guidance.
The investigation found that a direct causal link between the investigation into an alleged assault by Mr Rigby on Miss Smedley and subsequent death of Rio could not be established.
The IPCC did find, however, that an officer from GMP’s prisoner processing unit had failed in his duties in a number of ways and should face a misconduct meeting.
The PC’s failings included not checking to see if CCTV existed of Miss Smedley and Mr Rigby walking near her home soon after the alleged assault and whether they were seen by neighbours or other witnesses.
The PC also failed to visit witnesses in person, quiz Mr Rigby about his criminal history, make enquiries about Rio Smedley or pass on information about Miss Smedley’s injuries.
Following the completion of the investigation GMP raised performance issues for another officer, a Sergeant, who was acting as Inspector at the time, over the way they reviewed the assault allegation before the decision to take no further action against Mr Rigby was taken.
Both officers were subject to management action.
Full details of the investigations and the findings made against the PC and Sergeant can be found in the investigation report published on the IPCC’s website.
IPCC Commissioner James Dipple-Johnstone said: "While it cannot be said that if the officers had chosen to take a different course of action against Daniel Rigby Rio Smedley would still be alive today, there were a number of shortcomings identified during our investigation.
"Reports of domestic violence must be treated seriously and acted upon thoroughly, particularly those that involve children who may themselves be at risk. ”