A mother of a pregnant woman who fell to her death from a balcony in Queen’s Park nearly four years ago says she will not participate in a review of the case.
Georgina Drinkwater plunged from the third floor of Orpheus House on February 23, 2014, while nearly six months pregnant, with a coroner returning an open verdict in her 2016 inquest.
It had heard allegations that 30-year-old Ms Drinkwater had been in an abusive relationship with boyfriend Robert Weldon, with her friends saying they had witnessed him punch the expectant mum-of-two.
He denied this, and said his partner had fallen following a petty row , which resulted in her trying to climb out of the Harrow Road property via the balcony.
A Domestic Homicide Review (DHR) - a review carried out by the Community Safety Partnership which includes the local police and Westminster City Council - will now take place, but Ms Drinkwater’s mother Pauline Tio says she will not participate in it.
She says that following the inquest it transpired that a referral was never made to the local authority for a DHR, as directed by the Domestic Violence, Crime & Victims Act 2004.
Ms Tio said: “We are now informed that a DHR will be taking place in 2017 but with a chair imposed by the authority concerned.
“Our requests for an independent chair, preferably from the women and charitable sector have been denied.”
Making reference to their unhappiness at the police investigation into the death, Ms Tio continues: “As a consequence, we, the family and friends of Georgina Drinkwater will not be participating in this DHR, that does not even include the shambolic process of Met Police investigation into her death.
“We do not have any confidence or trust in the process of this DHR. As mother and family to Georgina, we have no intention of giving credence to the DHR by having our names attached to it.
“We have no intention of allowing the authority and Met Police to insult once again the memory of Georgina Kathleen Drinkwater.”
Ms Drinkwater had two daughters and was carrying Mr Weldon’s unborn son when she died.
Recording an open verdict at Westminster Coroners Court, assistant coroner Russell Caller had said “the exact circumstances remain unknown” and added: “The evidence I have heard over the past two days is not sufficient to provide a conclusion.”
A spokesperson for Westminster said: “The final decision on the appointment of the chair for a Domestic Homicide Review is made by the Community Safety Partnership.
“The clear guidance from the Home Office is that any chair must be independent.
“We are currently in conversation with the family in this case and it would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this stage.”
What is a DHR?
According to the Home Office, the purpose of a DHR is to:
- Establish what lessons are to be learned from the domestic homicide regarding the way in which local professionals and organisations work individually and together to safeguard victims
- Identify clearly what those lessons are both within and between agencies, how and within what timescales they will be acted on, and what is expected to change as a result
- Apply these lessons to service responses including changes to inform national and local policies and procedures as appropriate
- Prevent domestic violence and homicide and improve service responses for all domestic violence and abuse victims and their children by developing a co-ordinated multi-agency approach to ensure that domestic abuse is identified and responded to effectively at the earliest opportunity
- Contribute to a better understanding of the nature of domestic violence and abuse; and
- Highlight good practice
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