‘I truly believe Regan would still be alive if police had followed procedures’: Crime victims react to brutal Greater Manchester Police report

Dave Tierney found his daughter Regan, 27, stabbed to death at her home in Walkden, Salford, on June 5 last year

Greater Manchester Police

The family of a mum allegedly murdered by her ex-partner believe she could have been saved if Greater Manchester Police had followed their own procedures.

Dave Tierney found his daughter Regan, 27, stabbed to death at her home in Walkden, Salford, on June 5 last year.

Mr Tierney is one of a number of people who believe there were failures in the way their cases were handled by the force.

It comes as a brutal inspection report revealed GMP is failing to record and therefore investigate thousands of crimes reported.

The report said the force failed to record 80,000 crimes in 12-months.

The police inspectorate, which has been raising concerns since 2016, said domestic violence and vulnerable victims is a particular concern.

One in four violent crimes reported to GMP is not being recorded, while one in three investigations are failing to meet basic standards in the way they are carried out, while also too often being slow.

In a statement, GMP have said they ‘always regret when a victim feels let down’. They added that due to ‘stretched resources’ officers must prioritise but have said they apologise if they ‘have not focused their resource’ onto cases ‘where there is a higher risk or threat’ involved.

The Manchester Evening News has spoken to people concerned in three separate cases.

All of them felt let down by the way the crimes were handled by GMP.

Regan Tierney

Regan, 27, died at her home in Salford last year. Her former partner Daniel Patten, 31, was found with critical injuries at the address following her death.

He died two days later.

Police said no one else was involved in Regan’s death and a file of evidence is being prepared for the coroner.

But eighteen months on, Dave and daughter Shannon are still trying to get answers over what happened.

They have raised a wide range of concerns about GMP’s contact with Regan prior to her death.

The police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), said it carried out an investigation that concluded in May.

An IOPC spokesperson said: “Our investigation into prior police contact with Regan Tierney and Daniel Patten was concluded in May 2020.

“We will consider issuing our findings after the future inquest. Our thoughts remain with their families.”

Greater Manchester Police also opened its own internal investigation.

GMP did not respond to a request for comment on the status of that investigation.

Dave and Shannon are convinced there were failings in the way that GMP dealt with Regan’s case.

“My late daughter reported threats to kill her and domestic abuse towards her on numerous occasions over the years to the police,” said Dave.

“My other daughter Shannon also reported threats to kill her and her family [from Daniel Patten].”

But Dave says he believes those ‘reports were either not taken seriously or swept under the carpet by the authorities’.

“Regan rang the police in fear of her life two days before her murder, they couldn’t do anything so she asked me to ring,” he said.

“The police said it had to to be the person in danger who has to ring, I explained that my daughter had rang but was frankly brushed aside.

“I was then told they are hanging up on me as I was getting irate, the rest speaks for itself.”

The Tierney family allege Daniel Patten struggled to accept his relationship had ended.

It is understood the night before her murder, Regan had updated her Facebook status to reveal she was in a new relationship and Mr Patten had found out.

“Regan said she was going to call police the night it happened – I think they were supposed to go round but they had another job,” said Shannon.

“She texted me saying ‘how does he know?’ [about her new relationship] and that she’d told him if he didn’t stop sending messages she would send police.

“That was my last conversation with her.

“She wanted a domestic violence restraining order. My dad had printed off the form and it was there on the counter when he found her.”

Mr Tierney says the whereabouts of the paperwork for the domestic violence restraining order is now unknown.

He says he has not heard from GMP or the IOPC in ‘months and months’ but believes another multi-agency investigation – a Domestic Homicide Review – is ongoing.

He told the M.E.N he still suffers from anxiety, depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from the ordeal of having found his daughter’s body.

“I get flashbacks, the nightmares are horrendous,” said Mr Tierney.

“I’m on a lot of medication.”

Regan’s two children have now been legally adopted by her sister Shannon.

“The kids are doing good,” said Mr Tierney.

“But this is something me and Shannon feel really strongly about.

“There are massive holes in the system but we are doing everything to get certain laws implemented through the professional bodies that help and represent us.

“I would like though to say to anyone who is in an abusive or controlling relationship to please get the help and support you want, need, deserve and are entitled to.

“I truly believe my daughter Regan would still be with us if the correct and proper procedures had been implemented by GMP and other bodies.”

The family’s concerns about the investigation were put to GMP.

The force redirected the Manchester Evening News to the IOPC for comment.

Mr Harris

A man from Whitefield, asked to be referred to as ‘Mr Harris’, caught the car thieves who stole his Mercedes on CCTV in September this year.

But when he alerted GMP to the high quality footage he had of the criminals, he was told they were ‘too busy’ to view it.

“The report doesn’t surprise me at all – obviously I agree with the findings, it says everything,” Mr Harris said, responding to the report.

“This investigation was conducted between April and June this year and my case was in September so that just shows this trend has continued.”

His £30,000 car has never been recovered, leading Mr Harris to write a formal complaint to the Chief Constable.

“I hope the report makes the police buck up their ideas and get involved,” Mr Harris added.

“I hope it stops our area becoming a place where criminals commit crime because they know it probably won’t be investigated.

“I find it pretty sad that this is the case especially when you read that a lot of these people are victims of violent crime like domestic violence.

“It is unbelievable when you think about it.”

Mr Harris claimed he was told by police to put the CCTV footage on social media, and inform them if he received any feedback.

He received a written apology from the Assistant Chief Constable and a senior police officer from the force’s Bury branch, after sending a complaint about the way the case had been handled.

“I had four people apologising to me but not one police officer who could investigate my case,” Mr Harris said.

“I think it just wasn’t that important as far as they were concerned. I never got my car back. It was shambolic the way they dealt with it.”

A spokeswoman for GMP confirmed that the investigation remains open for this case.

Asghar Butt

Taxi driver, Asghar Butt said he felt ‘scared’ after GMP refused to pursue an investigation when his cab was broken into.

Like Mr Harris, he had clear CCTV footage which showed the thieves, and their number plate.

The dad-of-two said the theft, which happened outside his home in Longsight on July 26 this year, left his whole family feeling vulnerable.

Responding to the damning police inspectorate report, Mr Butt said: “This sort of thing has happened many times to me as a taxi driver, but when you ring the police they say they are too busy and not coming.

“I was very frustrated that time in July when I sent all the relevant evidence over to the police. I had done a lot of the work for them.”

The theft saw two mobile phones stolen, along with £140 cash, half of which was in a charity box, and Mr Butt’s sat nav.

But after reporting the crime and twice speaking to his local police station, Asghar received a message informing him there would be no investigation due to their ‘COVID crime screening policy’ as it ‘does not involve threat, risk, harm or vulnerability or likely public interest factors’.

“It doesn’t feel nice to be ignored,” he added.

“GMP should be investigating all the crimes as those offenders are going to go on to bigger crimes.

“If they don’t catch the criminals of the petty crimes they are just going to keep offending. Then this will escalate and they’ll move on to worse crimes.”

A spokesman for GMP said: “The case concerning Asghar Butt was re-opened but has since been closed with Mr Butt being informed of the decision when it was made and of the reasons why.”

‘GMP always regret when a victim of crime feels let down’

The force issued the following statement on Friday afternoon about the report.

Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling said: “GMP always regret when a victim of crime feels let down by us and I understand their frustration.

“The challenge we have is that our demands are much greater now than has ever been the case and our resources are much more stretched. Unfortunately, that means we cannot offer the level of service which the public often expects.

“The harsh reality is that we must select how we utilise our resources and that means we cannot investigate every crime to the extent we would wish. This means that some crimes are investigated over the phone without an officer being deployed. We have to make decisions based on threat, harm and risk. We understand why the public find this disappointing at times but we must prioritise.

“Of course, this means we should remain professional at all times, we should keep the promises we make and we should keep people informed about cases. Where there is a higher risk or threat, then this is where we should focus our resource. Where this has not happened, it is unacceptable and we apologise.

“Supporting victims is always at the forefront of everything we do, and we will continue to act on any learnings to secure the best possible outcomes for victims going forward.”


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