More police mistakes in case of ‘bubbly and funny’ Emma who fell from window

An independent review into how police handled the case of a 33-year-old – who died after reporting being poisoned – has identified additional mistakes.

Emma Fraser, from Sudbury, suffered severe head injuries after coming out of a second-floor window in Halstead, Essex, on June 28 last year.

Essex Police, which investigated the incident, apologised earlier this year after an internal professional standards investigation found a crime scene should have been established after Miss Fraser reported being poisoned.

Now, a review into a complaint by Miss Fraser’s family over Essex Police’s handling of the case has been carried out by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Miss Fraser’s family, which launched a fight for answers after the former Sudbury Upper School pupil’s death, said: “Our aim for the last 15 months has never changed and that is justice for Emma, now we can move forward.

“After more than a year of going through the complaints process and review we feel it is now time for action.”

Her mother Cheryl added: “It’s time to investigate the death of my daughter and give our family the answers they deserve.”

Police, who said their thoughts and deepest condolences are with Miss Fraser’s family, say their investigations found no evidence to suggest third-party involvement and reviews suggested officers had explored all reasonable lines of enquiry.

They said they had “identified points of learning in respect to the investigation and accept that enquiries could have been started sooner”.

The IOPC review was partially upheld as the Essex force had already admitted to some failings in their investigation, with the actions of a senior officer who decided to close the crime scene considered “unacceptable” by a professional standards probe in April.

IOPC complaints officer Shireece Webster said it was clear a crime scene should have been maintained and recommended that the force go further and put the officer involved through additional training on what constitutes a Domestic Safety Incident (DSi).

An inquest into Miss Fraser’s death in November, which a coroner ruled was drug-related, heard there were four people in the flat she shared with ex-partner and friend Rachael Ward during the evening of June 27.

Essex Coroner’s Court was told the pair smoked cannabis before Miss Fraser began acting strangely. She started vomiting, called police to say she had been poisoned, and later appeared to apologise for her behaviour, saying she thought she needed sectioning.

Just before 1am, she fell from a second-floor window and suffered a serious brain injury from which she died the next day.

The IOPC review also concluded that the outcomes of a further two aspects of Miss Fraser’s family’s complaint were not reasonable or proportionate.

Essex Police has been asked to apologise to Miss Fraser’s family and staff reminded about accuracy over a press release issued on Monday, July 29, a day after the 33-year-old’s death.

Ms Webster’s report, shared with this newspaper, concludes that the information contained within the press release was “misleading” as it suggested third-party involvement had been ruled out at that stage.

“It is clear that initially, this could have involved some suspicious activity in relation to the allegation of poisoning and as a result, the press release should have reflected this element,” she wrote.

Ms Webster said that while she appreciates CCTV is typically held for 28 days, she recommended that the officer tasked with requesting it in Miss Fraser’s case is “reminded of the need to prioritise CCTV enquiries” to ensure it can be secured as soon as possible.

She wrote in her report that she considered the failure to secure CCTV should be upheld as the level of service was “unacceptable”.

A police spokesman added: “We accept the recommendations made in the IOPC’s report and the learning identified and are ensuring that will be put in place.

“We once again offer our deepest sympathies to Miss Fraser’s family and to everyone who has been affected by the pain of losing her in such tragic circumstances.”

Miss Fraser’s family added that they remain unhappy with the outcome of the initial investigation and want the case reopened, adding: “We will not stop until this is achieved.”

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