Radio Sandwell Local News

Natasha Trevis: The missed chances to save tragic mum

2014-12-16 11:07:38

How police and social workers failed to spot danger signs before Junior Saleem Oakes turned to murder

Natasha Trevis
Natasha with her children

NATASHA: MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

• Police first encountered Junior Saleem Oakes in 2000 during a domestic assault on two siblings. There was no formal complaint and the case was closed.

• In 2003 he was cautioned for an assault on his then partner and there were also threats to kill.

• Between 2004 and 2006 Oakes was at centre of a string of police incidents, arrests and cautions over threats to kill, possession of a knife and harassment. There were also convictions for common assault and possession of cannabis.

Junior Saleem Oakes
Killer Junior Saleem Oakes

There was a further drugs conviction in 2008 and a 'serious incident' of harassment and criminal damage involving his ex-partner. A warrant was issued but he was not arrested for two years.

• The first contact with police and social care involving Natasha was in August 2010 when she told police Oakes had hit her and injured her neck and face. They had been separated and Oakes threatened to run away with their two children.

• Two days later he was arrested over this incident and the one in 2008 but he made counter allegations. Officers decided that with neither victim willing to cooperate there was 'no chance of a conviction'.

• Although Natasha and the two children were being monitored by social workers and health services, there was no evidence of information sharing between them. Oakes had been present during home visits and there was no exploration of domestic violence.

• In January 2012 a second assault was reported. Natasha reported being in fear of Oakes and his controlling behaviour, including removing her mobile phone and threats to take the children or blow up the house. A few days later she withdrew her formal complaint. The children were rated as at 'medium risk'.

• In June 2012 a child protection conference involving the couple, social workers and specialist professionals was held - but police were not invited. The couple were asked to attend separate domestic violence courses.

• In July Natasha and her children were staying at a hotel after reporting homeless. Visiting social workers saw her and they asked about her welfare following a recent abortion. Unknown to them Oakes had been tracking her down and had overheard the comment.

DAMNING CONCLUSIONS:

• There was poor communication and information sharing between social workers, police, GPs, health visitors, housing and nursery services.

• Crucially Oakes' criminal background was overlooked and the level of danger he posed underestimated. His history of substance misuse was also not addressed by child protection teams.

• Key social worker dealing with the children in 2012 had not undergone specific domestic violence training.

• Oakes was present at child protection meetings and health visits, this "served to reinforce his control and disempower the victim as she was not in a position to express her views freely".

The report stated: "The overall conclusion has to be that the victim, who had reported her fears and concerns, was not really listened to or heard by the agencies."

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