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Shana Grice: Officer guilty of misconduct over death of teen murdered by ex

Shana Grice was fined for wasting police time when she made allegations of harassment and stalking against her would-be killer.

An ex-PC has been found guilty of misconduct after failing to properly investigate a teenager’s claims she was being harassed by an ex-boyfriend who later killed her.

Trevor Godfrey was told he would have been sacked had he not already retired over his involvement in the case.

Ms Grice’s parents sat through Mr Godfrey’s hearing and called it a “sham” after the verdict was read out.

Their 19-year-old daughter was murdered by Michael Lane at her home in Brighton on 25 August 2016.

It later emerged she had reported her former boyfriend to police five times in six months.

She was fined for wasting officers’ time after it emerged she misled them in initially failing to disclose the pair had previously been in a relationship.

The case was closed before her pleas for help were properly investigated.

Godfrey failed to adequately investigate allegations of harassment and stalking, a misconduct panel found in Lewes.

He was found to have breached police rules by failing to treat Ms Grice as a victim.

Panel chairwoman Victoria Goodfellow, recording the decision, said: “While clearly serious matters, they are not enough to mean gross misconduct.

“We do not attribute any blame on Shana.”

There was little emotion shown from either Godfrey or Ms Grice’s family.

Mr Godfrey was a police constable tasked with investigating an allegation of common assault on 25 March 2016, the hearing was told.

Ms Grice had claimed Lane chased and made physical contact with her while taking her phone from her ear.

The teenager made a number of other allegations against Lane during an interview, including that he had sent her unsolicited flowers and had made numerous attempts to contact her.

Lane told Mr Godfrey after he was arrrested that the pair were actually in a relationship, and provided details of mobile phone messages between the couple which backed his story.

Ms Grice later confessed they were having an affair behind the back of her then-boyfriend Ashley Cooke.

Godfrey, during an 84-second phone call to Ms Grice, informed her she would be fined for wasting police time over the harassment allegations – a decision ratified by police bosses.

The police officer stood by the decision when giving evidence to the misconduct panel.

He said: “She (Ms Grice) lied to police three times. It was only right I advised her she cannot keep lying in police statements and getting people arrested for it.”

James Berry, counsel presenting the case against Godfrey, also accused the former police officer of applying an inaccurate stereotype to Ms Grice that she could not be at risk from a man she was in a relationship with.

Godfrey replied: “No. It may be the case (applying stereotypes) for other people, I don’t have those views.”

He added: “There was no history of violence between them, there was no evidence of violence, or risk, at that time.”

Godfrey said there was no sign of Ms Grice being harassed, something she had previously accused Lane of.

She later admitted to police that him being outside her house late at night was because she had arranged the meeting behind the back of then-boyfriend Mr Cooke.

Mr Godfrey said: “She would be signing her texts (to Lane) with five kisses. This is not harassment. It was a smokescreen to disguise her affair.”

The police officer also said there was therefore “no reason” to supply Ms Grice with safety advice regarding her relationship with Lane.

He said: “She was in an active relationship with him for six months. I can honestly say, hand on heart, there was nothing there to suggest she was in any form of danger whatsoever.”

Mr Berry, summing up the case against Godfrey, said the former officer “did not show the expected level of diligence” when dealing with Ms Grice’s allegation against Lane.

He said there was a “serious failing” in Godfrey not filling out a risk assessment form following this incident

Ms Grice’s parents Sharon Grice and Richard Green said in a statement after the verdict was read out: “We can barely believe what we have witnessed these past two days.

“The panel allowed a wholesale character assassination of our daughter, who is obviously not here to defend herself.”

The statement added: “The misconduct charge is a joke and the hearing a sham.

“Had Godfrey not retired, he would be allowed to carry on serving as a police officer. What message does this give to other officers? Even more importantly, what message does it send to victims? We are disgusted and feel thoroughly let down by the process. There is no justice.”

Lane, 27, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 25 years after being convicted of her murder.

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