Police watchdog slammed over delayed reports on errors that left Wrexham murderer free to kill
A former MP has criticised a police watchdog after it revealed it still wasn’t ready to produce full reports into errors that led to a prisoner on licence brutally killing a vulnerable man.
Former Wrexham MP Ian Lucas stepped down from Parliament in December last year but retains a keen interest in the case of 67 year-old former wine bar owner Nicholas Churton, who was murdered by crazed killer Jordan Davidson in March 2017.
Davidson, on prison release licence at the time, then went on an orgy of violence and robbery before being snared heroically by two North Wales Police officers.
It emerged he’d come into contact with North Wales Police on eight occasions before he murdered the pensioner.
He was arrested on four of those occasions, one of those for threatening four men with a knife, but was still not sent back to jail.
Davidson, originally sentenced in November 2017, is almost two-and-a-half years into serving a 30-year sentence for Mr Churton’s murder and 12 other offences of robbery and violence.
Police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said in November last year it would release its report into reasons why Davidson was not returned to prison before the killing, after the misconduct hearing of a police sergeant had been heard.
That officer was accused of “not carrying out an adequate assessment of available information prior to Davidson’s release on bail after he had been arrested for possession of a bladed article”.
That officer was cleared of misconduct six weeks ago but the IOPC still says the report is not ready for publication, almost two years after it was started.
The delay in publishing the full findings of that, and another report into police interaction with Mr Churton, has incensed former Labour MP Mr Lucas, who even raised the matter in Parliament during his tenure.
He said: “I think it’s a disgrace that more than three years after the death of Mr Churton the report has still not been released and the public still do not know the full story.
“It simply confirms the concerns I have had of a cover up of the details of this.
“There were glaring errors made when Davidson was released and while Davidson is obviously responsible for Mr Churton’s death that was one of the factors that led to Mr Churton’s death.
“It should never be allowed to happen again but unfortunately it doesn’t appear that people have learned their lesson.”
An IOPC spokeswoman said: “Our investigation reports relating to prior North Wales Police contact with Nicholas Churton and Jordan Davidson are not being held back.
“We have obligations to consider the comprehensive reports under relevant legislation including on data protection grounds.
“We also need to liaise with interested parties and consider any representations ahead of publication.
“This is our usual process and is under way. The outcomes of our investigations have already been shared with relevant parties including Mr Churton’s family, North Wales Police and the National Probation Service.
“We have previously issued substantial information including findings and some detail from these investigations on our website, and we are working to publish our full reports as soon as possible.”
In November last year the IOPC called on “North Wales Police, the National Probation Service (NPS) and the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) to improve their information sharing as a matter of priority following the murder of Nicholas Churton”.
It also said the reports would be published at the “conclusion of the outstanding misconduct proceedings”.
Supt Nick Evans of North Wales Police confirmed the final meeting had taken place. He said: “The misconduct meeting took place on March 2 (this year).
“The chair of the meeting found that the conduct did not amount to misconduct and therefore no further action will be taken.”
Two police officers were previously disciplined for “unsatisfactory performance” over the case.
A third investigation by the IOPC, into claims former chief constable Mark Polin had misled Mr Lucas, found Mr Polin had not “deliberately misled” the former MP.
Mr Churton’s family have been critical of North Wales Police and the probation service’s handling of the killer.
The victim’s sister Jo Bowen-Jones and brother James Churton received a written apology from the force in December last year.
There has been no such acknowledgement from Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, formerly the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), regarding the failings surrounding the management of Davidson.
A confidential report by NOMS into the privately owned Wales Community Rehabilitation Company, which was supposed to be managing Davidson’s release, has never been published. The company went into administration in March 2019.
By Jez Hemming – Local Democracy Reporter
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