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Hollie Kerrell murder: Documentary sends vital message to others

By Sue Austin | Mid Wales | News | Published:

Women and their friends and family must be aware of the eight warning signs that abusers typically display before killing their partner, police and a criminology expert have said.

A documentary outlining the Dyfed-Powys Police investigation into a the murder of 28 year old Hollie Kerrell, from Knucklas on the Shropshire border was broadcast last night on White Ribbon Day, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Murdered by My Husband revealed how the police investigation led to Chris Kerrell pleading guilty to the murder of his recently estranged wife at her home in April last year.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 25 years.

Dr Jane Monckton-Smith

Pioneering research by former police officer turned criminologist Dr Jane Monckton-Smith, who was in mid Wales yesterday to join Dyfed Powys police in its campaign, shows the signs that escalate from previous convictions or track record, to abuse to murder.

She wants the public to recognise the signs and take action.

"We have noticed time and time again a pattern repeated and repeated through domestic violence.

"It is so important that this is recognised early on so that the pattern can be stopped before it is too late.

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"I want to get across that this behaviour is never the victim's fault and also how dangerous it is not only for the woman but for any children. If friends and family notice the signs they must say something."

She said the eight potential stages were:

  • Pre-relationship history
  • An early relationship involving love, possessiveness and jealousy
  • Coercive control
  • Triggers such as separation, financial problems or mental or physical illness
  • Escalation into suicide threats, begging, violence and stalking
  • A change in thinking
  • Planning
  • Homicide

Head of Public Protection, Detective Superintendent Anthony Griffiths, said: “Hollie’s murder was a tragedy that left three young children without their doting mother. Until her murder, very little was known about her husband’s controlling behaviour.

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"Things got a lot worse when Hollie attempted to end the relationship and tragically resulted in her murder.

"We have worked closely with Crime and Investigation and Dr Jane Monckton-Smith, with permission from Hollie’s family, to highlight her story in the hope that it helps other women recognise the signs that could lead to homicide.

“Dyfed-Powys Police is now working closely with Dr Monckton-Smith, to embed her eight stages of domestic homicide within the policing response to improve the way we identify and protect victims of domestic abuse at the earliest possible stage.

“What I would really like most is for the public to be able to recognise these stages as it is their intervention or action that could make the real difference.

"If after watching this programme, someone recognises the signs that can lead to an increased risk of homicide in their own relationship, or that of a friend or family member, then please, do something about it.

"Whether that is reporting it to the police, or speaking to the person affected about what they are going through or seeking advice and support from various agencies out there such as Hafan Cymru, Women’s Aid or the Live Fear Free Helpline 0808 8010 800."

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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