Sussex Police says ‘lessons learned’ from Shana Grice case after TV documentary highlights failings

Sussex Police said ‘many lessons’ had been learned by the force after the death of Shana Grice, who was fined for wasting police time after reporting the stalker who would go on to murder her.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 11:18 am
Shana Grice (Photograph: Sussex Police)

The force has released a statement after a new Sky documentary, Murder in Slow Motion: The Shana Grice Story, renewed public interest in the case.

It tells the story of how 19-year-old Shana from Portslade was stalked by her ex-boyfriend Michael Lane for months and reported his behaviour to police five times.

On once occasion she was fined £90 for wasting police time.

Lane brutally murdered her in her home in 2016 and was later jailed for life.

Sussex Police said in a statement: “We are aware of renewed public interest in the murder of Shana Grice following a television documentary.

“We have long accepted we made mistakes in this tragic case and again apologise for the failures highlighted.

“What happened should not have happened and we have learned many lessons.

“We have since invested more resource, delivered better training and improved processes to prevent this from happening to anyone else.

“We are committed to protecting our communities and to preventing violence, sexual violence and controlling behaviour against women and girls.

“Since they were introduced in January 2020, Sussex Police has issued more Stalking Protection Orders than anywhere else in the country.”

The force’s response to Shana’s case was subject to a number of independent reviews by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, Brighton & Hove Safe In the City Partnership and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire Service (HMICFRS).

Sussex Police said: “We have undertaken all of the recommendations made.

“Three police officers faced misconduct hearings and a further three police officers and three members of police staff received management advice and training.

“Of the three that underwent hearings, one case of gross misconduct was found proved, one was not, and the third faced internal proceedings and was given a final written warning for conduct.”

In 2019, former PC Trevor Godfrey was found to have committed misconduct by failing to properly investigate the case.

He faced no further action, having retired form the force two years earlier.

Police urged women to report incidents of stalking to them.

“We remain committed to further improvements and we encourage women to come forward with the knowledge that our officers and staff are better trained and will take all reports seriously,” the spokesman said.

“You can report stalking or harassment online, by calling 101 or in person at your local police station.

“Always call 999 if you are in danger.

“Many support services for women are available in Sussex and these can be found on the Sussex Safe Space website.”

Shana Grice case: A timeline

February 2016 - Ms Grice approached police with concerns she was being stalked by Michael Lane

March 2016 - Sussex Police were contacted regarding an alleged assault on Miss Grice by Mr Lane.

During the police investigation it was revealed Miss Grice had been in a relationship with Mr Lane and she was subsequently fined for wasting police time.

July 2016 - Ms Grice reported Mr Lane to police for stealing her house key, entering her home and entering her bedroom as she slept.

Mr Lane was arrested and given a police caution for theft of the key.

July 2016 - The next day Miss Grice called the police again after receiving a number of missed calls from a withheld number.

It was later established by Sussex Police these calls came from Mr Lane’s home but Miss Grice was not informed.

July 2016 - Miss Grice complained to Sussex Police Mr Lane had followed her to work.

She was told an officer would deal with this, and told the same information when she called later for an update.

August 2016 - Mr Lane entered her home and murdered her