Wrongful arrest case not proven but deemed unnecessary

Three officers have been cleared of wrongly arresting a woman just weeks after her family was shot dead with guns previously seized by police.

Jul 13, 2017

Three officers have been cleared of wrongly arresting a woman just weeks after her family was shot dead with guns previously seized by police. Stacy Banner was arrested on suspicion of burglary in 2014 shortly after her mother and sister, Christine and Lucy Lee, were killed by stepfather John Lowe. Mrs Banner alleged that she was wrongly detained and that concerns over a lack of evidence were ignored, leading to misconduct and gross misconduct cases against three Surrey Police officers. A panel has now found a detective sergeant had sufficient evidence to arrest Mrs Banner but failed to ensure witness statements were taken first, making her arrest unnecessary. He has been given management advice. The cases against the other two officers were not proven. Chief Superintendent Helen Collins said: “The complaints have been thoroughly investigated and the evidence carefully considered at misconduct hearings involving three officers. “We are still in a period where the detective sergeant can choose whether or not to appeal the findings and therefore will not be commenting further.” Weapons were seized from Lowe in 2013 but they were returned three months later after an investigation into alleged threats to kill was discontinued. The following year, he used one of the firearms to murder former partner Ms Lee and her daughter at his puppy farm in Farnham. In April, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found Surrey Police failed to take “simple investigative steps” that would have stopped the weapons being returned to Lowe. As well as complaining about her arrest Mrs Banner criticised the actions of family liaison officers assigned to her in the aftermath of the murder. She claimed there was a delay in informing her that her family had been formally identified and that her visit to see their bodies was “inadequate and unprofessional”. The IPCC found no officers had cases to answer for misconduct and none of the allegations were upheld. Associate commissioner Tom Milsom said: “The role of a family liaison officer is a particularly challenging one for officers given the inevitably tragic circumstances in which they are trying to build a relationship with families and loved ones of the deceased. “The communications between Stacy and the family liaison specialists indicate that their relationship functioned relatively smoothly and that Stacy’s concerns were not raised at the time and nor had Surrey Police picked up any intimations she was unhappy with them.”

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