Police officer sacked after she 'failed' woman murdered by husband

Stonebridge fire victim Denise Michelle Keane-Barnett-Simmons. Picture: Met Police

Denise Keane-Barnett - Credit: Archant

A police officer has been sacked after being found not to have investigated allegations made by a woman who was later murdered by her estranged husband.

Denise Keane-Barnett was killed by Damion Simmons at her home in Alric Avenue, Stonebridge on April 16 2020.

Simmons, who was 45 at the time of sentencing, was jailed for 32 years in October after being found guilty of murder and arson with intent to endanger life.

Following an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation, an independently chaired disciplinary panel found PC Sandeep Khunkhun failed to investigate allegations Denise made about Simmons.

Police were first informed of domestic abuse allegations by Denise against Simmons in January 2020, the IOPC said.

The panel found PC Khunkhun failed to complete actions given to her by her sergeant.

This included seeing if Denise was willing to support a prosecution and examining a lightbulb containing a camera for forensic evidence, which Denise believed Simmons had installed in her bedroom. 

Damion Simmons image

Damion Simmons was jailed for 32 years in October - Credit: CPS

Interviewing Simmons and seizing and downloading his phone were also part of the action plan.

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On three occasions she cancelled interviews with Simmons and did not interview or arrest him before sending the case for closure on April 6. The case was closed on April 7.

The panel rejected the record PC Khunkhun made on March 30, that Denise told her she did not wish to substantiate the allegations.

The IOPC said three days after PC Khunkhun was assigned the case, Denise gave a statement saying she fully supported police action and wanted her husband arrested.

IOPC regional director for London, Sal Naseem, said: "Our thoughts remain with Ms Keane-Barnett’s friends and family and all of those affected by her tragic death.

"PC Khunkhun failed to follow reasonable lines of enquiry, which had been set by a supervisor and to ensure appropriate safeguarding was put in place. 

“PC Khunkhun failed Ms Keane-Barnett in a shocking dereliction of her duties as a police officer.

“Her conduct breached the police professional standards of duties and responsibilities and as a result she has been dismissed without notice and will be placed on the barred list preventing her from working for the police in future.”