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Daughters of murdered Bury St Edmunds woman, Mary Griffiths, to take civil claim to High Court

PUBLISHED: 20:00 03 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:00 04 November 2017

Mary Griffiths. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Mary Griffiths. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Archant

The daughters of a Bury St Edmunds woman who was murdered eight years ago will take a civil claim to the High Court of Justice next week.

John McFarlane was jailed for life for the murder. John McFarlane was jailed for life for the murder.

Mary Griffiths was shot dead in her home in front of her daughters by John McFarlane after he broke into her home in May 2009.

Jessica, Hannah and Sophie Griffiths are making a civil claim for damages against Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) and Suffolk Constabulary.

The case will be heard in the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice from Wednesday.

McFarlane is serving 30 years for the murder of the 38-year-old after he used an axe to break into her home in Bulrush Crescent in the early hours of May 6, shooting her repeatedly with a bolt-gun in front of her three children.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission was called on to investigate the contact between the mother-of-three and police in the hours before her murder in Bury St Edmunds.

She had called police on a non-emergency number to say she was concerned about the behaviour of McFarlane.

Police decided not to dispatch an officer but arranged to meet up with her in the morning.

IPCC commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said in her report that while the call was graded correctly, an officer should have been dispatched at the earliest opportunity on May 5.

McFarlane had been under the care of the then Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and had been assessed as being of no significant risk to others just three days before the murder.

An independent NHS Midlands and East report identified “some weaknesses” in the care, but concluded that “her tragic murder could not have been predicted.”

A spokesman for NSFT said: “The trust has the utmost sympathy for the three claimants who lost their mother in the most tragic of circumstances and we understand that this has been incredibly difficult for them.

“The trust is defending the claim on the basis of independent medical expert evidence from a specialist outside the trust who had advised that none of the trust’s staff were negligent in their treatment of Mr McFarlane prior to the murder of Mrs Griffiths.”

Suffolk police confirmed the force are co-defendants in the case.

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