Review launched following the murder of David Edwards by his abusive wife
A review has been launched to see what lessons can be learned from the tragic death of solicitor David Edwards, who mas murdered by his abusive wife.
The father-of-one was stabbed to death at his home in Parkers Wood Close, Chorley, by his new bride Sharon Edwards, 42, who had previous convictions for attacking male partners.
A post mortem examination found the criminal defence solicitor had around 60 injuries, including other stab wounds. Although they had only been together just over a year, his friends and colleagues had witnessed a catalogue of injuries and incidents.
The night before his death the couple were driven home by police officers after the mum-of-four was seen screaming at him in the street outside a pub.
In the months before his death he had attended A&E departments with various injuries but declined to make a police complaint.
The Chorley and South Ribble Community Safety Partnership has now launched a Domestic Homicide Review.
Reviews are launched in every domestic murder in Lancashire, but the case of Mr Edwards has attracted particular attention due to the under-reporting of domestic violence against men.
The partnership, which is made up of councils, health professionals and representatives from Lancashire County Council, probation, fire service, police, housing providers, the voluntary sector, and the Office of the Police and Crime Commission started the review in October, three months after Mr Edwards was stabbed to death at his home, and is currently continuing as Sharon Edwards serves a 20-year life sentence after being found guilty of his murder.
The review aims to establish what lessons are to be learned from a domestic homicide, particularly regarding the way in which professionals and organisations work individually and together to safeguard victims, how and within what timescales they will be acted on, and what is expected to change.
It is hoped the answers will shape future responses by services like the police and health professionals, improve how they work together, and ultimately help prevent other domestic violence, abuse and homicide incidents.
Sadly, to many, the idea of battered men evokes comic-strip images of wives wielding rolling pins, and the notion domestic violence against men could be widespread seems ridiculous.
“It is a factor that stops many men from revealing what is happening to them.
But figures suggest one in six men experiences abuse in their lifetime.
Mark Brooks, chairman of Mankind, says the charity saw a 50 per cent spike in calls in the days after Sharon Edwards was convicted and jailed.
Today he said: “The organisations involved should investigate and make public the review.
“I would like to know why different agencies involved or aware of the plight of Mr Edwards failed to intervene in helping him to escape the relationship, or to ensure the crimes were reported, even as a third party, when it was clear crimes were being committed against him.
“Its not a blaming exercise, but there are important questions that need to be answered.
“In the aftermath of the case we had a noticeable increase in calls from men – including many with distinctive Lancastrian accents – and women such as mums and sisters who were concerned for men.”
The organisation estimates that around 5,000 men across Lancashire make reports to police about violence from partners a year – but that is the tip of the iceberg.
Coun Paul Walmsley, who is responsible for community safety for Chorley Council, said: “Following the tragic death of Mr Edwards, the multi-agency community safety partnership of which we’re part has launched a detailed review of all the partners’ procedures.
“The aim of this is to learn any lessons there might be and if necessary to change the way we work together to ensure the best way we can help victims of domestic violence and abuse and their children.
“It is vital that all agencies have in place, all the support mechanisms, procedures, resources and interventions in the hope we can avoid future incidents of domestic homicide and violence.”