Police missed chance to prevent mother-of-five’s murder, family claims

The family of Sherrie Milnes, a 51-year-old mother-of-five, has claimed that police missed an opportunity to prevent her tragic death. Milnes was found dead in her Weymouth flat on April 1, 2021, after being killed by her former partner, Steven Doughty, aged 54. Doughty was discovered dead at his home on the same day, having taken his own life. Bournemouth’s inquest heard that Milnes died from neck compression and multiple stab wounds. Her family described her as a person who was loved by everyone, with a passion for life and a wicked sense of humour.

The day before her death, Milnes had contacted the police to report that Doughty was harassing her. Her family expressed their belief that call handlers failed to note phrases that should have raised the log to a higher priority. They argued that if the police had provided “advice” to Doughty, the devastating outcome might have been avoided. Milnes, a healthcare assistant, had separated from Doughty three times before finally leaving him on February 25, 2021, due to a new relationship.

“Steve would always pursue Sherrie to get her back, using phone calls, text messages, sending flowers and gifts,” the family’s statement said.

Holly, Milnes’s daughter, revealed that Doughty had continuously messaged her mother and had been blocked on social media. She also noticed him sitting in his car outside their home, checking if her mother had gone to work. Holly mentioned that Doughty had contacted Samaritans, as he was struggling to cope with the breakup. A friend of Doughty’s also testified that he was “broken and distraught.”

Detective Sergeant Richard Winn from Dorset Police stated that CCTV footage showed Doughty entering Milnes’s home on the day she died and spending around an hour there. Blood analysis from Doughty’s clothes indicated he had been kneeling over her when she was stabbed. The inquest heard that he had searched the internet for suicide methods and left a note “asking for forgiveness” for the “s***storm I have caused.”

Winn said that if Doughty had not died, he would have been charged with murder. “I think the intention was to get back together with Sherrie in his mindset and, because it was established that couldn’t happen, then if Steve couldn’t be in a relationship with Sherrie then no one else could either,” he explained.

The inquest is ongoing.

World News

Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.

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