On the 8th August 2019, Mrs Zeyna Partington was reported as missing from her home in Oldham by her family who were deeply concerned about her welfare. She had experienced difficulties with her mental health and had suffered depression and anxiety for some time prior.
Sadly, on the 10th August, Mrs Partington was discovered in an area on the outskirts of Glossop, Derbyshire, deceased.
At the time she went missing, Greater Manchester Police were alerted to the fact she was missing and that she had left her mobile phone and belongings at home. They also informed the police that the last time she went missing she was located, but she was preparing to take her own life. Officers were also advised that she suffered with severe depression and anxiety.
Following her death, an inquest was opened by HM Senior Coroner for Manchester North, Ms Joanne Kearsley.
Evidence was heard from a number of witnesses from Greater Manchester Police and Derbyshire Constabulary. The inquest heard about the police response to a report of missing persons, and what action is set about following specific risk level of incidents. It was found that “GMP knew or ought to have known of a real of immediate risk to life to Zeyna on the 8th August 2019”.
The Court found that by the evening of the 8th August, based on the information GMP had, Mrs Partington should have been deemed a ‘high risk’ missing person, something that GMP had not escalated from the initial ‘medium risk’.
HM Coroner also heard in this case about the Police grading system for vehicle ANPR checks, including:
how that is managed;
what type of response is made by Greater Manchester Police and Derbyshire Constabulary and;
the expectation of understanding of police ‘markers’ on vehicles – known as ACT markers.
Each force reacts and manages the system differently, something that could cause confusion in similar incidents. Ms Kearsley found that, had the vehicle marker been set higher as it should have been by GMP, Derbyshire Police would have responded differently and, on the balance of probabilities, likely to have found her vehicle and Mrs Partington sooner.
Having heard the evidence HM Coroner found it necessary to make a Regulation 28 report to prevent future deaths from occurring in the future. This report, addressed to GMP and the National College of Policing, covered the ACT Markers both in terms of the new system (which she heard had been delayed) but also the proactive use of the system currently in Derbyshire (which she felt was entirely sensible.)
This report is also intended to highlight a concern over the potential lack of knowledge and understanding as to ACT Markers and the very real impact that can have in missing from home enquiries.
The family were represented throughout the inquest by our inquest team who managed to secure public funding for their representation.
This case has been reported in the press here:
Urgent police appeal over missing woman who left home without her mobile or banks cards – Manchester Evening News
Police slammed as coroner finds that officers should have done more to find tragic missing mum – Manchester Evening News
If you would like some information about the inquest process or are looking for representation at an upcoming inquest, speak to a member of our team in confidence on 0333 331 5776 or contact us by email.