Three year wait for Charito Cruz murder report

Charito Cruz was killed in September 2011

Charito Cruz was killed in September 2011

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy editor

A crucial report into the brutal murder of a mother at the hands of her partner looks unlikely to be published before the third anniversary of her death.

Charito Cruz, 37, was killed by Asad Niazi in September 2011, after he beat her repeatedly over the head with a hammer in front of their infant daughter at their home in Cambridge Road, Kingston.

A domestic homicide review (DHR) was set up to investigate events leading up to the death, amid claims both police and social service managers failed to properly intervene despite numerous warnings.

Before Ms Cruz died, Niazi spent a night in police custody after smashing up her phone with the same hammer he later killed her with.

In January 2013, whistleblower Olivia Butler, former head of social care at Kingston Council, told the BBC Ms Cruz had twice been referred to the council by the NSPCC, amid concerns for her daughter.

This Is Local London: Asad Niazi said he had "lost control" and should be cleared of murder but the jury rejected his defence

Asad Niazi is serving a life sentence for Ms Cruz's murder

A report commissioned by Ms Butler found one social services manager did not think the referral was serious enough to warrant a visit.

The night Ms Cruz died, a manager had taken the referrals home to read.

Computer records within social services were then altered to "cover up the lack of action and proper response”, Ms Butler claimed.

Shortly after Ms Cruz’s death, domestic violence campaigner Davina James Hanman was appointed to chair the DHR, which was adjourned until the conclusion of Niazi’s murder trial. Niazi was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum of 12 years, in December 2012.

In February 2013, Ms James-Hanman told the Surrey Comet her investigation would be “fearless” and would be completed within three or four months.

But this week she admitted publication had been delayed due to family issues of her own.

She said: "I have submitted the final version with just a few minor points to be clarified so as far as I am aware it is with the Community Safety Partnership and/or the Home Office now.

"I happen to know that the Home Office schedule is such that the first meeting at which it could be considered is September but it may well not make it until the October meeting or even November, depending on the number of reports submitted between now and then.

"I do know that Kingston Council is keen to conclude the process and publish it."

Councillor Andrea Craig, lead member for children, youth and adultt learning, said: "Until that report is published, the family will not have closure, and we won't know what it is we need to improve."

New council leader Conservative councillor Kevin Davis said: "Until I see what the report says, I have no idea whether or not there were failings."

Comments (1)

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2:39pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Imigrante says...

The life of this lady and mother of a toddler should have been saved, if not for the incompetence of the social services of the council who were looking into her case.

If there were indeed alteration or cover up of records, someone should be held responsible for this...
The life of this lady and mother of a toddler should have been saved, if not for the incompetence of the social services of the council who were looking into her case. If there were indeed alteration or cover up of records, someone should be held responsible for this... Imigrante
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