THE Independent Police Complaints Commission’s final report into Staffordshire Police’s investigation of the Kevin Nunes murder has now been published in full.
Although the report makes it clear that there is no evidence of corruption or criminality in the actions of Staffordshire Police officers, it has highlighted significant police failures by a number of senior officers who are no longer with the force.
Kevin Nunes was shot dead in 2002 in what was described as a ‘gang-land killing’ over drugs.
Levi Walker, from Birmingham, Adam Joof, from Willenhall, Antonio Christie, from Great Bridge, Michael Osbourne and Owen Crooks, both from Wolverhampton, were convicted of the murder in 2008.
However, in 2012 they had their convictions for murder quashed when it emerged police paid £15,000 to a protected witness who was allegedly committing crimes.
In July, Mr Christie and Mr Walker were awarded a pay out by Staffordshire Police for their wrongful convictions; a total of £200,000 was paid out.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has previously recommended disciplinary proceedings be brought against four former Staffordshire Police officers who have since been promoted: retired chief constables Suzette Davenport (Gloucestershire), Adrian Lee (Northamptonshire) and Jane Sawyers (Staffordshire), together with Marcus Beale, who is still serving with West Midlands Police. But March in 2016 it was confirmed none of them would face a hearing.
In relation the report today, Chief Constable Gareth Morgan, said: “Since becoming Chief Constable, I have read in detail the IPCC report outlining their findings into Staffordshire Police’s investigation of the murder of Kevin Nunes in 2002. I have also had the opportunity to review associated reports and correspondence relating to Staffordshire Police.
“It is clear that following a lengthy process, both the CPS and IPCC found no evidence of corruption or criminality in the actions of Staffordshire Police. However, significant police failures were highlighted, for which, on behalf of the Force, I apologise.
“I am particularly sorry that the family of Kevin Nunes have not received justice for his death, and for the length of time it has taken these matters to reach a conclusion. I know they have been let down.
“In 2002, there were failings in the management of protected witnesses and in the disclosure of relevant material to the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts.
“Since the initial investigation things have changed. Numerous processes have been put into place to ensure all information is recorded appropriately, retained, and the necessary disclosure takes place. This follows national guidance and protocol.
“I am clear that the integrity of all our investigations must remain high, to protect the judicial outcome. As a result of the robust processes we have put in place, I am confident that this would not happen again.
“The investigation into Kevin’s murder remains open. As with all our unsolved crimes in Staffordshire these are subject to regular reviews to identify new potential lines of enquiry.
“This has been a complex and protracted matter that has also been the subject of civil claims which have now settled.
“It is now time for us to acknowledge our mistakes, to learn and to move forwards to deliver the very best service we can to the communities of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.”
The full report can be accessed at here