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Officers Retraining After Stalker Murdered Woman

Police staff have been retrained on stalking cases after a review of how they dealt with a woman murdered by her estranged husband.

Michelle Savage alerted Sussex Police about Craig Savage’s behaviour several times in the three weeks before he shot her dead in St Leonard’s.

A call handler who failed to record her final calls has been given “management advice” following a misconduct hearing. Officers are also being retrained on the police watchdog’s recommendation.

Savage was jailed for a minimum of 38 years for murdering his wife and mother-in-law at their home in St Leonard’s on Sea, East Sussex, in March 2018. The former soldier shot Ms Savage six times and Heather Whitbread seven after he broke in.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said in a report Ms Savage had contacted the police “a number of times” between 26 February and 15 March 2018, telling them her ex was “becoming more and more aggressive”.

At one stage, she told officers she did not want to give a full statement, the IOPC said. But days later, after vehicles belonging to her family were damaged, she changed her mind.

The IOPC said the call handler “failed to obtain details of this further harassment, instead updating the original harassment crime record”. Six days later Ms Savage and her mother were shot dead.

Sussex Police said all staff had been “reminded of their responsibilities” to complete relevant paperwork in stalking cases, and a call handler had received “management advice” after “breaching standards”.

Det Ch Insp David Springett said: “We accept the learning recommendations from the IOPC and our work to reinforce officers’ knowledge of responsibilities is well under way. All reports of stalking are taken extremely seriously.”