Husband killed wife two weeks after being accused of raping her
Husband battered his wife to death with a hammer two weeks after police gave him the key to his house back despite him standing accused of raping and beating her
- Kay Martin, 49, suffered at least 12 incidents of domestic abuse in seven years
- She made complaint of rape and assault just 13 days before she was bludgeoned
- Northumbria Police returned keys to Alan Martin after quizzing him about rape
- It allowed him to enter and wait on wife returning before killing her and himself
- She was found with four fractures in skull and electrical cable around her neck
An abusive husband was given the keys to his house back by police before he bludgeoned his estranged wife to death, an inquest heard.
Kay Martin, 49, had suffered at least 12 incidents of domestic abuse in the last seven years and had most recently made a complaint of rape and domestic assault against husband Alan.
Officers from Northumbria Police returned Alan Martin’s keys to their home after they questioned him about the alleged rape.
Just 13 days later, Martin, 53, defied a court order and let himself into their home in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, where he waited for Mrs Martin to return.
Alan Martin, 53, was accused of raping and beating his wife Kay, 49, just two weeks before bludgeoning her to death with a hammer and hanging himself
Northumbria Police returned Martin’s keys to their home after they questioned him about the alleged rape despite his wife reporting at least 12 incidents of domestic abuse in the last seven years
Martin, a bricklayer, beat his wife over the head with the hammer repeatedly before strangling her
Forensic teams were pictured as they gathered evidence at the address last September
Mrs Martin, a care worker, had obtained a non-molestation order against her husband through the family court.
Martin, a bricklayer, bludgeoned his wife over the head before strangling her. He was found hanged, having killed himself, when police arrived at the property.
Sunderland Coroner Derek Winter said he would write to Home Secretary Priti Patel, calling for greater protection to victims of domestic violence after their attackers are released under investigation.
Police did not apply for a Domestic Violence Protection Order in Martin’s case.
The police’s actions leading up to Mrs Martin’s death were reported to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, Sunderland Coroner’s Court heard.
No action was taken against any officer but the IOPC commented that ‘the wisdom of returning the keys to Alan Martin should be looked at’.
Mrs Martin was forced to make her own safeguarding arrangements and was granted a non-molestation order, two days before she was killed.
Martin had been living at a separate address but paid no attention to the court order.
Police were called following reports of a disturbance at around 10pm on September 20.
Mrs Martin was found in the bedroom. Her skull had four depression fractures and an electrical cable was fastened tightly around her neck. Martin killed himself just feet from where he murdered his wife.
Home Office pathologist Dr Louise Mulcahy found Mrs Martin died as the result of a combination of strangulation and blunt force trauma.
Mrs Martin was found in the bedroom with four depression fractures in her skull and an electrical cable was fastened tightly around her neck. This is thought to be the most recent photo of the couple
The police’s actions leading up to Mrs Martin’s death were reported to the Independent Office for Police Conduct
No action was taken against any officer but the IOPC commented that ‘the wisdom of returning the keys to Alan Martin should be looked at’
Coroner Mr Winter ruled that Mrs Martin was unlawfully killed by her husband. He will hear Alan Martin’s inquest today (FRI).
Mr Winter said: ‘It occurs to me that although the evidential burden may not have been established at the time, Alan Martin was released from custody facing serious allegations under investigation.
‘It seems to me that on occasions, particularly where there are welfare protection issues for victims of domestic abuse, that there may be a gap in her – or his – protection.
‘From when Alan Martin was released until Kay got protection from the family court on September 17th and he was effectively served on September 18th, there was something of a gap in terms of Kay’s protection.
‘It may not have mattered in terms of Kay’s protection if Alan Martin’s keys had been removed, but some review of the procedure should take place in terms of what powers the police should be able to exercise pending matters being resolved finally in the family court or the criminal court and that gap is a matter of concern to me.’
He said he would write to the Home Secretary, the police, IOPC and local authority with his concerns.
Mr Winter also said had Martin been released on bail, with restrictions, it may have been enough to deter him from attacking his wife.
In a statement to the inquest, Audrey Richardson read out a tribute to Mrs Martin, her daughter.
She said: ‘Kay was always on the side of the vulnerable, needy and the underdog, wanting to make a difference and little did we realise that she was the most vulnerable of all, which she hid too well with her beautiful smile.
‘There wasn’t a cowardly bone in Kay’s body, she was straight to the point but if she made mistakes she would say so and apologise.
‘Kay was taken away from us in the most brutal, cruel and cowardly way, which has left her family and many many friends devastated.’
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