Domestic violence pushes this year’s London killings over 100 – Evening Standard

The head of Scotland Yard’s domestic abuse unit today told of his concerns over a second lockdown after a rise in domestic homicides lifted the number of killings in London above 100.

Poorna Kaameshwari Sivaraj, 36, and her three-year-old son Kailash Kuha Raj were found dead at their flat in Brentford, west London, last week. Her husband reportedly stabbed himself to death as police forced entry into the family home at 1am last Tuesday.

There was further bloodshed this weekend, with the death of a man in his thirties who was knifed during a fight in Ilford on Friday. It took the tally of homicide investigations opened by the Met this year to 102.

Of those, 16 killings have been flagged as domestic abuse homicides, 14 of them since lockdown started in March. This compares with 13 domestic homicides last year.

The Met received an extra 3,474 domestic violence reports between January and September, up 6.1 per cent on the same period last year.

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Acting Detective Superintendent William Hodgkinson, the Met’s new lead on domestic abuse, said the biggest threat came from couples trapped together at home by lockdown.

He said: “I am concerned absolutely about a second lockdown but I am confident the Met are in a position to respond effectively. We know during periods of lockdown, abuse from a current partner goes up the most and the victim feels unable to seek help. The offender may be the parent of their children, so the victim could be fearful about what calling for help may mean for them. Similarly, victims may have concerns about finance or housing.”

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The Met’s “Clare’s Law” online portal now makes it easier for victims, or concerned relatives, to ask officers about a new partner’s abuse history. The scheme was set up in 2014 following a campaign by the parents of Clare Wood, 36, who was strangled and set on fire by a man she met on Facebook.

“With two clicks on the Met website, you can begin accessing this information,” said Mr Hodgkinson. “We can now do a declaration to a victim over the phone or WhatsApp, if they can find 30 minutes in the day to get away. Then you can make an informed decision about the risk or danger you could be in.”

Of the 102 killings investigated by the Met and British Transport Police, 56 were stabbed. Twelve were teenagers and six aged 10 and under. Last year there were 149 killings, an 11-year high.

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