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In the 58 days between the grandmother’s first call to police and her death, officers were repeatedly told how Stuart Thomas was stalking and harassing her, even threatening to crash a car and kill them both.But investigators classed Ms O’Hara, 44, as the attacker in one incident and were manipulated by Thomas as he sought revenge for her attempts to end their extra-marital relationship.The clear violation of bail conditions should have resulted in enforcement action by police but it did not and Thomas remained free, continuing to harass his victim and her family.On 7 January, he lay in wait until she closed up her salon before stabbing her twice in the chest.“The investigating officer initially recorded that Ms O’Hara was the victim in the incident,” the IOPC report states, describing how Ms O’Hara had thrown his possessions during an argument.“However, after Mr Thomas showed the police some CCTV footage, the investigating officer decided she was the suspect and Mr Thomas was the victim.” At around the same time, Thomas started making threats to kill himself, sending suicidal messages to friends and Ms O’Hara, who reported harassment to police again on 16 and 17 November.Ms O’Hara died at the scene and Thomas was arrested nearby after cutting his wrist and taking an overdose of opiates.

Ms O’Hara met Thomas while working at her salon in Blandford Forum, Jock’s Barbers, and they became romantically involved in May 2015.“Our thoughts very much remain with Katrina’s family and friends,” he added.“We would like to reassure the public that we are doing everything in our power to minimise the chance of this happening again.Graham Beesley, an operations manager at the watchdog, said: “On a number of occasions when Ms O’Hara’s contacted Dorset Police, officers failed to take appropriate action in a timely manner and did not take her specific needs and vulnerabilities into account.


“We also found instances where police did not properly consider the seriousness of non-violent risk factors, including the escalating nature of the incidents between Ms O’Hara and Thomas in the months leading up to her murder.” An acting sergeant was formally disciplined for failing to investigate Ms O’Hara’s report that Thomas had been harassing her, and for failing to put in protective measures.

While in custody Thomas told a liaison nurse he wanted to “kill his girlfriend” but the official concluded that he “posed a low risk to himself, others and the general public”.


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