Watchdog to investigate whether police failed to protect victim of 'crossbow' murder

Left, victim Shane Gilmer and right, Anthony Howarth, also known as Anthony Lawrence
Left, victim Shane Gilmer and right, Anthony Howarth, also known as Anthony Lawrence

A POLICE watchdog is to investigate whether officers failed to protect a man who was killed in a suspected crossbow attack.

Shane Gilmer, 30, was attacked at his home in the Yorkshire village of Southburn on January 12. His pregnant girlfriend, Laura Sugden, was injured.
Their neighbour Anthony Howarth, also known as Anthony Lawrence, was suspected of the murder and attempted murder. He was found dead in North Yorkshire the following day.
The couple are understood to have made a number of reports to Humberside Police about Howarth in the 12 months before the attack.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) will now look at these reports, the nature of their contact with police and how the force responded.
The force’s search for 55-year-old Howarth or the circumstances of his death will not form part of the investigation.
IOPC regional director for the North East, Miranda Biddle, said: “We carefully considered the referral from Humberside Police before beginning our investigation, making the decision to look at the reports by Mr Gilmer and Ms Sugden and what, if any, contact the force had with Anthony Howarth dating back to January 2017.
“We have met with Mr Gilmer’s family and with Ms Sugden, to discuss our investigation, and they will be regularly updated on its progress.
“I am confident that our investigation, and of course the coronial proceedings to come, will bring some clarity to the circumstances of this horrific murder and attempted murder.”