The Harborough parents of a woman murdered by her stalker say the report into her death makes them believe that her death was preventable

Alice Ruggles
Alice Ruggles

A review looking at the circumstances surrounding the murder of a Harborough woman has made 20 recommendations.

The Domestic homicide review (DHR) into the death of Alice Ruggles was released on Tuesday and highlights a number of failings in how police and the army dealt with Alice's case, and sets out a list of recommendations based on the case.

The report was ordered by Gateshead Council and such reviews are intended to see if any lessons can be learned. The review of Alice's case makes 20 recommendations

Alice Ruggle's parents, from Turlangton, wrote in the review: "Nothing can bring back our daughter Alice. Nothing can recreate her strength of character, her mischievous humour, her extraordinary sensitivity for the feelings of all those around her.

"We believe that her death was preventable.

"We find it difficult to comprehend that although Alice described in her first phone call to the police that she was being stalked and provided ample evidence, the police and the army were unable to support and protect her.

"Lessons need to be learned and procedures need to be changed, in order that there can be better outcomes for future victims of coercion and stalking.

"We are heartened that this report contains a range of recommendations that could help to address some of the key issues that we feel would have made a difference in Alice’s case."

Alice had been in a relationship with soldier Trimaan “Harry” Dhillon but after she ended it he continued to bombard her with messages, and the report says he took control of her Facebook profile and threatened to release compromising photographs that he had of her.

The review says: "Alice was particularly disturbed by an incident during the evening of 30 September 2016 when the perpetrator repeatedly rang the front doorbell but ran away each time she came to the door.

"Then, much later, he climbed into the back garden and knocked on her ground-floor window as she lay in bed. When she opened the curtains, she saw flowers and chocolates on the windowsill and the perpetrator backing off. As he drove back to Edinburgh he left a chilling phone message, where he kept repeating that he didn’t want to kill her and wouldn’t kill her."

The report sets out how Alice called the police and they had taken action in the form of issuing Dhillon with a notice that his behaviour was not acceptable, and told Alice that if it carried on Dhillon would be arrested. The DHR found the type of notice used by the police here to be inappropriate.

The behaviour continued, but when Alice contacted the police she was told that no action would be taken.

Her family said: "Alice was distraught, as she now believed that nothing could or would be done to stop this stalking."

In one message he stated he was not used to being denied what belonged to him.

On the 12th October 2016, Alice left work and accepted a lift home from a male colleague.

Her flatmate finished work and returned to their shared flat a short time later, but could not gain entry through the front door.

She climbed into the flat via an open window at the rear of the property, where she subsequently found Alice in the bathroom, covered in blood and not breathing. Alice had suffered 24 separate injuries, including defensive wounds, and several large wounds to her throat.

Dhillon, who denied killing Alice, was found guilty of murder in 2017.

Among the review's findings were that Northumbria Police did not identify or record stalking behaviour despite evidence of a ’course of conduct’; that Northumbria Police and Victims First Northumbria did not accurately assess the risk posed by the perpetrator; that the Army failed to record concerns about the perpetrator’s behaviour on several occasions; and there was a lack of support and advice provided by agencies to limit the perpetrator’s access to Alice’s social media and messaging accounts.

In the DHR, Alice's parents, said: "Alice’s family and friends will always remember her for her happy and outgoing personality.

"She had the ability to cheer anyone up when they were down; she was incredibly quick-witted, a brilliant listener, and genuinely empathetic. She quickly made friends wherever she went.

"Alice came from a close-knit family and she always managed to make her presence known, whether by her jokes, her mischievous pranks, or by the endless banter on the family WhatsApp group. She was a natural entertainer, who often sang in school concerts, led the karaoke at friends’ parties from an early age, and was generally the life and soul of any party.

"Making friends was second nature to Alice and she was popular and successful throughout school. She was a great sportswoman and represented her county, the East Midlands region and her University at fencing. Alice stayed in Newcastle after graduation, having come to love the city."

They added: "Alice was strong, independent, caring and intelligent.

"She was full of self-confidence and well able to look after herself. In our eyes, she was not vulnerable.

"The controlling nature of her relationship with the perpetrator did not become apparent to us until after her murder. This was because the perpetrator was so good at covering it up."