Surrey puppy farm shootings: ‘Police mistreated me’

  • 17 July 2017
  • From the section Surrey

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Media captionStacy Banner says her mum had to beg for her life

A woman whose mum and sister were shot dead at a puppy farm says she was “in no way treated how a victim should be”.

In 2014, Stacy Banner’s sister Lucy Lee and mother Christine Lee were shot by her stepfather John Lowe at the family farm in Surrey.

Ms Banner was arrested by Surrey Police on suspicion of burglary following the deaths and placed in the same station as Lowe.

A misconduct charge against a sergeant has been proved, but he could appeal.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said a panel found the sergeant had failed to ensure relevant witness statements were taken.

Surrey Police’s Chief Superintendent Helen Collins said the force could not comment on the case as the findings could be appealed.

Misconduct allegations regarding two other officers were not proven.

Image caption Stacy Banner says her mother Christine Lee’s death could have been avoided

Ms Banner told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme “the police should have evidence before they have the power to arrest anybody”.

She said at the time she was arrested she was “vulnerable” and had been choosing coffins for her mother.

“I was in absolute trauma and grief,” she said.

She added that, when taken to the police station, she feared she could be in the same cell as Lowe.

“Now I can’t be in small spaces. It fills me with utter panic. I had to see the doctor because I couldn’t sleep.”

Image caption Lucy Lee was also shot dead by John Lowe

Ms Banner also complained about a delay in informing her that her loved ones had been formally identified.

She said after family liaison officers originally told her of an incident at the farm, she waited “hours and hours” for an update and eventually learned of their deaths on television.

“I got my husband to take me to the farm, and it was full of police, and the bodies were still there.”

The IPCC’s associate commissioner Tom Milsom said: “Communications between Stacy and the family liaison specialists indicate that their relationship functioned relatively smoothly and that Stacy’s concerns were not raised at the time and nor had Surrey Police picked up any intimations she was unhappy.”

Image caption John Lowe’s guns were taken away by Surrey Police, but were later returned.

On the programme, Ms Banner also claimed her reports to police “never got taken seriously”, and that her family members’ deaths “could have been avoided”.

Nearly a year before the killings, police confiscated Lowe’s seven shotguns after Ms Banner claimed he had threatened her.

But the guns were later returned, for which the force was strongly criticised by the IPCC and has apologised.

“You know my mum was cowering,” Ms Banner said, describing her mother’s death. “She was on her knees, cowering.

“Can you imagine having to beg for your life? That’s what my mum did. It was just barbaric.”

Watch the Victoria Derbyshire programme on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News channel.

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