Police officer dismissed after hotel death

Court news
Court news

A Sussex Police officer has been dismissed after a woman who claimed she was being abused was found dead in a Brighton hotel, an inquest heard today (January 19).

A jury heard how Clare Cruttenden, 30, of Quebec Road, Hastings, died of an overdose of insulin after booking into The Granville Hotel on February 18, 2014.

A day earlier (February 17) Miss Cruttenden told police she had been attacked and tied-up by a stranger in her home.

The jury heard officers investigating the scene began to believe the allegation to be false and confronted her.

Friends of Miss Cruttenden, who saw her later that day, said she was angry at not being believed by officers.

The next morning she travelled to Brighton and booked a room at The Granville, where she was found dead on February 19.

Sussex Police confirmed one officer, Detective Constable Damon Deans-Cane, was dismissed from duty following an investigation of the incident.

The jury heard how Miss Cruttenden was known to officers in Hastings before the incident as she had reported a series of allegations, including both rape and assault.

They also heard officers were instructed to ensure all calls involving Miss Cruttenden be responded to by two or more officers who should record the incident on body-worn cameras.

Officers had also raised concerns for her mental health in January, 2014, after she was admitted to The Conquest Hospital with an overdose of insulin.

Police, social services and hospital staff identified Miss Cruttenden as a possible health risk as a result of this incident and work was underway to help her.

Coroner Alan Craze said, “The serious tragedy of this case is the professionals who met Clare had identified actions but these actions did not have time to be taken.”

During the inquest, Professor Robert Peckitt, a consultant forensic psychiatrist, said he believed Miss Cruttenden may have had a personality disorder.

Mr Craze said, “It is never going to be something which can be proven beyond reasonable doubt. But on the balance of probabilities she was suffering from a personality disorder which could explain some of the perplexities of this case.”

The jury is expected to record a conclusion later today.

Sussex Police apologise to family of woman who reported attack

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