Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

HOW COULD POLICE FAIL HIM LIKE THIS? Slashed by a Gang Seven Months Ago but Local Force Did Nothing. Now This Father Is Dead and His Family Want Answers

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

HOW COULD POLICE FAIL HIM LIKE THIS? Slashed by a Gang Seven Months Ago but Local Force Did Nothing. Now This Father Is Dead and His Family Want Answers

Article excerpt

Byline: JACK LEFLEY

THESE are the injuries a man suffered at the hands of a teenage gang seven months before he was shot dead.

His family say the same gang of yobs were responsible for both attacks. They claim he was badly let down by police who failed to act after the first one.

Peter Woodhams, 22, died in front of his fiancee and son on Monday evening after standing up to yobs who had been terrorising the area. He was shot yards from his home in Custom House, Canning Town.

Today his family released a photograph of his injuries from the attack in January. They say the gang held him down and slashed him across the face and neck after the TV engineer refused to be intimidated .

His fiancee Jane Bowden, 23, said she rang police for five weeks and gave them names and addresses but they did not even take a statement.

Today officers took away the clothing he was wearing during the first attack which the family had kept in a plastic bag for use as evidence. Mr Woodhams's father, also called Peter, said his son would still be alive if police had taken action earlier.

Mr Woodhams, 42, said: "These clothes are covered in his blood and their DNA. But they have been sitting in a plastic bag in a cupboard at his house for months. They could have held the key to putting these people away and saving Peter's life."

His son was shot in the chest and hand and staggered back to his home, collapsing in front of Miss Bowden and their three-year-old son Sam.

The shooting followed months of intimidation and abuse. In January he confronted the gang for throwing a stone at his car. He was held down and stabbed. The blade was millimetres from severing his jugular vein. Miss Bowden and his father repeatedly phoned police urging them to take a statement. His family claim Peter gave names, addresses and descriptions of those involved to police but no action was taken.

Commander Rod Jarman, who has been brought in to oversee the murder investigation, said: "We will robustly deal with any failings in our investigation of the previous incident and make sure that those matters are dealt with.

"I would also like to make my apologies for any hurt that investigation may have caused the family. …

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