Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Stalker Murders Ex-Girlfriend Hours after Court Frees Him

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Stalker Murders Ex-Girlfriend Hours after Court Frees Him

Article excerpt

Byline: RICHARD EDWARDS;JACK LEFLEY

A STALKER who stabbed to death his former girlfriend was allowed to walk free by magistrates and a judge hours before he killed her, the Standard can reveal today.

Sean Francis, 37, murdered Wendy Billing in front of their three-year-old son at his west London nursery last September.

Today Miss Billing's family paid tribute to her and called for a full investigation into an extraordinary sequence of failings: . Francis was arrested on 9 September for beating her. But despite a long history of domestic violence, he was given a conditional discharge at Ealing magistrates court on 12 September for the assault.

.Later that day he approached her in the street and threatened to kill her - also breaching a restraining order - and was arrested again and held in custody overnight by police.

. On 13 September he faced a judge at Brentford county court for breaching the civil " nonmolestation" order, which carries up to a five-year sentence, but was freed again.

Within 24 hours Francis ambushed Miss Billing, 32, as she picked up their son, John, from nursery and knifed her repeatedly in a frenzied attack.

He then killed himself by jumping in front of a train in west London.

The victim's sister, Lucy Billing, 26, who accompanied her to court, told the Standard: "If they had locked him up my sister would still be here."

An inquest within the next few months will hear of the failings.

Judge Marcus Edwards, who dealt with the case at Brentford refused to comment. Scotland Yard said today that it had also launched an internal inquiry.

Officers had established a close relationship with Miss Billing over a long period of her suffering domestic violence.

The key decision officers must review is whether they should have charged Francis with threatening to kill Miss Billing on 12 September, instead of handing him over to the county court for the breach of his restraining order.

Miss Billing was due to give her statement about the death threats on the day she was murdered.

Her family revealed she had been subjected to years of violent abuse at the hands of Francis. …

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