MET Police failings “caused or contributed” to the death of a woman whose car plunged into a lake after she was allegedly raped, an inquest heard.
Hannah Warren, 28, died after her Mini convertible plunged into a freezing lake near a Tata Steel site in Port Talbot.
6Hannah Warren tragically died in February 2016Credit: WNSShe had managed to free herself from the submerged vehicle and swim to nearby rocks but she tragically fell back into the icy water and drowned.
Hannah was allegedly raped by a colleague a year and a day before her body was found on February 4, 2016.
The blundering Met Police have now been slammed for “inadequacies” after Hannah was at first treated as a medium-risk missing person.
She had been reported missing from home in Streatham, South West London, on February 3.
Hannah travelled from London to Brighton, then to Exeter and Weston-super-Mare in her Mini.
She then joined back onto the M5 before joining the M4 to South Wales where her body was found.
Although police later changed her status to high risk, the original ranking meant a “low stop” direction was placed on her car.
This tells the police how much of a priority it is to stop a vehicle if it is pinged on Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR).
Hannah pinged 27 times on various ANPR cameras including in the Gwent Police and Avon and Somerset Police force areas but her car was not stopped.
Both forces contacted the Met for more information but their request did not reach the inspector overseeing the case.
Five failings in total were admitted by the Met after being highlighted by the coroner.
They included a lack of action to progress the missing person’s case and failure to contact Hannah’s family to see if she knew anyone in the West of England.
There was also an insufficient use of ANPR, as well as Hannah’s vehicle being marked as low grade rather than medium.
The coroner also highlighted a shortcoming in the flow of communication from calls received by the Met from regional police forces.
The inquest was told Hannah worked at an office design company in London.
Her mum Jane Barnes previously said her daughter confided in her brother that she had been raped by a co-worker.
But she claimed Hannah was “encouraged” to keep quiet about the alleged attack.
She also revealed she had an insight into the state of Hannah‘s mind when she read notes on her phone and iPad detailing the alleged rape and its consequences.
The mum added: “I felt extremely sad for Hannah. It was clear from the notes she had written that she had become terrified of going into work.
“And she was frightened to go back to her flat in case he was behind her.
“She wrote how she was never going to get over this.”
Ms Barnes told the inquest she first discovered Hannah had gone missing when she received a phonecall from her daughter’s partner, David Murray.
He told her: “I think she is having a breakdown. She is talking a lot of rubbish.
“She says she has been speaking to Barack Obama and says she has hacked a government website and is being chased by government officials. She has gone off in her car.”
The mum asked Mr Murray if she had been taking drugs, to which he replied: “No, absolutely not.”
Mr Murray also gave evidence, revealing he and Hannah had got engaged just four days before her death.
The fiancé also hit out at police for seeming “uninterested” in taking the case seriously.
Mr Murray said he asked one officer to obtain information from the black box in Hannah’s car but was told: “It’s a busy night and this is Brixton.”
Hannah vanished in her car at around 6am and later texted her boss to tell him she intended to resign from her job at an office design company in London.
She then made the 200 mile journey to Port Talbot where she drove into the water from a quayside road that had no safety barriers.
Hannah’s cause of death was given as drowning and a head injury.
Jurors recorded a narrative verdict, with the coroner telling Hannah’s family: “I wish you all the best for the future.”
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans for free on 116123.
6Hannah had travelled from her home in Streatham to Port TalbotCredit: WNS6It came a year after she was allegedly raped by a colleagueCredit: WNS6Her car crashed into icy water but she managed to escapeCredit: WNS6Tragically Hannah then plunged into an adjacent lock and drownedCredit: WNS6Her mum told an inquest she was allegedly raped a year before her death
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk