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Police officer accused of misconduct over murder of Shana Grice, 19, denies he applied stereotype

PC Trevor Godfrey of Sussex Police fined terrified teenager Shana Grice for wasting police time when she reported harassment by her ex Michael Lane, who later murdered her 

A police officer has been found guilty of misconduct after failing to properly investigate claims of stalking and harassment by a frightened teenager who was later murdered by her ex-lover 

PC Trevor Godfrey told a hearing she lied to him and he did not believe she was in danger.

Shana Grice, 19, reported her ex-partner Michael Lane, 27, to Sussex Police for stalking five times in six months.

But the teenager was fined £90 for ‘wasting police time’ after she reported him for an assault in the street.

Although Shana had been in a long-term relationship with Ashley Cooke, she was also conducting a secret affair with Lane.

But after reporting Lane to police for a street assault she told officers she was not in an intimate relationship with him.

At a disciplinary hearing today, former constable PC Godfrey said Shana had lied to him about the relationship, and denied forming a ‘stereotype’ view of Miss Grice.

Mr Godfrey said he did not believe Shana was in any danger because although she was having an affair with Lane it appeared consensual and the pair had constantly texted each other and arranged to meet.

Shana Grice was brutally murdered by Lane five months after she reported him for assault. He was later convicted of her murder and sentenced to 25 years.

Today a police panel has found PC Godfrey committed misconduct over his involvement in the case of Shana.

Shana Grice, 19, reported her ex-partner Michael Lane to Sussex Police five times in six months, but was fined £90 for wasting police time

Shana Grice, 19, reported her ex-partner Michael Lane to Sussex Police five times in six months, but was fined £90 for wasting police time

Mr Godfrey, who was allowed to keep his pension after retiring from Sussex Police after 29 years service, appeared before a disciplinary hearing in Lewes, East Sussex to answer charges of gross misconduct.

The panel was told the officer had failed to adequately investigate allegations of harassment and stalking made by the teenager before she was killed in August 2016.

Giving evidence on the second day of his misconduct hearing in Lewes, Mr Godfrey defended recommending to an inspector that no further action be taken against Lane in spring 2016 following an accusation of assault after he tried to grab her phone.

He said: ‘She (Ms Grice) lied to police three times. It was only right I advised her she cannot keep lying in police statements and getting people arrested for it.’

James Berry, counsel presenting the case against Mr Godfrey, also accused the former police officer of applying a stereotype to the case.

Mr Berry said: ‘There is a stereotype that if Person A is in a relationship with Person B, one cannot be at risk from the other. Do you agree with that?’

Mr Godfrey replied: ‘No. It may be the case (applying stereotypes) for other people, I don’t have those views.’

He added: ‘There was no history of violence between them, there was no evidence of violence, of risk, at that time.’

Pressing him on the matter, Mr Berry said: ‘You applied that stereotype to Shana, didn’t you?’

‘No, I didn’t,’ Mr Godfrey replied. ‘You are asking me to tell you the same thing, over and over again.’

Mr Godfrey said there was no sign of Ms Grice being harassed, something she previously accused Lane of, before admitting to police that him being outside her house late at night was because she had arranged the meeting behind the back of then-boyfriend Mr Cooke.

Mr Godfrey said: ‘She would be signing her texts (to Lane) with five kisses. This is not harassment. It was a smokescreen to disguise her affair.’

Mr Godfrey also said there was therefore ‘no reason’ to supply Ms Grice with safety advice regarding her relationship with Lane.

The former constable said there was no evidence Shana was in any danger.

He said: ‘She had been in in active relationship with Lane for six months

‘There was nothing there to make me think she was in any type of danger whatsoever.

‘If I had any worry that Shana was in any danger I would have given her safety advice. 

‘There was no evidence whatsoever of a threat at that time.

‘She was arranging meetings with Mr Lane. There was no history of any violence. 

‘Why would I give safety advice on a threat that did not exist?

‘With no risk what could I warn her about?’

Lane attacked his former girlfriend and slit her throat with a knife before setting fire to her bedroom to try to burn her body in Portslade, near Brighton, East Sussex, in 2016.

He murdered ex-girlfriend Shana Grice (pictured) because he was obsessed with her after a relationship

Killer Michael Lane (pictured left arriving at Lewes Crown Court in 2016) murdered ex-girlfriend Shana Grice (right) because he was obsessed with her after a relationship

He denied he had become angry after discovering Shana had lied to him about the nature of their relationship.

PC Godfrey later recommended no further action should be taken against Lane regarding the assault allegations.

The hearing was told the file was later examined by Inspector Hazard who told the constable Shana had wasted his time and she should not be allowed to get away with it.

A sergeant later handed her a fixed penalty notice for £90 for wasting police time.

Mr Godfrey told the hearing: ‘She had wasted my time and that is what the inspector said. 

‘She cannot get away with wasting police time. Shana had totally misled me and told me lies.’

Summing up, James Berry, prosecuting the case for Sussex Police said the key factor for Mr Godfrey was that Shana had lied to him in her police statement and it ‘coloured’ the way he dealt with her.

He said: ‘In this case Mr Godfrey applied a stereotype to Shana to her detriment. It affected how he viewed her allegations and it affected whether he thought he needed to give her any safety advice.

‘He did not treat her unfairly or impartially afterwards. She had reported an allegation of assault yet she was the one given the warning.’

He said Mr Godfrey’s failure to complete a Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment form was a massive failure. 

He said: ‘He reached a conclusion on risk on the fly without asking Shana about the risks she was under. 

‘He lost his impartiality and Lane became the victim and Shana became the wrongdoer. Everything Lane said was accepted yet nothing Shana said held any weight anymore.’ 

Mr Berry said: ‘He did not demonstrate the impartiality expected of a police officer.’ 

He said because she had lied about their relationship Godfrey had decided she was ‘not needing or deserving’ or police protection. 

He said the failure to give advice on its own would have led to dismissal of gross misconduct if he were a serving officer.

 In 2013 PC Trevor Godfrey was presented with an ‘outstanding investigator’ commendation in recognition of his good work after Sussex Police smashed a heroin trafficking gang.

Despite the Independent of Police Conduct (IOPC) launching a wide-scale investigation into police failings only said two police officers faced gross misconduct charges.

In May PC Jon Barry Mills was also found guilty of gross misconduct and would have been booted out of the force had he not already left. He also preserved his generous police pension.

Ms Grice’s family have sat through every minute of the hearing, which started on Monday. A decision is expected to be made later today.

Mr Godfrey could be placed on a barred list, meaning he cannot work for police again, if the panel finds allegations against him are proved.

In any case, he would still be allowed access to his pension unless in circumstances involving a criminal prosecution against him.

The hearing continues.


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