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Blunnie Inquest: Lawyer made the “wrong decision”.

Communities / Fri 13th Nov 2015 at 10:00am

A lawyer made the wrong decision when she failed to charge a man with assaulting his pregnant former fiancée, two months before he murdered her, an inquest has heard reports the BBC.

Eystna Blunnie, 20, and her unborn child were killed in Harlow in Essex in June 2012 by Tony McLernon, who was later jailed for life.
McLernon was arrested for assault in April 2012, but the police let him go.

The decision was based on advice from a lawyer, the inquest heard.

Grace Ononiwu, the former chief crown prosecutor for the east of England, told the jury in Chelmsford the lawyer wrongly believed there was insufficient evidence to charge McLernon.

He was arrested after Ms Blunnie went to Harlow police station and said he had grabbed her by the throat and threatened to kill her.

Ms Ononiwu told the court the “decision not to charge was wrong” and the “decision-maker fell below the standards she would expect”.

McLernon was jailed for life in May 2013 for murdering Miss Blunnie and their unborn child
She said the Crown Prosecution Service lawyer did not give enough consideration to Ms Blunnie’s injuries, which included bruising to her neck, or that she was classed as being at “high risk” of domestic violence.

The lawyer did not realise McLernon had convictions for attacking previous girlfriends and should have discounted evidence from his mother who defended him, the court was told.

However, Ms Ononiwu said the decision not to prosecute was unlikely to have affected the outcome of the case, namely Ms Blunnie’s murder.

“In my experience it sometimes doesn’t keep people away… sometimes it increases the animosity,” she said.

Ms Ononiwu met the family and apologised on behalf of the CPS, the court heard.

The inquest, in Chelmsford, is expected to last three weeks.

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