An abusive husband was given the keys to his house back by police before he bludgeoned his estranged wife to death, an inquest heard.
Kay Martin, 49, had suffered at least 12 incidents of domestic abuse in the last seven years and had most recently made a complaint of rape and domestic assault against husband Alan.
Officers from Northumbria Police returned Alan Martin’s keys to their home after they questioned him about the alleged rape.
Just 13 days later, Martin, 53, defied a court order and let himself into their home in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, where he waited for Mrs Martin to return.
Alan Martin, 53, was accused of raping and beating his wife Kay, 49, just two weeks before bludgeoning her to death with a hammer and hanging himself
Northumbria Police returned Martin’s keys to their home after they questioned him about the alleged rape despite his wife reporting at least 12 incidents of domestic abuse in the last seven years
Martin, a bricklayer, beat his wife over the head with the hammer repeatedly before strangling her
Forensic teams were pictured as they gathered evidence at the address last September
Mrs Martin, a care worker, had obtained a non-molestation order against her husband through the family court.
Martin, a bricklayer, bludgeoned his wife over the head before strangling her. He was found hanged, having killed himself, when police arrived at the property.
Sunderland Coroner Derek Winter said he would write to Home Secretary Priti Patel, calling for greater protection to victims of domestic violence after their attackers are released under investigation.
Police did not apply for a Domestic Violence Protection Order in Martin’s case.
The police’s actions leading up to Mrs Martin’s death were reported to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, Sunderland Coroner’s Court heard.
No action was taken against any officer but the IOPC commented that ‘the wisdom of returning the keys to Alan Martin should be looked at’.
Mrs Martin was forced to make her own safeguarding arrangements and was granted a non-molestation order, two days before she was killed.
Martin had been living at a separate address but paid no attention to the court order.
Police were called following reports of a