Met Police refers itself to watchdog after Westminster stabbing murder

The Metropolitan Police has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) following the murder of a woman in London.

A murder investigation was launched after police forced entry to a property in Stanhope Place, Bayswater, at approximately 8.30am on Monday April 8.

On Sunday, officers were contacted twice by friends of Kamonnan Thiamphanit who were concerned about her welfare.

Ms Thiamphanit, who was known to her friends as Angela, had suffered from stab injuries.

The IOPC has confirmed the Metropolitan Police referred itself to the watchdog on Tuesday.

Commander Owain Richards, of the Metropolitan Police, told the PA news agency: “We received two calls from Kamonnan’s friends on Sunday April 7, raising concerns that they had not heard from her for some time.

“One just after 7pm and then another one just after 9.30pm on the Sunday evening. We initially graded the missing person inquiry as a medium-risk, prior to forcing entry and discovering her body on the following Monday morning.

“As her friends had contacted police and then we subsequently found, tragically, the body, we have made a mandatory referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which is a standard referral in these cases to understand a review of what happened and whether there’s any lessons to be learned in relation to that.”

They added: “We advised the force that its investigation should, in our view, review the police response against policy and procedure and identify whether there were any missed opportunities to find Ms Thiamphanit sooner and potentially prevent her death, however we noted that the timing of her death is unclear at this stage so there may be a possibility that she was already deceased prior to the police being contacted.

“The force was reminded that should its investigation identify any conduct matters for any officers or staff, then a further referral should be considered.”

Detectives believe Ms Thiamphanit was last seen by her friends on the Sunday. They also believe it was likely she knew her attacker.

Mr Richards also confirmed there had been no signs of forced entry.

He said: “We believe the suspect was known to the victim in this case and our homicide detectives are working around the clock to pursue all reasonable lines of inquiry to trace the suspect, arrest them and bring them to justice.

Police at the scene on Stanhope Place, Bayswater
Police at the scene on Stanhope Place, Bayswater (William Warnes/PA)

The Met commander added that the family of Ms Thiamphanit, who had Chinese, Hong Kong and Thai nationality, lived overseas and had been informed.

He said: “To lose a loved one in these circumstances is unimaginable and our thoughts are with them. We ask that their privacy is respected at this very sad and difficult time. I completely understand the shock and concern this incident has caused, especially to women living and working in the area. And indeed to Londoners as a whole.

“I understand there is speculation about what had happened to Kamonnan. While our detectives are keeping an open mind for any motive, I can confirm that it is likely her attacker was known to her.

“I reiterate their appeal for anyone who has information or material that could assist the investigation to make contact with us, either via officers at the cordon, 101 or online.

“This terrible incident follows a number of other horrific fatal attacks on women recently – including those in Croydon, Hackney and Lewisham.

“We recently shared information about the work we’re doing to tackle violence against women and girls using data-led tactics to target dangerous offenders and bring them to justice.

“Kamonnan’s murder makes us all the more determined in our efforts to do everything we possibly can to keep women and girls safe.”

– Advertisement –
– Advertisement –