Investigation finds officer breach in hostage case

AN Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation, following an incident in which a woman and her children were held hostage in Shaw found an officer breached standards of professional behaviour.

The woman and one of her children were injured during the incident – which lasted more than 26 hours – after her ex-partner, Marc Leigh Schofield, broke into her home in July 2017.

Marc Schofield

Schofield was jailed for 17 years in December.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officers were called to attend a domestic incident and spoke to the woman and Schofield.

The attending officers removed Schofield from the house and took him to an alternative address.
GMP were called later that day from the address of the original incident and, when they arrived, they discovered the hostage situation.

During the investigation, the IOPC found evidence suggesting an officer may have added information to his pocketbook entry after it was signed by the woman who was later held hostage.
This amounted to a breach of the professional standards of behaviour.

The officer resigned from the force before the completion of our investigation, and, as the evidence did not amount to a case to answer for gross misconduct, no further action was required.

The IOPC determined that more could have been done to deal with Schofield, beyond removing him from the house, following the officers’ initial contact with him.

As a result, the IOPC made a learning recommendation for both officers in respect of procedures when dealing with cases of domestic abuse.

GMP agreed with the finding, and further learning will be provided for the officer who remains with the force.

IOPC Regional Director Amanda Rowe said: “It was important that we looked independently at the circumstances of the incident, and the actions of Greater Manchester Police, given that they had been in contact with the woman involved and Marc Schofield in the hours before the hostage situation began.

Pemberton Way

“Where possible, we will always try to identify learning opportunities from our investigations; that’s never more important than when it concerns very serious crimes relating to domestic abuse.”

Schofield who had a history of violence, stabbed his victim in the neck and back with a carving knife, tried to strangle her, and repeatedly threatened to shoot her, and her children.

Then as the incident spiralled into a full scale armed siege operation involving 60 police officers, he attempted to blow the property sky-high by hacking through a gas main with an axe and trying to ignite escaping fumes with a cigarette lighter.

Two police officers who went into the home on Pemberton Way on July 25 were forced to flee when Schofield pointed what they were convinced was a live revolver at their heads.

He also grabbed the younger of the two children and pointed the weapon at his head as the stand-off continued.

Schofield was given an extended jail sentence totalling 17 years in his absence at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court after he refused to leave his cell at Forest Bank remand centre to attend the hearing.

He had pleaded guilty to charges of false imprisonment, unlawful wounding, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, two counts of possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear or serious violence, and criminal damage.

Judge Tina Landale said she had considered a life sentence, but had added a further five years to the 12 year jail term she imposed for the protection of the public.

Schofield, of no fixed abode, was ordered to serve a minimum of eight years before he can be referred to the parole board who will decide if he should be released.

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