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The police fined Shana Grice for wasting their time. Then her stalker killed her.

This post deals with domestic violence and might be triggering for some readers.

On February 8, 2016, Shana Grice told police she was being stalked by her ex-boyfriend Michael Lane. 

He had sent her unwanted flowers, she explained, hid outside her house and left an ominous note on her new boyfriend’s car, that read: "Shana will always cheat on you. Happy New Year."

In March, the 19-year-old called the police again. She said Lane had returned to her house and tried to grab her phone when she went to flee. He pulled her hair and also hit her during the altercation. 

Grice did not mention to police she had been seeing Lane on-off during this time, but Lane proved this to police by showing them text messages of Grice saying she wanted to be with him. 

Whilst this still didn’t actually disprove her allegations against him, police penalised Grice for 'wasting' their time and for making 'a false report'. 

Four months later, in July, Lane stole his ex-girlfriend’s keys, snuck into her apartment and watched her sleep.

Grice continued to alert police that she was being followed by Lane, and said he would call her and made “heavy breathing” sounds. 

By this point, she had now made five complaints to police and yet, officials had not sufficiently investigated the matter and instead labelled her complaints as “low risk”.

Then, in August, Grice was found dead in her bedroom at her Brighton bungalow. Her throat had been slashed.

Shana Grice was 19 years old when she was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. Image: Getty.  

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Michael Lane has since been found guilty of her murder. He always maintained his innocence, and said he was shocked when he found her body but did not think to call an ambulance or police and nor did he check to see if she was still alive. Instead, he went to a local newsagent to check a lottery ticket.

During his murder trial, he told jurors that on the night of her death, he saw the front door of her home open and so went in. 

“That’s when I saw her slumped against the bed. She wasn’t moving. I saw blood on the bed and blood on the floor,” he told jurors, according to The Guardian. “She was in her dressing gown. I thought she was dead. I didn’t know what to do.” 

When asked why he just left her there, he shared: “I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t want to get the blame for it.”

Prosecutors said that Lane didn’t find her, he killed her by slitting her throat and then started a fire on her bed and another on the carpet. He also dismantled the smoke alarm in the hallway so that emergency services would not be called. 

Listen to one of Australia's most famous cases, the death of Anita Cobby, discussed on True Crime Conversations. Post continues after podcast.

Prosecutors argued that Lane killed her because he had refused to accept Grice’s decision to end their relationship and did not want anyone her to be with anyone else.

Prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC said in the trial: "During their relationship, he stalked her. He put a tracker on her car and followed her movements.

"That obsession with her translated into killing her. He would not allow anyone else to be with her."

Lane was convicted of Grice’s murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison. 

The BBC reports an independent investigation found that 13 other women had reported him to police for stalking after he was charged with Grice’s murder.

The murder of Shana Grice is receiving new attention in light of a new documentary, Murder in Slow Motion by Sky News. The lack of confidence in the police force is also a current conversation in the UK in the wake of a London officer allegedly killing Sarah Everard when she was walking home from a friend’s house on March 3 this year.

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Watch: The numbers of women and violence. Post continues below. 


Video via Mamamia.

"We firmly believe her murder could have been avoided if her fears had been taken seriously by police,” Sharon Grice, Shana’s mother, said in a statement read out in court by counsel, according to the BBC.

"Michael Lane had been harassing, stalking and pressurising her for over a year. Her life became a nightmare which we believe had affected her mental and physical health.

"The brutal death of our daughter has ruined our lives forever. We have become mere shells of our former selves."

The police force has admitted they were not as thorough as they should have been when Grice reported her ex-boyfriend to police. 

Deputy Chief Constable of Sussex Police, Bernie O'Reilly, later said the force had apologised to the Grice family.

"When we looked at the circumstances leading to Shana's murder, we felt we may not have done the very best we could," he conceded.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home. 

You can also call safe steps 24/7 Family Violence Response Line on 1800 015 188 or visit www.safesteps.org.au for further information.

Feature Image: Getty.

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