Every third day, in our #EveryThreeDays campaign, I write about a woman killed by a man. Previously in this campaign, which started on 2nd May 2021, I have remembered 79 women, the last being Sian Blake, an actress who appeared in BBC TV’s Eastenders and the TV programmes Casualty, The Bill and Skins.
Today we remember mother-of-two Kathleen Griffin, 57, who was killed at her home in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, by 26-year-old Scott Hilling after being tied up and stabbed up to 14 times.
At the time of his trial the Dail Mail reported:
Hilling – who has admitted manslaughter but denies murder – said he had taken off her clothing and tried to put her body in a wheelie bin before setting it alight, Chelmsford Crown Court was told.
The court heard that Miss Griffin lived alone in her flat but Hilling had stayed with her previously after they met through their mutual friend Elaine Brown. Hilling had been investigated by police after allegedly attacking Mrs Brown in April 2014, and last June she called officers to inform them that Hilling had beaten her up.
He was arrested on both occasions but never convicted. However, despite this, Miss Griffin invited Hilling to live with her after he was made homeless last September. Miss Griffin was last seen alive at 2pm on December 17 – and by 5.30 pm the same day Hilling had confessed his actions to friends, the court heard.
The East Anglican Daily Times later reports:
A man behind the “brutal, horrific and savage” killing of a “defenceless” Good Samaritan has been sentenced to 16 years in prison. Scott Hilling, 26, admitted the manslaughter of diminished responsibility of Kathleen Griffin at her home in Old Road, Clacton, on December 17 last year.
He had tied her up and “tortured” her by inflicting a number of small wounds with scalpel, before delivering four fatal wounds to her heart. Ms Griffin, 57, had taken in the homeless Hilling under her roof to give him somewhere to stay. Hilling was cleared of murder after trial judge His Honour Charles Gratwicke QC directed a jury to find him not guilty when prosecutors did not offer a psychiatrist to challenge the defence of diminished responsibility.
But this was not the end of the matter with the Braintree & Witham Times reporting in 2019:
A report by Tendring Community Safety Partnership found Hilling had been released from custody prior to the killing without medication or mental health treatment. It said: “His history was not researched, was not taken into account in agency risk assessments and actions taken when they should have been.”
It added: “Crucially, there was no home visit to the flat to check the appropriateness of him living there, and no connection was made that she was a victim of a previous assault by him.
“There was a significant lack of professional curiosity and investigative practice.”
Kathleen’s death therefore could have been prevented – she was killed exactly six years ago today, 17th December 2015.
Another failure by those who we expect to care.