Essex Police officer receives a written warning for misconduct in connection with contact with Linda Vilika prior her murder

Published: 30 Mar 2021

An Essex Police officer has received a written warning after misconduct was proven at a disciplinary hearing in connection with the officer’s actions after visiting Linda Vilika, eight days before she was murdered.

The proceedings against the officer followed a four-month investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) which began in August 2019 after a referral from Essex Police.

On 11 August 2019 Essex Police was called to the address Ms Vilika shared with her husband, Wilfred Jacob, in Great Saling after she reported feeling at risk in her own home. PC Finley Clark, and another officer, attended the address and spoke with Ms Vilika but took no further action. On 19 August, Ms Vilika was found dead at her home. Wilfred Jacob was arrested and charged with her murder. He was found guilty of her murder in January 2021 and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Our investigation found that while at the address, PC Clark spoke with Ms Vilika in her bedroom and Ms Vilika told the officer she suspected Mr Jacob of recording her without her consent. She also told the officer that he had been threatening towards her. After leaving the property, PC Clark noted on the incident log that she had viewed the messages and in her view they were not threatening. PC Clark also noted that no offences had been disclosed. Mr Jacob was not arrested and no examination was completed of his devices.

During our investigation we obtained witness statements, conducted interviews, viewed body worn video footage and gathered and analysed Essex Police’s policies and procedures.

We concluded our investigation in December 2019 when we passed our report and its findings to Essex Police. Essex Police agreed with us that PC Clark had a case to answer for gross misconduct and arranged for an independently chaired panel to hear the evidence.

A three-day gross misconduct hearing, which concluded on Wednesday 24 March, found PC Clark breached the standards of professional behaviour in relation to duties and responsibilities at misconduct level and she received a written warning.

The panel concluded the officer did not take positive action such as establishing whether Jacob should have been arrested and or looked at his devices. The officer also did not take steps to investigate the threats made by Jacob to Ms Vilika.

Essex Police also agreed that another officer had case to answer for misconduct. At a misconduct meeting the case was proven and the officer has received management action.

Regional director Graham Beesley said:

“I would like to extend my condolences to Linda’s family and friends. Linda was clearly loved by many people who no doubt are still mourning her death.

“Our investigation showed PC Clark did not adequately investigate Linda’s concerns, proactive action was not taken and opportunities were missed to fully explore Jacob’s threatening behaviour.

“Essex Police also has a duty and responsibility to ensure all its officers are aware of best practice when responding to domestic abuse calls. Ensuring women feel safe, and vitally are safe, is of paramount importance.”

A summary of our findings from our Linda Vilika investigation will be published in due course.

  • Essex Police
  • Death and serious injury