Man told police he would 'take law into his own hands' before stabbing neighbour

PUBLISHED: 08:00 06 May 2017

Robert Ralph Cox

Robert Ralph Cox


Police call handlers have been given new guidelines to follow, after a vulnerable man was told it was 'up to him' if he wanted to take the law into his own hands went on to kill someone.

Robert Cox, who was from Highbridge and worked for a furniture shop in Weston-super-Mare, was stabbed outside the Egerton Road Project in Bristol, a home for people who are vulnerable, homeless and have mental illnesses.

Derek Hancock, who lived in the same property, pleaded guilty to Mr Cox’s manslaughter and was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison.

An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission found Hancock, aged 42, had called Avon and Somerset Constabulary three times on the day he stabbed Mr Cox, in August 2013.

Hancock told police call handlers he had been threatened by Mr Cox, and was angry the police had not arrested him.

During the final call with police handlers, Hancock said: “I will take the law into my own hands, because the law is not doing anything.”

He was told: “Well, that’s entirely up to you, Derek, OK?”

Following an investigation by the IPCC, which has been published following the inquest into Mr Cox’s death last month, Avon and Somerset Constabulary has created a new way to alert call handlers that someone may be vulnerable.

IPCC associate commissioner Guido Liguori said: “The training and support provided to staff to engage and support people with mental health issues was inadequate, and it is concerning the calls made by Mr Hancock from Egerton Road in the months leading up to the incident were neither linked nor marked as being made from a home with vulnerable residents.

“Avon and Somerset police has provided assurance it has taken action following our recommendations.”

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