Ex-partner sidelined in Luisa death inquest.
Byline: Agency Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
THE ex-partner of a woman found dead in Leamington has been banned from taking a central role at the inquest into her death. The body of Luisa Mendes, 44, was discovered at an address in Briar Close, Lilington, in October 2012, and an inquest into her death is due to be held next month.
Her former partner, Jose Costa, insisted he should be treated as an "interested party" and permitted to play an active part in the inquest. A coroner refused to do that in September last year, after finding that he and Miss Mendes were never married and their relationship had broken down. Challenging that ruling at London's High Court, his lawyers pointed out that they had been in an "enduring relationship" for years.
Barrister, Una Morris, said they had been through a wedding ceremony in Egypt, although that was not recognised as a valid marriage in England. Although they broke up before her death, they had bought a property together and both their names were on the mortgage, she added.
Mr Justice Wyn Williams said Mr Costa's bid to be fully involved in the inquest had been resisted by Miss Mendes' brother.
And, dismissing Mr Costa's complaints, the judge could find no fault in the coroner's decision.
His relationship with Miss Mendes had "broken down many months before" her death and there was no evidence that either intended to resurrect it. And their remaining financial ties were not evidence of any continuing emotional attachment between them, ruled the judge.
"The coroner made findings of fact which wholly justified his ultimate conclusion", he concluded.
Had Mr Costa been recognised as an interested party, he would have had an independent right to put forward arguments at the inquest.
But the ruling means that he will have to take a seat on the sidelines.
Two men, aged 63 and 50, were arrested in connection with Ms Mendes' death but were released without charge.
Three police call handlers received written warnings for gross misconduct in connection with her death after an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Warwickshire Police received an emergency call at 8.13pm on October 24, 2012, which ended before the caller provided any details.
A call handler returned the call and spoke to two men and a woman, identified as Ms Mendes, who said they were at the address, with Ms Mendes claiming that she had been assaulted.
The call was graded as a 'priority' which required police to attend within one hour and was transferred to a controller whose role was to dispatch officers to the scene.
But the IPCC investigation found that no resources were sent to the house until the following morning, when there was no answer and the officer left. Shortly before 11am on October 25, Warwickshire Police were called to the house by the ambulance service following the discovery of Ms Mendes' body.
The IPCC concluded that there was a failure by staff to prioritise the incident and send officers to the scene despite three controllers viewing the incident collectively on ten occasions between 8.24pm and 10.59pm.
| Luisa Mendes
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|Publication:||Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)|
|Date:||Apr 9, 2016|
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