In 2018, Janet Scott was killed by Simon Mellors. Janet had had a brief relationship with Mellors the previous year while separated from her husband. She had broken up with Mellors about a month before she was killed, and had got back together with her husband.
Simon Mellors had a history of violence against women; in 1999 Mellors had killed his previous partner, Pearl Black, about a month after she broke up with him. He was released on licence in 2014 and began dating Janet in 2017. She did not know about his conviction for murder until several weeks into the relationship – by which point she had already fallen for him.
Towards the end of their relationship, Janet began to see how controlling Mellors could be. After they broke up, she became increasingly concerned for her welfare, contacting a probation officer to tell him that Mellors had followed her multiple times. Because of his conviction for Pearl Black’s murder, it should have been possible to recall Mellors to prison at any time; but the probation officer involved did not recognise Mellors’ behaviour towards Janet as stalking.
When assessing the case retrospectively, the Ministry of Justice nevertheless seemed to attempt to reassure:
The issue with this response is that systematic failures led to Janet’s death. Mellors should have been recalled to prison and he should have been properly monitored – but he wasn’t. The idea that this was some sort of unpredictable ‘tragedy’ rings hollow. This was a painful and awful event – but it should have been prevented before it happened.