The Lancashire Constabulary has referred itself to a police watchdog over its handling of the tragic case of Kiena Dawes.
The twenty-three-year-old died after being hit by a train near Garstang on the Preston to Lancaster line on Friday afternoon (July 22nd).
Six days on from the incident, the Constabulary has now confirmed that they have referred themselves to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) over their handling of an alleged assault in the weeks before her death.
The force have confirmed that Kiena, who leaves behind her nine-month-old daughter, was assaulted and suffered a head injury two weeks prior to her suicide.
Officers also revealed that a twenty-eight-year-old man from Fleetwood had been arrested on suspicion of assault, and had been released on bail pending further enquiries.
Kiena’s family have since released photographs showing the mum-of-one with graphic head injuries, in a video shared to Facebook by her brother.
A spokesperson for Lancashire Police said today: “First and foremost our thoughts are with Kiena’s loved ones at this difficult time.
“We have referred ourselves to the IOPC (Independent Office for Police Conduct) in relation to contact we had with Kiena before her death.
“Therefore it would be inappropriate to comment any further at this time.”
Kiena’s brother Kynan Dawes told Lancashire Live that his sister ‘was in such a bad place in her head’ and ‘took the decision to end what was an awful battle in her life’.
He has also pledged to give up his job as a builder to take care of his niece, promising to be there for her ‘through thick and thin’.
A GoFundMe has also been set up by family friend Matthew Sanderson to support Kynan and Marnie, as well as to pay towards Kiena’s funeral costs.
The fundraiser has already raised over £13,000 of its £2,500 goal. You can donate here.
If you’re struggling with mental health issues, there are people out there you can talk to.
For confidential support the Samaritans can be contacted for free around the clock 365 days a year on 116 123. You can also email the Samaritans at email@example.com, write to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA or visit www.samaritans.org/branches to find your nearest branch.
You can also contact the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) at 0800 58 58 58 or via their website here.
Alternatively, you can find more mental health services around Greater Manchester on the NHS Foundation Trust website.
Anyone suffering domestic abuse can find help on the Women’s Aid website here and on Refuge’s website here.
Rishi Sunak ‘blames people on benefits’ for high inflation in ‘shocking’ footage
Sunak said the government needs to be ‘tougher on benefit claimants’ in order to bring inflation down
Conservative leader candidate Rishi Sunak has been criticised after he appeared to blame benefit claimants for high inflation and labour shortages.
In his leadership speech to Conservative members last night, the former chancellor said the country’s main challenge other than soaring energy costs is ‘getting people to actually work’.
He said: “I strongly believe that part of the answer to this problem is being much tougher on our welfare system.
“Right now, there are more people claiming unemployment benefit than there are job vacancies in the economy.
“If there are hours to do, and if there’s a job going, people should have to take the job as opposed to just being able to stay on benefits.
“That’s the change I want to bring… and it’s good for the economy because it’ll ease inflation.”
He went on to say that in order to bring inflation down, the country needs to ‘increase the supply of things’, adding that because inflation is in the labour market, the government must become ‘much tougher’ on welfare claimants.
Peter Stefanovic, a lawyer from The Communications Union, slammed Sunak’s comments as ‘beyond shocking’, and pointed out that the majority of benefit claimants are either in work or seeking work.
He said: “40% of people on Universal Credit are actually in work. 56% of people in poverty are in a working family. Seven in ten children in poverty have at least one parent that works.
“Those claiming benefits, contrary to what they appear to be suggesting, are not lazy skivers. Needing benefits is not a shameful thing.
“All of this says much more about those running the country than it does about those claiming benefits.”
This comes just weeks after leaked footage showed Sunak boasting about taking money from ‘deprived urban areas’ to benefit affluent conservative areas.
Andy Burnham urges people to use buses as price drop confirmed
He admitted that the region’s buses still need a lot of improvement, however…
Andy Burnham has urged people to start using buses more often as cheaper fares are set to be rolled out across the region.
Yesterday, the mayor announced that bus fares across Greater Manchester will be capped at £2 a journey and £5 a day from the first week of September.
Describing the price drop as ‘a glimmer of light in tough times’, Burnham also revealed that fares will be capped at £1 for under sixteens, and that passengers aged between sixteen and eighteen will travel for free.
Burnham added that the cheaper fares will be paid for by ‘more people using buses’, before pointing out that many are ‘a third or half full at the moment’.
In the wake of his announcement, Burnham then launched a campaign calling on the public to ‘Get On Board’ and use buses when the lower fares come into force.
However, he admitted that Greater Manchester’s bus system still needs improvement, pointing out that he won’t be using the buses because they wouldn’t get him to work on time.
He said, as per the Manchester Evening News: “I do get public transport all of the time. I just live in an area where I have to get the train because I wouldn’t get into the office on time.
“It’s just a reflection, I’m afraid, of where the bus system is at at the moment. It isn’t the easiest to use, the routes don’t always go where you want them to go and as quickly as people want them to go.
“So I’m a bit of a victim of that at the moment. But I do use public transport all of the time – I use the tram all the time, I use the bus – and I’m not asking anybody to do anything that I’m not doing myself.”
He went on to acknowledge the financial pressures people are under at the moment, which is a contributing factor to why local leaders agreed to subsidise bus fares.
This comes as all buses in the city-region prepare to be brought back under public control for the first time in decades following a series of legal battles with bus firms.
But back in June, Burnham announced plans to fast-track the new fare structure from September to help passengers with the ongoing cost of living crisis.
Half of Brits want Woolworths to return to the high street, survey finds
Is this a sign for Woolies to finally make its comeback?
Half of Britons wish they could bring Woolworths back from the dead, a YouGov survey has revealed this week.
The retailer, lovingly nicknamed Woolies, championed the high street for decades before its demise in 2009 – so it is unsurprisingly one of the most missed out of all the lost shops from the noughties.
And a recent YouGov survey quizzing Brits on which shops they’d most like to see back on the high street found that, out of all the lost high street icons, Woolies is the most requested.
The shop made an impact across all generations, too, with those aged between fifty and sixty-four the most likely to want to see it back, at 60%.
Even a third of eighteen to twenty-four year olds – who were aged between four and ten years old when the chain closed in 2009 – want to see the store open its doors once again.
In second place is the recently closed department store Debenhams, with one in eight Britons (13%) saying they would like to see its grand return the most.
Rival chain British Home Store, which closed its stores in 2016, is also a popular choice for resurrection, with 10% of Brits wanting to see its return.
And clothing retailer C&A – which exited the UK market in 2001 but still operates internationally – came in fourth place, with 7% of shoppers wanting it to make a comeback on the high street.
There were a few other defunct brands that were listed among those surveyed, though they didn’t managed to get more than a couple of percentage points.
These included stragglers such as Toys R Us, Blockbuster, Comet, Littlewoods and Maplin.
And 1% of Brits said they wanted to see the return of department store chain House of Fraser which, insultingly enough, is still alive and (kind of) well, with thirty-three branches still operating in the UK, as well as five further stores converted to the ‘Frasers’ format.
And funnily enough, a massive one in four Britons (23%) said there weren’t any stores they’d like to bring back from the dead at all – a true pointer to the eventual death of the high street.
See the survey’s full results here.