Terrified, trapped: Doreen’s DV cries for help ignored
Doreen Langham called police for help hours before she was killed and had provided them with a daily dossier of information - including CCTV footage - to prove her former partner was ignoring a domestic violence order.
The Courier-Mail has been told a civilian worker took Ms Langham's Triple-0 call on Sunday night and tasked it as "non-urgent", meaning police, who were getting a high volume of jobs, did not arrive to the Browns Plains gated complex for around three hours.
A terrified Ms Langham tearfully confided in people inside her complex in recent weeks of feeling "helpless" and not knowing how to get out of the situation she was in with her former partner, Gary Hely.
People in the gated community said she went to police "daily" with security footage and told them of four occasions that he'd breached the DVO last week alone.
They said she also made two reports on Sunday.
Chief Superintendent Brian Swan yesterday admitted police had been called by Ms Langham to the Myola St complex on Sunday evening after 9pm but they did not arrive until after midnight.
It is understood officers arrived at Ms Langham's townhouse but could not see Mr Hely's car and there did not appear to be anyone home.
Chief Supt Swan said police did not know whether Ms Langham was inside the house when they arrived to check on her welfare.
QUEENSLAND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES
Police were called to the complex again shortly before 4am when her house exploded into flames. Neighbours reported hearing arguing and a woman's screams before the home burst into flames.
Police discovered two bodies in the rubble of the home on Monday evening, believed to be Ms Langham and Mr Hely.
Mr Hely's car was discovered parked at a shopping strip a short walk away. Police said they did not know how long the car had been parked there and if it was there at 9pm when Ms Langham called for help.
The tragedy happened just two days after the anniversary of the murders of Hannah Clarke and her children, Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4 and Trey, 3, an event Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll used to reinforce their dedication to protecting victims of domestic violence.
"The message is if you need our assistance, please call out, we will be there," Ms Carroll said a week ago.
At a press conference yesterday, Chief Supt Swan said they were investigating the tragedy as a "death in police operation" given Ms Langham's call for help earlier in the night.
"A phone call was made to police and police did attend the unit a couple of hours at least before the fire," he said.
"As you know, with a coronial investigation, we are limited in the details we can provide as the coronial process is an independent process.
"It will examine the entirety of the situation with the couple, their relationship and the police interactions from the early hours on Monday morning."
Chief Supt Swan said he was not aware of how many domestic violence breaches Hely committed since a temporary protection order was granted on February 9.
"I am aware that some reports of breaches were made, again the full extent of those breaches and the investigations made in relation to them, will form part of the coronial brief and will be overviewed by the State Coroner," he said.
Chief Supt Swan admitted Ms Langham had provided them with information on Mr Hely's behaviour over a period of time, "which may contain CCTV" of domestic violence breaches.
The deaths will be investigated by police and overviewed by the State Coroner and the Crime and Corruption Commission.
A Queensland Police Service spokesman said the coronial investigation would consider the history of police interactions with Ms Langham and Mr Hely from the initial domestic and family violence report through to what happened on Sunday night and Monday morning.
"The assessment and response were based on the information available to police at the time," the spokesman said.
"The entire history of police interactions with the man and woman are being examined as part of the Coronial investigation."
The QPS spokesman said there was 'significant demand' for police at the time Ms Langham's call came through but that her call was based on the information available to police at the time.
Originally published as Dossier of DVO breach proof not enough to protect Doreen