An investigation has been launched into Scotland Yard’s handling of the Sian Blake case, the former EastEnders actress whose body was found in the garden of her home with her two young sons.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission will examine the response to concerns for the welfare of Ms Blake and sons Zachary, eight, and Amon, four, as well as the subsequent missing persons inquiry.
It is understood concerns about domestic violence were raised by a relative of Ms Blake to the NSPCC on 16 December.
A missing person’s investigation started on the same day after police attended the family home in Erith, Kent.
On Tuesday – almost three weeks later – three bodies were discovered in the garden of the property, triggering a murder inquiry.
Arthur Simpson-Kent, Ms Blake’s former partner, is being sought by police. He is believed to have fled to Ghana.
Confirming that an investigation is under way, the IPCC said police began their enquiries following a “report of concern” by visiting the home where officers spoke to Simpson-Kent. “Sadly, the bodies of Sian and her two children were found at the address 20 days later, on 5 January, 2016,” the watchdog said.
“The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation will examine the police response, actions and decision-making following the reported concern for welfare.”
Simpson-Kent, 48, was photographed at Kotoka Airport in Accra, three days after he was quizzed by police over the family’s disappearance
Ms Blake’s sister Ava said he will have to “answer to God” for his alleged actions, revealing that her sibling had told their mother, Pansy, that she wanted to get out of her relationship “a long time ago”. Ms Blake, 43, had motor neurone disease – a fatal, rapidly progressing illness which affects the central nervous system – and was looking “very frail” before she vanished.
She was last seen with her sons in Waltham Forest, east London, on 13 December.
Post-mortem examinations indicated that the three died as a result of head and neck injuries.
IPCC Associate Commissioner Tom Milsom said: ““The IPCC will be conducting a thorough investigation into how police responded to the concerns for their welfare and their disappearance.”