Investigation into West Yorkshire Police contact with woman poisoned by family

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has begun an investigation into contact West Yorkshire Police officers had with a woman in the weeks before she suffered life-changing injuries in 2015.

Feb 23, 2024
By Paul Jacques

Ambreen Fatima Sheikh was poisoned with prescription pills and doused with a corrosive substance by members of a family she had joined following an arranged marriage.

She was left in a persistent vegetative state from which she will never recover.

Last week, five members of the same family were sentenced at Leeds Crown Court in connection with the injuries sustained by Ms Sheikh.

The court heard that concerns were raised by members of the extended family and two officers carried out a welfare check on July 12, 2015, but reported her as being fit and well.

Judge Mrs Justice Lambert said last week that she attached “little weight to that assessment” because Ms Sheikh spoke little English and her father-in-law was present during the visit.

The IOPC said following the judge’s comments during the hearing, it received a mandatory referral from West Yorkshire Police on Thursday (February 15).

“This was due to the fact two officers attended a property in Clara Street, Huddersfield, on July 12, 2015, following a report of concern for Ms Sheikh’s welfare,” it added.

On August 1, 2015, police were notified after she was admitted to Calderdale Royal Hospital with severe chemical burns and a significant brain injury.

The IOPC said its independent investigation will look at the nature of the police contact with Ms Sheikh prior to August 1, 2015, as well as the actions and decision-making of those involved.

IOPC Regional Director Emily Barry said: “Our thoughts are with Ms Sheikh and her loved ones, as well as all those affected by this deeply distressing incident.

“In light of the comments made during the recent court hearing, and the unimaginable suffering she has endured, it is only right that a thorough investigation takes place to understand the nature and extent of the police interaction with Ms Sheikh in July 2015.

“This will be carried out entirely independently of the police and consider whether there were any missed opportunities to safeguard her in the days and weeks before she was admitted to hospital.”

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