Murder victim ‘not failed’ by police

A nightclub bouncer who refused to cooperate with police to prosecute the man who later beat him to death was not failed by Essex Police, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has ruled.

Oct 21, 2019
By Tony Thompson

John Masser, 49, died in October 2017, two days after being assaulted in Basildon, Essex, by Steven Keeble who had become aware that Mr Masser was due to stand trial for rape.

The IOPC found that Mr Masser had been repeatedly targeted by local individuals both before and after an historic allegation of rape was made against him and that this ultimately proved to be the motivating factor behind the assault that killed him.

However, Mr Masser’s inability to secure a new address was a factor in his death, the IOPC said.

He died two months before his trial on rape charges – which he had always denied – was due to begin.

The IOPC’s report added: “The evidence suggested Essex Police did attempt a number of prosecutions against those involved in victimising the man, with one proving successful. However, the man declined to support a number of potential prosecutions – including one against the man who would ultimately go on to murder him.”

“Essex Police addressed safeguarding and welfare concerns with other agencies, but one of the key elements to the man’s safety – namely a new address – could not be secured. The evidence suggested this ultimately proved to be a factor in his death.”

“Based on the evidence available we found no indication that any person serving with the police may have behaved in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings, or had committed a criminal offence.”

Keeble, from Basildon, was jailed in 2018 for a minimum of 14 years for the murder of Mr Masser.

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