Officers acted correctly over mother’s child killing, say investigators

Neil Close and Julie Stout, brother and sister of Melanie Ruddell, a woman who killed her two-year-old son Christy before carrying his lifeless body into a police station. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 30, 2012. The family of a woman who killed her two-year-old son said after an inquest today that his death may have been prevented, but that their concerns 'fell on deaf ears'. Melanie Ruddell, 40, suffered a swift psychotic breakdown before she strangled her toddler, Christy, at her brother's home in West Rainton, near Durham, in August 2010. See PA story INQUEST Mother. Photo credit should read: Arj Singh/PA Wire
Neil Close and Julie Stout, brother and sister of Melanie Ruddell, a woman who killed her two-year-old son Christy before carrying his lifeless body into a police station. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 30, 2012. The family of a woman who killed her two-year-old son said after an inquest today that his death may have been prevented, but that their concerns 'fell on deaf ears'. Melanie Ruddell, 40, suffered a swift psychotic breakdown before she strangled her toddler, Christy, at her brother's home in West Rainton, near Durham, in August 2010. See PA story INQUEST Mother. Photo credit should read: Arj Singh/PA Wire
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NO one could have predicted mum Melanie Ruddell would kill her child, an investigation has claimed.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) probe into the tragic killing of baby Christy also found officers acted appropriately when dealing with Ruddell in the days before the two-year-old’s death.

BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE. ''Undated Durham Police handout photo of Christy Ruddell as a coroner was expected to deliver his verdict on the death of the two-year-old boy whose mother strangled him before carrying his lifeless body into a police station. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday May 30, 2012. Christy's mother Melanie, 40, suffered a mental breakdown and killed her son at her brother's home in West Rainton, near Durham, in August 2010. She drove to Peterlee police station and walked in clutching her toddler's limp body, an inquest heard earlier this month. Ms Ruddell had been taken to the University Hospital of Hartlepool but left before psychiatrists could assess her, saying she wanted to see her son. Ms Ruddell's family has told the hearing at Sunderland Civic Centre she was besotted with Christy. See PA story INQUEST Mother. Photo credit should read: Durham Police/PA Wire ''NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illu

BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE. ''Undated Durham Police handout photo of Christy Ruddell as a coroner was expected to deliver his verdict on the death of the two-year-old boy whose mother strangled him before carrying his lifeless body into a police station. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday May 30, 2012. Christy's mother Melanie, 40, suffered a mental breakdown and killed her son at her brother's home in West Rainton, near Durham, in August 2010. She drove to Peterlee police station and walked in clutching her toddler's limp body, an inquest heard earlier this month. Ms Ruddell had been taken to the University Hospital of Hartlepool but left before psychiatrists could assess her, saying she wanted to see her son. Ms Ruddell's family has told the hearing at Sunderland Civic Centre she was besotted with Christy. See PA story INQUEST Mother. Photo credit should read: Durham Police/PA Wire ''NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illu

The report states that Northumbria and Durham police officers had no powers to detain the 40-year-old mum under the Mental Health Act.

Ruddell is detained in a secure facility for the manslaughter of her son following a nervous breakdown.

The IPCC investigation found that Ruddell contacted Northumbria Police at about 6.10pm on August 7, 2010, alleging she had been sexually assaulted a week earlier in Sunderland.

Officers forwarded the complaint to Durham police and two officers visited her Castle Eden home, where they found her with two friends.

They raised fears with police over Ruddell, who was behaving “out of character”.

The officers attempted to quiz her over the alleged assault but said she was confused and made little sense.

They left her with the friends and said they would return next day.

But in the early hours of the morning, she called police again claiming someone was coming to her house to “get her”.

She called another two times and both calls were relayed to Cleveland Police.

The two officers again visited her in the morning and found her with friends and her brother, Neil Close.

They discussed plans to seek medical help and the officers left her with her family.

At about 4pm, two Northumbria Police officers arrived at Ruddell’s house to investigate the sexual assault claim.

A friend said an ambulance was on its way, which took her to the University Hospital Hartlepool.

Officers spoke to Mr Close that evening and were told his sister had refused to stay in hospital. He added that Ruddell and Christy would be staying at his West Rainton home that night.

That night, Ruddell phoned Northumbria and Durham police several times about the alleged sex attack.

During one call, she claimed people were saying she had harmed Christy and she was a paedophile. It was claimed she was rambling and incoherent. The report found there was no concern for Christy’s welfare from the officers.

At 7.58am on Monday, August 9, Mrs Ruddell walked into Peterlee police station with Christy’s body after strangling him.

Nicholas Long, IPCC commissioner, said: “This was a terrible tragedy. From all the accounts I have seen, Mrs Ruddell was a devoted mother who suffered a sudden and severe breakdown.

“Mrs Ruddell’s family, friends and the officers involved over the course of these two days reported how caring she was to Christy.

“There was never any indication of a threat to Christy. The officers who visited Mrs Ruddell showed care and compassion and assisted as much as they could.

“Nobody could have predicted that the events would have such a tragic conclusion.”

A phone call taken by Cleveland police and one by Durham were found to have been dealt with unprofessionally and inappropriately.

During the call to Cleveland police, the call handler told Ruddell to dial 999 again and ask for Durham police. The handler who dealt with the call to Durham dismissed it without making any notes.

Action has been taken against them both.

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