Lessons to be learned from brutal murder of Sunderland pensioner

Emblehope House, scene of the murder at Farringdon, and (inset) Beverley Briggs
Emblehope House, scene of the murder at Farringdon, and (inset) Beverley Briggs
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A SERIOUS case review has been launched after the brutal murder of pensioner Harriet Davison.

Sunderland City Council has confirmed it is carrying out the investigation in a bid to see if anything could have been done to prevent the 88-year-old’s carer, Beverley Briggs, also known as Beverley James, from killing her.

The in-depth probe will also see if any extra measures need to be brought in to prevent it from happening again.

A council spokeswoman said: “Sunderland Safeguarding Adults Partnership is currently undertaking a serious case review to identify any lessons to be learned from this case.

“This is an independently-chaired process with an independent overview author and partner agencies are not in a position to comment further until the executive summary report is published.”

Briggs, 39, of Springwell Road, Sunderland, was this week jailed for a minimum of 20 years after being found guilty of murdering Harriet in the sheltered accommodation where she lived in July.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how Briggs, who also worked as a night-time sex line worker, beat and suffocated Harriet at her flat in Emblehope Home in Allendale Road, Farringdon.

She went on to concoct an elaborate tale in a bid to cover her tracks, claiming an intruder had broken into the flat and then forced her and Harriet to carry out a series of bizarre acts.

When sentencing Briggs, Mr Justice Openshaw branded the murder of Harriet “truly shocking”.

No motive for the murder was found but the judge said he believed Briggs had been stealing the pensioner’s cash.

A total of £17 was found in her flat compared with the £17,000 cash she should have had there.

It was revealed in court that Briggs, who was employed by Sunderland-based Care at Home, had been assessed by a psychiatrist who found she does not suffer from any mental health issues.

The judge said: “What happened between them that day is known only to the defendant herself and plainly she is not going to tell anyone the truth.”

Serious case reviews are carried out when a death occurs while the person is in the care of an organisation.

It aims to find out if any lessons can be learned to help safeguard adults in the future.