Mother lay dead in airing cupboard for 15 months 'unnoticed' by authorities

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
Victoria Cherry's body was found badly decomposed in a cupboard at boyfriend Andrew Reade's house 15 months after she disappeared (GETTY)

A mother-of-three's body was left undiscovered for over a year before it was discovered due to 'serious failings'of professionals.

Victoria Cherry went missing but her body was discovered 15 months later at boyfriend Andrew Reade's house in Bolton in January 2017.

Ms Cherry's body was so badly decomposed that investigators were unable to determine a cause of death.

Andrew Reade was initially charged with murder but prosecutors had insufficient evidence to charge (PA)

The Manchester Evening News reports how Reade was at first arrested for her murder.

But the decomposition of her body was so bad that prosecutors had little evidence to prosecute.

Reade was initially arrested on suspicion of her murder.

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But the state of her body left detectives with insufficient evidence to prosecute.

In June 2017, Reade was sentenced to 4 years in prison for preventing the unlawful burial of a body and perverting the course of justice.

A Domestic Homicide Review was launched to find out how Ms Cherry’s disappearance went unnoticed by police and other services for so long.

A review found mother of three Victoria Cherry was not discovered due to a lack of communication between protection agencies (PA)

The review found agencies involved with the couple did not communicate, and that no sign of domestic violence had been found.

Report author David Mellor, who is a retired police officer, said: “The failure of agencies in contact with [Reade and Ms Cherry] to enquire about and share concerns in respect of Michelle’s sudden disappearance contributed to the delay in discovering [Ms Cherry’s] body.

“The delay in discovering [Ms Cherry’s] body meant that it was not possible to determine the cause of her death.

“If [Reade] did in fact murder her, the delay in finding her body enabled him to evade justice.”

General view of Bolton Crown Court, Bolton.

A series of 42 recommendations are made in the report for improvements by nine of the agencies involved with Ms Cherry and Reade and five multi-agency recommendations.

Responding to the review and recommendations. Chief Supt Stuart Ellison, chairman of Be Safe Bolton Strategic Partnership, said: “This is a very tragic case and on behalf of the partnership, I would like to express our sincere condolences to the family.

“We commissioned the review to see if there were any lessons to be learned to improve the way we work together to protect victims of domestic abuse.

“The panel’s findings and recommendations have been shared with all the agencies involved in the review. Clearly there are things that could have been done better.