Georgia Williams was killed by sexual sadistic fantasist and serial killer in the making Jamie Reynolds who subjected her to the most disgusting and vile acts imaginable.
He hanged Georgia, took photographs of her in various stages of death and had sex with her before and after she died. He sent a text message to Georgia’s parents from her mobile phone purporting to be from Georgia and left the scene with her body which he concealed in Wales when he fled to Glasgow.
The murder of Georgia was fuelled by Reynolds’ obsession with “snuff” movies where people are killed, subjected to necrophilia, hanging and strangulation of teenage women.Information regarding Reynolds’ bizarre obsessions had been known to the police and other agencies five years previously when he attempted to strangle another young woman he invited to his house under the pretext of working on a project which is similar to the way he gained Georgia’s trust when she went to his house and was killed.
Having worked on serial killer investigations I’m in no doubt that Reynolds displayed early warning signs regarding serial killer traits however intervention opportunities although recognised were not implemented in a holistic multi agency approach.
Despite being assessed as a “significant risk” to others he was able to continue pursuing his fantasies and progress to his ultimate fantasy of sexually motivated murder when he killed poor trusting Georgia who fitted his sexually perverted fantasy profile.
A discretionary serious case review among other criticisms mentioned that “The repeated failure to fully consider current and future risk and its management on a multi-agency basis represents a serious failing in this case.”
Sadly, the failings regarding Reynolds are predominant issues we hear about in the media every week where there has been a lack of joined up processes, organisations operating in silos, information not shared, early behavioural indications and risks not recognised.
As former Head of Public Protection I was involved in the management of dangerous individuals under the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) where agencies have joint meetings to share information and develop plans to manage risks and protect the public from dangerous individuals.
It is not just about sharing of information, agencies need talk to each other, work with each other and develop joint risk management and action plans to deal with risks posed by dangerous individuals and protect vulnerable people.
The management of dangerous and potentially dangerous persons like Reynolds cannot be done by the police in isolation, all agencies such as Health, Social Services, Probation Services, Prison Services and importantly the public have important roles regarding the sharing of information and identification of potential risks at an early stage.
For too long professionals have been hiding behind confidentiality and an unwillingness to share information which is understandable as the law on information sharing is complex and confusing with all sorts of potential human rights, data protection and defamation issues.
The management of risks posed by dangerous individuals in our society needs collaborative and auditable information sharing protocols with MAPPA and other multi agency risk management and safeguarding processes having established formalised frameworks which require continuous review.
What happened as regards shortcomings by agencies featuring in the sad case of Georgia William’s murder should never happen again however I hate to say it will and the same issues about lack of information sharing and working together will feature in another tragic loss of life.
It would be naïve to think that we can eradicate such terrible crimes by people like Reynolds however the need to be alert to potential early warning behavioural issues which can indicate a progression to serious crime cannot be over accentuated.
Let’s hope that we learn from the information sharing and collaborative working shortcomings which feature so many times in murder cases particularly what happened in the terrible murder of Georgia Williams.
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