Missed chances to stop thug due to concerns about his mental health

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A damning report has revealed that agencies missed opportunities to stop a man from murdering his ex and her son because they were more concerned about his mental health than the risk he posed.  

Warning signs to stop Daniel Boulton were overlooked after the perpetrator’s risk towards Bethany Vincent and her autistic son, Darren Henson, became ‘secondary to the perceptions of the needs of the mental health of the perpetrator.’ Something Boulton ‘manipulated to his advantage,’ the report finds. 

In May 2021 Boulton, then 30, walked 28 miles from a hostel in Skegness to Louth in Lincolnshire where he stabbed 26-year-old Ms Vincent and her nine-year-old son Darren to death. While another child, an infant who was in the home, was uninjured.

The evil crime led to a massive manhunt across Lincolnshire before Boulton was finally caught. He was convicted at Lincoln Crown Court of two counts of murder and was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 40 years. 

Judge Mr Justice Pepperall said the murders were carried out ‘calmly, callously and efficiently’ by Boulton who he described as ‘a very dangerous man’. 

Daniel Boulton when he was caught by police. Warning signs to stop Boulton were overlooked after the perpetrator’s risk towards Bethany Vincent and her autistic son, Darren Henson, became ‘secondary to the perceptions of the needs of the mental health of the perpetrator’

In May 2021 Boulton, then 30, walked 28 miles from a hostel in Skegness to Louth in Lincolnshire where he stabbed 26-year-old Bethany Vincent and her nine-year-old son Darren Henson to death

Almost three years after the murder, it has been found that a plethora of agencies and professionals failed to identify the risk that Boulton posed

Almost three years later, it has been found that a plethora of agencies and professionals failed to identify the risk that Boulton posed, which included signs of coercion and control.

While comments made by Boulton were ‘effectively disregarded’ even though they were indicators of what was to come.   

The author of the 60 page review, Dr Russell Wate QPM, stated the actual names of Ms Vincent and Darren would be used, at the family’s request, rather than pseudonyms ‘to ensure that both Ms Vincent and Darren, known as DJ, have a voice throughout this process and that this review is faithful to their legacy’.

The family also requested the reviewers refer to Boulton as the ‘perpetrator’.

The report said: ‘No words can adequately describe their loss and, as a panel, our motivation is to ensure that this review delivers an open and holistic picture of who they both were and how the learning identified can contribute to protecting other victims in the future.’

The Combined Child Safeguarding Practice Review and Domestic Homicide Review concerning the deaths of Ms Vincent and DJ concluded the perpetrator’s level of his risk to the mother and son, as well as the wider family, was ‘underestimated throughout’.

The review said: ‘What is unequivocal is that the lines of communication between agencies was not sufficient to fully understand the risks involved.’

It also stated that Ms Vincent was probably unaware of his violent past when he was convicted of assault on a previous partner in 2018. 

The report states: ‘Coupled with coercion and control, it does become apparent that other solutions and action could have been taken against the perpetrator in both mid, and then late, December 2020, but also in January 2021. The exercise of coercion and control was not identified even though there were indicators of such behaviours. Those signs were missed, even though they were part of the evidence from Bethany in her witness statements.’

The author of the 60 page review, Dr Russell Wate QPM, stated the actual names of Ms Vincent and Darren would be used, at the family’s request, rather than pseudonyms ‘to ensure that both Ms Vincent and Darren, known as DJ, have a voice throughout this process’ 

The author of the 60 page review, Dr Russell Wate QPM, stated the actual names of Ms Vincent and Darren would be used, at the family’s request, rather than pseudonyms ‘to ensure that both Ms Vincent and Darren, known as DJ, have a voice throughout this process 

Ms Vincent home in Louth where she and DJ were stabbed to death. The evil crime led to a massive manhunt across Lincolnshire before Boulton was finally caught. He was convicted at Lincoln Crown Court of two counts of murder and was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 40 years

It adds: ‘The fact that the perpetrator was repeatedly returning to Bethany’s home was an obvious indicator of the escalation of the risk of harm.’ 

The author of the 60 page review, Dr Russell Wate QPM, stated the actual names of Ms Vincent and Darren would be used, at the family’s request, rather than pseudonyms ‘to ensure that both Ms Vincent and Darren, known as DJ, have a voice throughout this process. 

Instead, magistrates gave him a 24-month community order and a restraining order, which he repeatedly breached.

The review panel acknowledged that it was within the period where ‘normal’ activities were affected by emergency legislation and governmental advice concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. But still more should have been done.

The report concluded key individuals were not aware of the extent of Boulton’s blame on nine-year-old Darren for the ‘wedge in the relationship’ between him and Ms Vincent. They were not aware of this until after the murders and ‘numerous threats and comments made by the perpetrator to different practitioners throughout, were effectively disregarded.’

Probation service staff, a social worker and Building Better Relationships manager had all met with him as he became increasingly frustrated at his lack of contact with their baby looked after by Ms Vincent at her Louth home. Ms Vincent had repeatedly said she did not want the infant to have contact with her ex-partner because there was no suitable third party to supervise the contact.

In February 2021, Boulton had been convicted of assault on Bethany and her mother and was sentenced to a 24-month community order and a restraining order. But he was granted access to the baby, through a third party.

Court orders were repeatedly breached by the ex-partner. He told a social worker he had breached the restraining order not to contact Ms Vincent six times, including a visit to her home.

In tribute to DJ the report said: ‘DJ had a massive personality and he would say anything to anyone, not in a malicious way, he just said what he thought. He was so loved’  

Boulton also complained to community mental health team staff about the impact of the lack of access to his infant child When he sought help from a mental health agency, he was told a clinician would get in touch. When the clinician repeatedly called, Boulton failed to respond and did not contact the agency when they wrote to him.

The report listed a series of recommendations to agencies to co-ordinate the raising of professionals’ awareness, knowledge and understanding of domestic violence.

It recommended that perpetrators of domestic abuse had to be robustly managed and information sharing between agencies had to be improved.

The lessons from the murders of Bethany and Darren had to be learned by all staff, it concluded.

Finally the author paid tribute to the victims, the author said the deaths had a profound effect on the families and the wider community ‘that will endure for generations to come and continue to have an impact not confined to the family but also to friends, associates, and the wider community alike’.

They added: ‘DJ and Bethany were said to be, ‘two peas in a pod’ and ‘best friends.’ DJ spent weekends with his father who was still close to Bethany and a good friend of hers.’

In tribute, the report said: ‘DJ had a massive personality and he would say anything to anyone, not in a malicious way, he just said what he thought. He had special needs and went to a school which the family describe as amazing and they really ‘got’ DJ and understood him. He was diagnosed with autism at a very young age.

‘He struggled to deal with his emotions but not in an aggressive way. He was mad keen on football and Chelsea was his favourite team. DJ also loved Mario games and everything to do with Mario. He would talk to everybody but didn’t have any idea of keeping personal space. He was so loved.’

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