Died 31st July 2013

Linah Keza (29) was stabbed to death at her flat in King Edward Road, Leyton, east London, on 31st July 2013.

In May 2014, at the Old Bailey, Ms Keza’s former partner David Gikawa (38) was found guilty of her murder. She died just days after she told police she was “petrified” of Gikawa.

Ms Keza worked as a model and was the mother of a small daughter who was in the flat when she died.

After her death it emerged that she had been in contact with police on three separate occasions in the days before she was killed.

A post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as stab wounds to the chest. A knife with its end broken off was found at the scene.

The court heard that Ms Keza had recently separated from Gikawa, who was the father of her child.

On the day of the murder, a neighbour heard screaming coming from Ms Keza’s flat. He was so concerned that he left his home to check on her. He heard Ms Keza call for him to “Kick down the door” and so he forced it open, but Gikawa had his back against the door and stopped him entering.

The neighbour looked through a glass panel on the door and saw Gikawa with his arm around Ms Keza’s neck. When he was able to fully open the front door to the flat, he found her lying on the floor in a pool of blood.

Detective Inspector Ken Hughes said: “Gikawa launched a violent attack on his ex-partner and mother of his young child. He showed no remorse and didn’t hang around when confronted by a concerned neighbour who came to her aid.”

The court heard that Gikawa was “motivated by jealousy”. The Old Bailey heard that Ms Keza had previously contacted both the police and social services for protection.

In his opening speech, Peter Finnigan QC, for the prosecution, said: “Linah had told him that their relationship was over.” He said Ms Keza was “was seeing another man” and wanted to be “free from the fear, threats and control”.

Mr Finnigan said Gikawa had previously attacked Ms Keza, once allegedly placing a knife inside her mouth. Police were called but she did not want to go to court and the case was dropped, the jury was told.

A few days before her death Ms Keza tried to obtain a non-molestation order from the court. In a witness statement she said their relationship “went downhill” when she became pregnant and he was “very controlling” and “made me lose a lot of my confidence and self-esteem”. She said: “I’m petrified of him. I don’t want a life of violence any more. I just want to live a safe life.”

Mr Finnigan said Ms Keza had also told police that the accused “carries a kitchen knife that he had sharpened”. He added: “It’s obvious isn’t it that the systems in place failed to prevent her death.”

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is examining police contact with Ms Keza and Gikawa, especially between 23rd and 31st July, and whether information dating back to 2010 was available to officers.

IPCC Commissioner Jennifer Izekor said: “Our investigation will seek to identify the level of contact and information known to Metropolitan Police officers before Linah’s tragic death. We have made contact with Ms Keza’s family and explained why we are involved and outlined our investigation to them. I would like to assure Ms Keza’s family that our investigation will be thorough and rigorous in determining the circumstances surrounding police contact with their loved one before her death.”

The police announced that the neighbour who came to her aid when he heard screaming will be awarded a public commendation.

Note: This report was drawn from reports in the BBC.

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