Alice Ruggles: One Year On…

Alice Ruggles is a name that many are now familiar with, having been murdered just over a year ago by her ex-boyfriend, Trimaan Dhillon.

After the breakdown of Alice’s relationship her ex-boyfriend hacked into her Facebook and emails and proceeded to bombard her and her friends with messages. On 1st October 2016 he subsequently drove 120 miles from his home in Edinburgh to Alice’s flat in Gateshead, waited near the front and back doors, leaving flowers and chocolates on her window ledge prior to disappearing. This was the last straw for Alice.

Following encouragement from her friends, Alice then reported her ex-boyfriend’s behaviour to the Police, resulting in him being issued with a harassment warning, in the form of a Police Information Notice, meaning he could be arrested if he tried to contact Alice again.

A few days later Dhillon sent Alice a parcel of photos and a letter begging her to reconcile with him. Alice reported this to the Police on 7th October 2017, at which time she was asked whether she wanted her ex-partner to be arrested. She declined and no further action was taken.

Even though Alice told the Police she did not want Dhillon arrested (possibly due to concerns this may damage his career in the army) she reported to her housemate she felt “palmed off” by the Police and also voiced concerns to her sister, Emma, that she was fearful Dhillon may stab her, which would then provoke a response from the Police.
Three days later Dhillon returned to Alice’s flat, taking a photo of the bathroom window where he planned to return to break in. 48 hours later Dhillon returned to carry out the premeditated murder.

A mere 12 days after Dhillon had originally driven all of the way to Alice’s flat, Alice was discovered murdered on her bathroom floor. Her ex-boyfriend was the primary suspect and was arrested. He was convicted in April this year and jailed for life with a minimum of 22 years.

It has since been discovered by Alice’s family that Dhillon previously received a Restraining Order from the Police for harassment of another ex-girlfriend. It is unknown whether the second police call handler that Alice reported the harassing behaviour to was aware of this Restraining Order. Northumbria Police have already completed an internal investigation, which concluded there was no evidence of misconduct by an individual officer.

Earlier this month, one year after the murder, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) have launched an investigation into the handling of the matter due to serious concerns regarding the events leading up to the murder, combined with wider issues that victims of stalking and domestic abuse are being failed and let down by the criminal justice system.

The Alice Ruggles Trust has now been set up by Alice’s parents to raise awareness of stalking.

If you or anyone you know is being or has been subjected to any form of domestic violence and abuse, (including being a victim of stalking) and advice is required as to whether any protective orders are required either for you, the victim or to safeguard their children in their care – or the perpetrator has made an application in the family courts and you have to attend, then don’t delay – contact the Domestic Violence and Abuse Department (DVAD) at Emery Johnson Astills, either by phoning 0116 255 4855, or by emailing DVAD@johnsonastills.com.

A specially trained member of staff in the DVAD of Emery Johnson Astills will be able to provide advice as to what measures you can take to protect yourself and also whether you may be eligible for Legal Aid.