Met Police refers itself to watchdog after woman fatally stabbed in Westminster home

A woman was knifed repeatedly at the £3.1m home  (William Warnes/PA Wire)
A woman was knifed repeatedly at the £3.1m home (William Warnes/PA Wire)

Scotland Yard has referred itself to the police watchdog after officers waited until the next morning to respond to calls and then found a woman stabbed to death.

Metropolitan Police officers forced their way into the £3.1 million home in Stanhope Place, Bayswater, on Monday, which was 12 hours after friends of the victim raised concerns about her welfare.

A woman in her twenties was found dead with a number of stab injuries and a murder investigation is now underway.

The first call was made at 7.05pm on Sunday and a second at 9.34pm, but police did not respond immediately as she was initially graded as a medium-risk missing person, the force said.

Officers entered the Grade II-listed terraced home - which dates from the 1820s - near Marble Arch at 8.30am the next day.

The scene on Stanhope Place, Bayswater, where a murder investigation is under way (William Warnes/PA Wire)
The scene on Stanhope Place, Bayswater, where a murder investigation is under way (William Warnes/PA Wire)

Scotland Yard said in a statement: “The Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards has been informed and a mandatory referral will be made to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) in relation to the initial contact from the woman’s friends.”

The force added it is working to trace and inform the woman’s next of kin, and a post-mortem examination will be held in due course. No arrests have been made so far.

One elderly neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said she heard two “high-pitched screams” on Sunday night.

The woman, who has lived on the street for over half a century, told MailOnline: “I did hear very, very high-pitched screams on Sunday evening coming from that direction.

“A series of screams. I recall two – I’m very sensitive to sound. They were very unusual. There was no other sound other than the screams, then silence after.

“I was in my room and I thought, ‘That’s very strange,’ Then I recall there was a sound from the other side of my house.

“What could I do? If it had continued I would have stuck my head out.”

Detective chief inspector Adam Clifton, who is leading the investigation, said: “I understand this news will be concerning, and that local women especially may be worried.

“Our inquiries are in the very early stages and we are keeping an open mind as to the motive, however I can assure people that my team are working 24/7 to establish what happened to the woman, and to identify and arrest whoever may be responsible for this attack.

“My officers now need support and information from the public. I want to ask local people to check doorbell cameras, and for drivers in the area to think about whether they’ve seen anything unusual that might have been captured on dash cam. Did you notice any unusual activity at the address? If you did then it is imperative that we hear from you.”

Chief superintendent Louise Puddefoot, lead for policing in Westminster, added: “Our thoughts are with the woman and her family. My officers will do everything we can to support the investigation and they will be stationed in the area to speak to anyone who has any information or concerns they want to share with us.”

An IOPC spokesman said: “We can confirm that we have this afternoon received a referral from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) after a woman was found dead by officers at a property in Stanhope Place, W2 on the morning of 8 April 2024.

“The referral relates to previous contact after two calls were made to police on Sunday evening (7 April) by a friend of the woman to report her missing. We will assess the referral and decide what further action may be required from us.”

Anyone with information should call 101 or ‘X’ @MetCC ref CAD 6784/7 Apr or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.