UK

Mother died while on hold to report assault after calling police SEVEN times on abusive boyfriend

A mother-of-two died while on hold to report an assault, having called police about her boyfriend seven times in the year leading up to her death.

Daniela Espirito Santo’s final call reported her partner Julio Jesus for attacking her while he was on bail for another assault that same day. 

A report leaked to The New York Times found no evidence to suggest that police caused or contributed to Ms Espirito Santo’s death at her Grantham home on April 8, 2020.

Her boyfriend, Julio Jesus, was initially charged with manslaughter but it was dropped after prosecutors said an ‘evidential link’ between the heart failure which killed Ms Espirito Santo and the attacks by Mr Jesus could not be proven.

Mr Jesus was sentenced to 10 months in jail on two counts of assault.  

The report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission revealed that in the space of 12 months, Ms Espirito Santo had called police seven times regarding her boyfriend.

A mother-of-two died while on hold to report an assault, having called police about her boyfriend seven times in the year leading up to her death

A report leaked to The New York Times found no evidence to suggest that police caused or contributed to Daniela Espirito Santo's death at her Grantham home on April 8, 2020

A report leaked to The New York Times found no evidence to suggest that police caused or contributed to Daniela Espirito Santo’s death at her Grantham home on April 8, 2020

The first call was May 19, 2019, when she was pregnant with her second child. She allegedly told officers Mr Jesus, whom she described as violent and ‘excessively jealous’ had threatened to kill her. She told police she did not want to press charges.

On the morning of her death, Ms Espirito Santo called emergency services to report Mr Jesus for throwing her on the bed and grabbing her neck. In this call, she agreed to support a prosecution against her boyfriend.

Mr Jesus was arrested and taken into custody later that day before being released on bail. The conditions of his bail dictated that he not contact Ms Espirito Santo or visit her home.

However, Mr Jesus did return to her home and attacked her again within two hours of being released.

Three hours later, Ms Espirito Santo made her final call to police. As her boyfriend had now left her home, the incident was not considered urgent and she was asked to call a non-emergency number.

When an operator picked up, after Ms Espirito Santo had been on hold for eight minutes, they could hear her baby crying. 

Ms Espirito Santo's boyfriend, Julio Jesus, was initially charged with manslaughter but it was dropped after prosecutors said an 'evidential link' between the heart failure which killed Ms Espirito Santo and the attacks by Mr Jesus could not be proven. Mr Jesus was sentenced to 10 months in jail on two counts of assault

Ms Espirito Santo’s boyfriend, Julio Jesus, was initially charged with manslaughter but it was dropped after prosecutors said an ‘evidential link’ between the heart failure which killed Ms Espirito Santo and the attacks by Mr Jesus could not be proven. Mr Jesus was sentenced to 10 months in jail on two counts of assault

When police forced entry to her home, Ms Espirito Santo was unresponsive with her baby in her arms. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Jesus was arrested and charged with manslaughter as investigators believed his attacks had affected a pre-existing heart condition Ms Espirito Santo had. 

However, a consultant cardiologist enlisted by the defence argued that stress or an argument could also have contributed to Ms Espirito Santo’s heart failure, meaning it could not be proven that Mr Jesus was directly responsible for her death.

The manslaughter charge was therefore dropped. The Crown Prosecution Service did not immediately respond to a MailOnline request for comment.

The leaked report acknowledged that officer’s decisions on the day Ms Espirito Santo died may have influenced the circumstances of her death but found no evidence that standards were breached.

Lincolnshire Police did not immediately respond to a MailOnline request for comment but told other outlets it could not comment due to an upcoming inquest into Ms Espirito Santo’s death. 

Ms Espirito Santo was one of 16 women to die from suspected domestic killings in the first month of lockdown last year. The figures are the highest reported in a decade. 

The Independent Police Complaints Commission will release its findings publicly following the conclusion of future inquest proceedings. 

Ms Espirito Santo died at her home in Grantham on April 8, 2020 after reporting her boyfriend

Ms Espirito Santo died at her home in Grantham on April 8, 2020 after reporting her boyfriend

If you are in immediate danger from domestic abuse in the UK, call 999. If you cannot speak and are calling on a mobile, press 55 to have your call transferred to the police. 

Helplines offering free, confidential advice 24/7 in the UK’s four nations can be found here

In the United States, you can get help and advice through the National Domestic Abuse Helpline.

In Australia, you can seek help and advice from the The National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line.


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