Lack of communication between police and other authorities "contributed significantly" to the events that culminated in a man killing a pensioner with a machete and hammer, the police watchdog has said.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct has issued a highly critical ruling on North Wales Police, the National Probation Service and the Community Rehabilitation Company after the murder of 67-year-old retired restaurant owner Nicholas Churton.
The disabled pensioner, from Wrexham, was found lying dead on the sofa of his living room in Crescent Close, Wrexham, with major head injuries in March 2017.
He had been killed by Jordan Davidson, a few months after the then 25 year old had been released from Park Prison in December 2016. In the days before the killing Davidson had carried out two burglaries in the same area and boasted in text messages about his machete and how he was going to "go up a level" and "cross a line".
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said that in the three months after his release from prison, Davidson had been reported to police eight times for incidents including being in possession of a bladed article in a public place.
14 December 2016 – The arrest of Mr Davidson for theft from Poundstretcher. Davidson later pleaded guilty.
31 January 2017 – Report of an assault on Mr Davidson.
14 February 2017 – Allegation of sexual assault for which he was not charged due to insufficient evidence.
1 March 2017 - Arrest for theft from Lidl. Davidson later pleaded guilty.
8 March 2017 – Report from a member of the public that there was an unknown male inside her vehicle. Davidson was identified as a suspect but was not charged.
8 March 2017 – Report by Mr Davidson’s landlord that he was bringing stolen property back to the address and that he wished him to leave. Incident closed by NWP as the owner of the property stated it had been returned to him and he did not wish to make a complaint.
13 March 2017 - Arrest for breach of the peace. Davidson was released from custody shortly afterwards.
19 March 2017 – Arrest for possession of a bladed article in a public place. Davidson was released on bail.
Davidson had not been classed as 'high risk' on release because he had not been convicted of any violent or sexual offences.
It meant that North Wales Police did not breach procedures as they were not required to highlight incidents to the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC), who had responsibility for Davidson, or the National Probation Service (NPS).
But the IOPC has called for North Wales Police, the NPS and the CRC to improve their information sharing as a "matter of priority".
Neither the NPS or CRC were informed that Davidson was arrested for possession of a bladed article on March 19, 2017, until March 24, 2017, the day Mr Churton is understood to have been murdered.
The investigation also found a case to answer for misconduct for one police sergeant in relation to not carrying out an adequate assessment of available information prior to Davidson’s release on bail after he had been arrested for the possession of a bladed article.
The sergeant will face a misconduct meeting, to be arranged by North Wales Police, in due course.
Retired restaurateur Nicholas Churton, 67, was found a week after his death in his one-bedroom flat in Wrexham, having been killed with a 24-inch machete and a hammer.
Killer Jordan Davidson, 25, had posed for pictures with the weapon in the days leading up to the murder, describing it as “his new toy”.
Grandfather Mr Churton had seven separate injuries to the face, skull and neck. Some of these had cut right through the bone, cutting into the brain and the spinal cord.
There were also two major injuries to the right hand, cutting through the bones and almost severing the hand completely. Those injuries were consistent with Mr Churton trying to protect himself with his right hand.
Blood spatter patterns in the hallway suggested the victim had been lying on the floor when he was attacked and his body was dragged into the living room and lifted onto the sofa.
His family described Mr Churton as "a lovely man" who was physically frail but "wanted to live life to the full" and was, despite his physical problems, engaging and charismatic and "always had a tale to tell".
IOPC director for Wales Catrin Evans said: “The ad hoc liaison arrangements between North Wales Police and the CRC have significantly contributed to the sequence of events. There was no documented process, clear audit or specific guidance for those dealing with incidents involving Jordan Davidson and the decision to engage with the CRC was left to the discretion and experience of individual officers, with varying results.
“Our role is to investigate serious allegations against the police and we have no direct remit over the Probation Service or CRC. We have shared and discussed the findings and learning from our investigations with these bodies, as well as Mr Churton’s family for whom I again express my sympathies.
“I am arranging a meeting with North Wales Police and the Probation Service to discuss systemic issues and reinforce the need for them to work together better. It is important that together they improve their processes and criteria for sharing information regarding medium and low risk individuals on licence.
“This could be through the use of automated processes for data sharing to allow for a timely decision to be made about whether to recall a person to prison.”
It is the conclusion of a second investigation and the IOPC team have been in continued liaison with North Wales Police, the NPS and CRC over their concerns arising out of the two investigations.
As a result of the first investigation into prior North Wales Police contact with Nicholas Churton, two officers faced misconduct meetings.
The IOPC and the force agreed that these officers had a case to answer. Misconduct was not found proven at the meetings held by the force and the officers’ conduct was deemed to amount to unsatisfactory performance.
A statement from the IOPC added: "We have also concluded an investigation into the conduct of former Chief Constable for North Wales Police Mark Polin.
"The investigation followed a complaint alleging that Mr Polin misled the complainant about the details of our investigation into NWP’s actions prior to the murder of Nicholas Churton.
"We carried out a thorough investigation into the allegations made within this complaint, but did not find any evidence to indicate that Mr Polin may have made a deliberate attempt to mislead the complainant.
"Publication of our full reports will await the conclusion of the outstanding misconduct proceedings."