24th November 2015

Oldham Coroner’s Court,
Sitting at Oldham County Court before HM Coroner for the County of Greater Manchester (North District) Simon Nelson.
24 November 2015 (the inquest is expected to last for 3 weeks)

A three week inquest starts today into the death of Tracey Shelvey, who died following the acquittal of the man she alleged of rape.

Tracey died on 3 February 2014 after jumping or falling from the roof of the Wheatsheaf shopping centre in Rochdale.  She had been told days earlier that Patrick Hall, a man she had accused of raping her had been acquitted of her rape and the rapes of a number of other women following a retrial.  Tracey had given evidence at both trials.  Before she jumped whilst negotiators were trying to talk her down, Tracey complained about how the police had ‘screwed up the case’ and questioned how a man could ‘get away’ with six rapes.

Tracey was a ‘vulnerable adult’ who was well known to the local mental health service and Rochdale borough council.  Between November 2011 when she first reported the rape until February 2014, there were over 30 occasions when reports were made raising concerns about Tracey’s mental state, including approximately 10 previous incidents of threatened suicide or self harm.

Two IPCC reports have been undertaken, one into the circumstances surrounding Tracey’s death and a second, unpublished, report into Greater Manchester Police’s handling of the six rape allegations.  Tracey was the fourth woman to report rape; he was arrested but not charged on three previous occasions, and he was also not charged following Tracey’s report.  It was only after a fifth woman reported rape, that the CPS made a decision to proceed with a prosecution.

Family of Tracey Shelvey said:

“Tracey had a number or problems in life but she was a good person and loving mother. She agreed to give evidence in the trial and re-trial of Patrick Hall because she was concerned at the number of others he had allegedly attacked including an underage girl. She helped the state but we feel was let down by the state agencies. We want the inquest to explore that, and we hope that lessons can be learned so other vulnerable women are protected from such failures in the future.”

Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST said:

“Tracey’s death highlights the inadequacy of the systems in place to adequately protect women who allege sexual abuse.

There must now be a robust and thorough inquest in order to appropriately consider whether Tracey, as a vulnerable adult, received the correct level of support from the three state bodies involved.”

INQUEST has been working with the family of Tracey Shelvey since her death in February  2014.  The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Harriet Wistrich from Birnberg Peirce Solicitors and Paul Clarke from Garden Court Chambers.