Police suspended after woman dies

Two police officers have been suspended and an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has been launched after the death of a “high risk” woman who went missing from her home in St Leonards.

Clare Cruttenden was reported as a high risk missing person by Hastings Police on February 18 2014.

The next day police were called out to a Brighton hotel after a woman collapsed. She was identified as Clare and died in hospital on February 20.

Police were sent to investigate a report of an aggravated burglary at her home on February 17.

Due to the way she was treated by police and after further inquiries, a mandatory referral was made to the IPCC and they have decided that the case will be an IPCC-supervised investigation led by Sussex Police.

Two Sussex police officers have now been suspended from duty.

The Deputy Chief Constable of Sussex Police, Olivia Pinkney, visited Clare’s family to explain the process of investigation and to offer her personal apology for the way Clare was treated by the police.

A force statement said: “Sussex Police has re-referred an incident to the Independent Police Complaints Commission following the death of 30-year-old Clare Cruttenden in a Brighton hospital.

“Clare had been reported as a high risk missing person by Hastings Police on February 18. On February 19 police attended a call to a woman collapsed at a Brighton hotel. She was identified as Clare and sadly passed away in hospital the following day.”

An inquest into Ms Cruttenden’s death has been opened and adjourned.