Police officers who investigated the brutal murder of a Spalding dinner lady her and daughter were honoured at an awards ceremony on Tuesday evening.
The officers received Chief Constable’s Commendation certificates at the Lincolnshire Police Awards for their part in Operation Leopard, the investigation into the murders of Elizabeth Edwards and her 13-year-old daughter Katie.
The brutal killings took place in April 2016 and were carried out by Elizabeth’s 14-year-old daughter Kim and her boyfriend Lucas Markham, also 14.
The pair had planned the murders over a period of several days and had taken great care in carrying them out without disturbing the neighbours.
Elizabeth and Katie were both murdered in their Dawson Avenue beds as they slept. Following the brutal attack, Kim and Lucas remained in the house for a further 36 hours until the police arrived.
During sentencing, judge Mr Justice Haddon-Cave commended the first three officers on the scene, saying: “I would like to pay tribute and commend the officers who attended the scene and were involved in the discovery of the bodies of Elizabeth and Katie and the arrests of the defendants.”
The case was subject to intense national media coverage as the killers were the youngest to be convicted of a double murder, which meant additional scrutiny and pressure on the team.
Markham pleaded guilty to both murders and Kim Edwards was convicted of both, following a trial. They were sentenced to 17-and-a-half years’ imprisonment each.
Police Chief Constable Bill Skelly said: “This was a harrowing and complex case and one in which all officers and staff involved demonstrated the highest levels of professionalism, dedication and commitment.”
Recipients were: First officers on the scene Constable Charles Ferguson, Sergeant Chris Fletcher and Constable Alastair Pullen; Sergeant Sarah Allen, Angela Hibbitt and Carole Flintham who ran the incident room; family liaison officers Detective Constable Christopher Dickinson, Detective Constable Lorraine Speight and Detective Constable Beth Wilmot; Detective Constable Matthew Naylor and Detective Constable Mark Croft who worked on the file and disclosure; senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Martin Holvey (now retired) who was supported throughout the case by Detective Inspector Jim Hodgson; Detective Constable Dianne Squires who obtained accounts from young witnesses; crime scene manager John Bett (now retired) and crime scene investigator Mark Green; and Detective Inspector Helen Evans (now retired), who liaised with Children’s Services.