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We need more support, says daughter of woman stabbed to death on Chalcots estate

'I never got to hold my mum’s hand that final time, as my mum had to be defrosted for the second post-mortem'

24 March, 2018 — By William McLennan

Caroline Snowling and her mother Hannah Leonard

THE daughter of a woman who was stabbed to death in her home on the Chalcots estate has slammed the lack of support given to bereaved families.

Caroline Snowling, whose mother Hannah Leonard was killed in her flat in Bray tower last month, is calling for an overhaul of the system.

She said: “There has been no support put in place by the government, with no professional support for myself or my children.”

Ms Snowling has launched an online petition and hopes to force a parliamentary debate on the issue by amassing more than 100,000 signatures.

She said: “My main focus is just getting this to parliament to get a change in the law as it is so outdated.”

Ms Leonard, who was born in Cork, Ireland, moved to London in the 1980s. Her daughter described her as a “true Irish lady” who was “a very strong and independent woman who loved her community”.

Writing on, she said: “To date, I have still not received any referrals for counselling or professional help for my children, who know that Nanny was murdered because it was all over the media and press. No access to support groups has been offered and I find it devastating. Victim Support, I appreciate are doing a fantastic job, but the funding has to be there to enable them to offer more and offer it quickly.”

She said that she has been “hit with a £5,000 funeral bill that no one was expected or prepared for.”

She said: “Rather than a compensation payment that can take time to come through, a fund should be set up to allow families instant access to financial support for the funeral.”

She also called for a reduction in the amount of time given to defence lawyers to request a second post-mortem.

She said: “I never got to hold my mum’s hand that final time, as my mum had to be defrosted for the second post-mortem. This caused my mum to start to decompose, and was not in a state that I was allowed to see or touch. I had to hug my mum’s coffin on the floor. The timescale of the defence team being allowed up to 28 days to complete a second post-mortem is far too long and should be reduced to 10 days after the first post-mortem.”

Lucy Casey, 43, and James Whitaker, 28, have been charged with murder and will go on trial at the Old Bailey later this year.

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