Page last updated at 11:55 GMT, Friday, 9 May 2008 12:55 UK

Szmecht case to be investigated

Monika Szmecht
Monika Szmecht was murdered by her ex-boyfriend

The way the police dealt with allegations of domestic violence by a woman who was later stabbed and set alight is to be investigated.

Monika Szmecht, 21, was taken to a remote spot in Rainford, Merseyside, and murdered last June.

Her ex-boyfriend, Anthony Clarke, 27, was convicted of her murder on 1 May.

Police referred concerns over how they handled her allegations of domestic abuse at his hands to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Mike Franklin, IPCC Commissioner for the North West, decided that an independent investigation should be conducted once the criminal proceedings against Clarke were completed.

Anthony Clarke
Anthony Clarke was jailed for life earlier this month

Mr Franklin said: "This was a horrifically brutal murder and my condolences go out to Ms Szmecht's family and friends.

"It is known that Merseyside Police had been in contact with Ms Szmecht and she had raised concerns about Mr Clarke's behaviour towards her in the days leading up to her murder.

"Our investigation will examine whether officers observed the correct policies and procedures and whether Ms Szmecht was afforded sufficient protection."

Ms Szmecht, who was originally from Kloda, Poland, was stabbed six times and set alight in revenge for her attempt to blackmail her former boyfriend.

She was forced into a cage where she was held for four hours before being driven to Rainford, where she was stabbed several times, doused in petrol and set alight.

But Ms Szmecht survived long enough to crawl 150 yards to a house and, moments before she died, named Clarke as the person responsible.

Clarke, of Halsey Crescent, West Derby, Liverpool, was jailed for life on 2 May.

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