A Mother's Story - Carol Faruqui speaks about her daughter's death
The story begins in October 2002 when my daughter, an IT project manager at Hyundai, met Griffiths who was making a business presentation to the Hyundai IT team.
He immediately asked her out but she was not interested, partly because she found him very intense and was concerned it would be seen as a conflict of interest.
He persisted and she finally accepted after he told her that his mother had died. Rana had recently lost her own father and was, by nature, a caring and loving individual. She thought she could offer him support and when he asked her to accompany him to his mother’s funeral, whilst she felt uncomfortable in that she was not his girlfriend and did not know his family, she could not let him down.
Later, they started to see each other but Rana was cautious and unsure if she wanted a relationship with him. At the end of November, 2002, he told her that the lease on his flat had run out and what with the trauma of losing his mother, he had done nothing to find alternative accommodation. He asked if he could stay with her temporarily and, perhaps naively, Rana agreed.
From the first day he began to move his belongings into her home. Her house was modest in size and whilst she tried to support him she became concerned that more and more of his possessions would be there when she came home from work. For Rana this was only supposed to be a temporary solution to help him out but he showed no signs of moving on.
Whenever she broached the subject he would get angry and say “where is your support?”, “Why are you knocking someone when he is down?”, “How could anyone love someone as cold hearted as you?”, and “No wonder you are still single at 35”.
This affected Rana’s confidence as one of her biggest regrets was that her father hadn’t lived to see her married and have children. Griffiths knew this and played on it continually, telling her no one could ever love her. Rana was an incredibly bubbly and confident individual – nothing stopped her living life to the full, nothing scared her and nothing was attempted half heartedly – and yet Griffiths managed to make her doubt her own self worth and in this way prevented her from telling us what was going on between them.
Rana withdrew into herself but still kept up a brave face for the family, not wanting to appear to have failed and not wanting to cause me any worries so soon after my husband, her father, had died.
That Christmas, our first after losing my husband to cancer, I asked Rana where Griffiths would be spending the holiday and told her he would be welcome to spend it with us if he liked to. I expected him to want to be with his father and family so recently after the death of his mother and was therefore surprised when he accepted.
Christmas morning arrived and Griffiths began showering Rana with expensive gifts. One after another the gifts continued to be given, to the point when we all began to feel uncomfortable. It was still very early in their relationship. They had been together less than 2 months and whilst I found it all very intense and the volume of gifts overboard, I suppose I was pleased he wanted to spoil her. I was unaware of any issues or quarrels within their relationship. Later, I noticed that she was calling to see me far more regularly. Rana said she wanted to spend more time with her sister Gemma and me, and whilst we never lived in each others pockets, we were a very close family. I put it down to her desire to check up on me so soon after losing my husband. Later I learned she had confided in her best friend that she was unhappy and she slowly began to tell her friend what was going on.
Finally she made up her mind to ask him to leave. She broached this a few times, but then backed down. In March 2003 she finally plucked up the courage to insist that he go. This made him incredibly angry and she ended up having to call the police. Not only did he refuse to go, he actually threw her out of her own home and locked himself in the house. The police arrived and made him vacate the property and recommended that Rana should not stay on her own. She phoned a friend and asked her to go around as she was frightened he would return. Her friend went immediately and found Rana locked in the house, too nervous to open the door even though she knew who was on the other side. Rana went back to her friend’s home who insisted that Rana told me what was happening. It was all such a shock.
I wasn’t keen on Griffiths but had no idea the relationship had got so bad. A few days later Rana relented and took him back. I believe that she was trying hard not to fail and to make something work. However, she quickly saw that it was his personality that was flawed, not hers, and decided that there was no way forward and that she must end the relationship for good.
In April 2003 she asked him to leave and to arrange for his belongings to be collected without delay. This time he did leave, but he immediately began to follow Rana, hanging around her house very early in the morning and again late at night. As a family we decided that his belongings should be stored in the garage at my home, to ensure that he had no reason to return to Rana’s house.
As we began this removal we were shocked to see just how much there was. The loft was full to bursting. Rana could only assume that whilst she was at work he had been bringing his property in bit by bit. It took a horsebox and over 10 trips in 3 cars to remove everything he had hidden in a small two bedroom cottage!
He began visiting me at my home, asking advice on rekindling their relationship, often staying for several hours and showing no willingness to leave. I was too polite to throw him out. On one occasion he came with a PowerPoint presentation to show how he could win Rana back which I had to sit through.
I was frightened of him. I found his behaviour strange and Rana was increasing concerned because he was bothering me too. She contacted the police and asked for their assistance and advice. She was told to keep a journal of every incident and not to respond to any of his numerous attempts to make contact. There were many incidents at horse shows, competitions and other places Rana went to where he would suddenly appear.
She contacted the Citizen’s Advice Bureau about his belongings and they advised her to write him a letter giving him a set date to remove his property or they would be disposed of. This she did, asking him to come to my home to hand deliver him the letter to ensure he read it. When presented with the letter he became extremely angry and left without any of his things. The deadline elapsed and Rana gave him another 2 weeks to remove his things. She eventually called in some house clearers to finally break the cycle and end any reason for him contacting us. Even then, Rana retained personal items such as his photographs and passport and mailed them to his PO Box number (the only address she had for him) as it seemed heartless to get rid of them. After all, these were his memories and she did not want them lost.
The very afternoon his belongings were taken away, Griffiths arrived at my house saying he had come to make an appointment to remove his things. It was too much of a coincidence and it was very apparent he had been watching my home. For a short while we heard nothing from him and Rana felt that he had now given up.
In mid July she went away for the weekend to compete in a carriage driving competition. She took her horsebox, leaving her car in the yard where she stabled her horse. She returned on Sunday evening, got into her car and realised that there was a problem with the brakes. A mechanic friend at the yard had a quick look and said he thought the brake cables had been cut. The next day this was confirmed by her garage. She immediately contacted the police and they said they would send someone round to her house.
The police failed to call so eventually Rana took the cut brake pipes in person to Slough Police Station, 4 days after she had told them what had happened.
She insisted on seeing someone in authority and was attended to by a police inspector. She was told they took the matter seriously, took her statement and promised to follow up and seek out Mr Griffiths. On the instructions of the inspector, her statement was subsequently put into the docket of the policeman who had been dealing with Rana, quite unaware that the officer was on holiday for two weeks. Following an IPCC investigation, no action of any significance was taken.
Two weeks later, on the evening of 2nd August 2003, Rana went to bring her horse in from the field. At approximately 2040hrs, Rana dialled 999 and told the duty officer that Griffiths was coming across the field towards her. She was shouting at him as she spoke to the operator, who then heard the sounds of my daughter being murdered. Griffiths stabbed her 16 times.
A complaint of negligence was made against the police in dealing with Rana’s case and the report on her treatment was quite damning. At no time was her situation properly assessed. She was considered low risk at all times. Finally, the police admitted they had let her down badly.
I cannot emphasise too much the speed and alien nature of the events that swept over us. I genuinely feel that she received no useful advice or assistance from those whose duty it was to protect her.
After all this time I would like to believe there has been some improvement in the way the police and other agencies deal with incidences of Domestic Violence, Stalking and Harassment, including a change in culture and of perception, and the provision of both the tools and the training for those who must deal with this sort of crime on a daily basis.
Stalking victims need to feel that they are not on their own and that they will receive help and understanding in dealing with their predicaments. I believe this can only be achieved by agencies working together and reaching a better understanding of the nature, implications and risks of this dreadful crime.
We are beginning to see an information and experience sharing process develop. There is no room for complacency. We must develop and improve risk assessment tools such as DASH and ensure the police are properly trained to use it.
Nothing is good unless it is used properly. I see many police officers who are passionate about trying to change the way this sort of crime is dealt with and they should have the support they deserve.
Rana was not only my daughter but my friend. She was part of me and a little bit of me died that day. Her murder was a pointless waste of a young life and has damaged so many others. I cannot allow her life to be for nothing and that is why ,with Tricia Bernal and Stella Moore, two other mothers whose daughters died at the hands of their stalkers, have set up the Protection Against Stalking campaigning charity, to increase awareness, communicate, educate and promote risk assessment and early intervention, to prevent tragedies like ours ever happening again.