Police Ignore Desperate Mother’s Pleas for Help

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Police Station entry

A grieving mother has laid a formal complaint against South Australian Police for not responding with urgency or empathy on the morning her 4-year old son Luca was killed by his father.

The moment Julia Trinne realised her husband and son were missing, she had a horrible, sinking feeling.

She remembers ‘hazily considering’ calling triple zero from her home, but instead decided to run ‘down the road’ to seek help at her local police station, thinking it would be more effective to talk to officers in person.

It’s a decision that will haunt her for the rest of her life.

Who you gonna call when you need help?

Julia says that when she arrived at Norwood Police Station, she “…could see people in the station but they would not open the doors because it was not opening time”. She says police ignored her frantic screams, knocks at the door and rings of the doorbell for almost half an hour until it reached the 8am opening time. While begging for help, Julia desperately tried to contact as many friends and family as possible on her mobile phone, trying to locate her husband and son.

It was later discovered that her husband, David Janzow, had stabbed her boy to death with a Leatherman knife.

In addition to the formal complaint, Julia is calling for a coronial inquest into the circumstances surrounding her son’s death.

Response ‘not adequate’

Julia says her pleas were not taken seriously or dealt with urgently by police officers who seemed more concerned that she did not know her husband’s car registration, than alerting patrolling officers to be on the lookout for a Volkswagen ute in the area.

“I understand protocols but when it is obvious something major is wrong you would think surely they would be able to realise this and act,” Julia said.

“I had tears streaming down my face, and at one point even crouched down in the corner of the station and was very distressed with, what I believe, was a lack of empathy and lack of professional and appropriate action.”

“The reaction and response that I was given was not adequate.”

David was arrested at about 8.40am after he approached a patrol car and spoke to officers who were attending an unrelated car accident. He allegedly admitted to police that he had killed his son.

Julia claims vital minutes were wasted as she was helplessly banging on the police station doors – minutes that she believes could have been spent trying to locate her husband and attempting to save Luca’s life.

Officers need better training

Julia hopes her complaint will lead to better responses to potentially life-threatening situations, and help ensure that victims of crime are treated with greater empathy.

A complaint was lodged on the day of Luca’s death, again in the following days and yet again 6 months later. Julia says it took police another year to formally acknowledge receiving her complaint.

She is frustrated by the nonchalance of police, and frustrated by the fact that photos of her son were only returned to her recently, months after the end of all court matters.

Julia’s husband, David Janzow, was found not guilty of murder by reason of mental incompetence. Expert reports tendered in court said he believed his four-year-old son was a psychopath like him, and that he wanted to “save Luca from what was to come”.

Report said Mr Janzow pulled up at a secluded location with a nice view, then stabbed his son. He then tried to stab himself in the neck, before driving to a police patrol and alerting officers to what he had done.

“I knew this was bad, but everyone would be better off. I knew murder was bad but I just had to get rid of us because there was no good bone in a psychopath,” David Janzow told a psychiatrist.

“I discovered that I was a psychopath and that [Luca] had the same qualities in him. At two, Luca had a night terror and screamed for five hours — I had night terrors and screaming fits as a child. No-one in society wants a psychopath and it is characteristic to take their own or others’ lives and I had those thoughts in the last week.”

The Supreme Court ordered that he be held in a mental health institution indefinitely.

Julia’s complaint will be handled both internally and by the Police Ombudsman.

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Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim is an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist with 25 years of experience as a Criminal Defence Lawyer. He is the Principal of Sydney Criminal Lawyers®.

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