Police were warned three weeks ago that the partner of EastEnders actress Sian Blake had been abusing her and her children - but they did nothing to stop him fleeing the country.

Officers were told on December 16 that Arthur Simpson-Kent had been abusing Miss Blake, 43, and their two sons after a family member called an NSPCC helpline.

And when they interviewed him at home that day, Simpson-Kent, 48, admitted the trio had 'gone missing'.

But incredibly, police did not arrest him or return to search the house for another two days - by which time Simpson-Kent had fled to Africa. It took police another 12 days to issue a public appeal for information about the family's disappearance.


Scotland Yard is accused of making a string of blunders in its handling of the murders of Miss Blake and her sons - Zachary, eight, and Amon, four. It took them three weeks to find their bodies, despite the fact they were buried in the back garden of the family home.

Last night, post-mortem examinations revealed that Miss Blake and her sons died as a result of head and neck injuries. Simpson-Kent is the prime suspect.

Yesterday, a picture proved for the first time that he had fled to Ghana - the country of his birth - just days after the domestic violence tip-off. The Met had publicly refused to admit Simpson-Kent had travelled to the country, but the photograph clearly showed him at Accra airport on December 19.

Meanwhile, in more farcical scenes, police were dispatched to the home of Simpson-Kent's ex-wife in southern France to look for him.

Dominique Deblieux, 47, who was married to the fugitive for nine years, said of the search: "This is a ridiculous waste of police resources. He's in Ghana, not hiding in my back garden."

Yesterday, Miss Blake's sister Ava demanded that Simpson-Kent be "brought back to justice" and insisted he would have to "answer to God".

She also revealed that the pair's relationship had been over but that Miss Blake hadn't been quite able to make the break from Simpson-Kent.

Police discovered the partially decomposed bodies of Miss Blake and her sons buried in the garden of their home in Erith, South-east London - 18 days after first searching the property. The delay allowed Simpson-Kent, the father of the two boys, to travel to Ghana on flights via Glasgow and Amsterdam on December 19.

Detectives in Ghana said the 48-year-old visited relatives in the capital Accra - but left within hours. They suspect he is still in the country.

Last night it emerged that a member of Miss Blake's family called the NSPCC helpline to report the alleged domestic abuse. The charity passed on its concerns to the police on December 16. Officers went round to the house to interview the family, but Simpson-Kent said Miss Blake and their sons had gone missing. Despite this, officers did not issue an appeal for their whereabouts for two weeks.

It took the Met a further four days to issue an appeal for Simpson-Kent, who had been in Ghana for 16 days by then.

Miss Blake's sister Ava, 51, said she had last seen her on December 13 during a family reunion in Leyton, East London. She said her sister would call their mother every day and they became alarmed when they did not hear from her after the visit.

Just before Christmas she started to receive texts from her sister's phone, but suspected someone else was sending them.

She said: "The first part of the [first] text, I believe my sister may have written that," she said. "But the rest of the wording and other texts my family received, they were not my sister.

"The ones that came through were very poor grammatically, bad spelling - not my sister."

- Daily Mail