Six months before Brenda Moreside was discovered stabbed to death in her northern Alberta home, RCMP failed to bring assault charges against the man who would eventually kill her.

In August 2004, Moreside  called police from a neighbour's claiming Stanley Willier had attacked her and tore the phone off her wall. 

Const. Shaun Walker told a fatality inquiry in an Edmonton courtroom Tuesday that police couldn't locate Willier at the time, even though Moreside called them several times to indicate when he was going to her house.

After two weeks Willier was found at a High Prairie, Alta., hotel during another investigation.

Walker testified he was about to arrest Willier when Moreside ran out of the hotel and said not to, that she wouldn't testify if it went to court, that she would lie and say her bruises were caused by a fall down the stairs.

Walker put Willier in the police car so he could speak to Moreside privately.

But he never asked her if she was scared of Willier or if he had threatened her. And in the end he decided not to lay charges against Willier.

"I did not believe there was any way to get a conviction,"he said.

But it was a decision he later learned went against RCMP policy and one he now regrets.

"I had reasonable and probable grounds to charge and I didn't," Walker told the court. "That day stands out like no other day in High Prairie, other than finding Moreside deceased."

Six months later Moreside called 911 to report that Willier had broken into her house. Police were never sent to the home and Walker found Moreside stabbed to death 12 days later.

"The window was broken," he said. "I kicked the door open and I found her dead."

Willier was convicted of manslaughter.

With files from CBC's James Hees