Barrister’s backing for Jane campaign

Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC
Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC
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THE director of public prosecutions has agreed to back the Justice for Jane campaign.

Keir Starmer, the country’s top barrister for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), an expert in the field of human rights, met with John and Penny Clough – the parents of murdered Blackpool nurse Jane – to show his support for their bail amendment bill.

Miss Clough, a 26-year-old mum-of-one, was stabbed to death by former partner Jonathan Vass after he was released on bail despite facing nine charges of raping her and four charges of assault.

The Justice for Jane campaign, backed by The Gazette, is calling for changes to the law to allow the CPS the chance to appeal bail decisions.

Mr Clough said: “We met Keir Starmer in London, he was very open and approachable.

“It’s fantastic he supports what we are doing.

“He was fully aware of what had happened to Jane and he knew about the bail amendment bill. He said he was in full support of it and he will contact the Ministry of Justice to make them aware he supports the amendment. It was beyond than what we expected.”

Vass, an ambulance technician, was jailed for life in October last year after admitting murdering Miss Clough in the car park of Blackpool Victoria Hospital as she arrived for a shift.

But Vass was never tried for the rape charges which Miss Clough had bravely reported – instead, they were laid on file.

Miss Clough’s parents are also campaigning for sex charges not to be put away after a murder without the authorisation of the victim or next of kin as it lets the offender off without the stigma of being a sex offender.

Mrs Clough said: “On the subject of laying rapes on file, he is going to set up a consultation committee to look at instances where it is not appropriate to lay charges on file. Victims and families will be more involved in the judicial process. We’re stunned he has done so much.”

Mr Clough added: “It’s important to us that it’s not seen that they are letting people off with rape.”

An on-line petition to support the Justice for Jane campaign currently has more than 12,200 signatures.