Giant leap forward in Jane bail law bid

Justice for Jane campaign outside Parliament 'John and Penny Clough with Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson

Justice for Jane campaign outside Parliament 'John and Penny Clough with Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson

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A CAMPAIGN to make changes to bail law to get justice for murdered Blackpool nurse Jane Clough has taken a huge leap forward.

The bail amendment bill – which aims to give the crown prosecution service chance to appeal judges’ bail decisions – has been passed through to the House of Lords.

Miss Clough was brutally murdered by ex-partner Jonathan Vass while he was out on bail facing charges of raping her.

Her parents John and Penny are fighting for changes to the law through The Gazette-backed Justice for Jane campaign and hope the amendment will be accepted into the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.

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Mr Clough, who was in London with Mrs Clough to hear the bill being debated in the House of Commons on Wednesday, said: “We get a knot in our stomachs thinking about how close we are now. We are very pleased – it’s all down to a lot of support.

“We still think about the statistics. It is thought up to 60 people a year have been murdered by someone while they are out on bail. How many lives will be lost between now and Easter while they are discussing it?

“It will now be debated in the House of Lords. There is a public gallery so we will be there when it is heard.

“If it’s accepted in the House of Lords, it would be highly unlikely that it would be rejected when it goes back to the House of Commons.”

Mrs Clough said: “We are quite in awe of the political skills which have been used to progress this amendment through. As a layperson, it is an eye-opener. We owe thanks to so many people for their support.”

The bail amendment was mentioned during the third reading of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders bill in the House of Commons, which was voted through to the House of Lords by 306 votes to 228.

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke said: “We accept on principal there is a very good case for saying there should be appeals for the allowing of bail in crown court.

“We are working on the details of it. We propose to table amendments in the House of Lords to meet this point.”