Ex-partner of 'dangerous' Fleetwood man was kept in dark about his violent past for SIX MONTHS after police bungled Clare's Law application
The former partner of a violent Fleetwood man who was jailed for attacking his daughter in a drug-fuelled rage
The woman, who did not want to be named, requested information under the domestic violence disclosure scheme - also known as Clare's Law - in September 2018 when she started a relationship with Joseph Langley.
She said she was led to believe by police that Langley, 40, of Walmsley Street, was safe and so she continued her relationship with him.
But within a few months, Langley began to show his true colours, insulting her and accusing her of cheating on him.
His ex-partner said: "He sent me lots of flowers and gifts, wanted to move in fast, talked about having babies and getting married, and when he got me where he wanted me, that's where the manipulation came in and the control.
"He made me second guess my own opinions and thougts. I have never in my entire life been through anything like I have with him. I wouldn't wish it on anyone."
In March 2019 the woman's worst fears were confirmed, as she was visited by police who informed her there had been a mistake - and that Langley in fact had a history of domestic abuse.
In response to an official complaint lodged by the woman, DI Allen Davis, of Lancashire police's public protection unit, said: "I can confirm that the delay between application and disclosure was attributable to a system error and was in no way attributable to your action. As a constabulary we aim to deal with any DVDS applications as expeditiously as possible and apologise for the delay you have experienced."
On July 23 2020, Langley - who is also known as Rick - appeared at Blackpool Magistrate's Court, where he was found not guilty of assaulting his ex-partner following a trial.
Following the hearing he went out drinking in a local pub to celebrate, before returning home and beating up his 17-year-old daughter in a drug and alcohol-fuelled rage.
READ: Fleetwood dad punched and strangled 17-year-old daughter in drug-fuelled rageHis ex said: "I just want to make people aware of this man. I don't want any other woman or child to be hurt by him.
"This man has got a history of violence and any future woman needs to be aware of it, and I urge them to apply for Clare's Law.
"I made the application for Clare's Law prior to any domestic violence with this man to ensure the safety of myself and my children, and when it came back clean I was quite happy. Then he began to devalue me and gaslight me, and I started to think I couldn't believe that he had no history.
"He had drug and alcohol problems and I was trying to help him. We kept splitting up and getting back together, and eventually I asked him what he had done to other women. He openly admitted he had tried to strangle his ex partners.
"The last straw was when he tried to strangle me. I couldn't take it any more. I had to get protection.
"He's a very, very dangerous man and I wouldn't wish on anyone what myself or his daughter have gone through because of him. But you don't see that at the beginning.
"The police got things wrong with me and put me at risk, but I would still urge any woman to apply for Clare's Law."
A Lancashire police spokesman said: "This complaint was dealt with in 2019 and the woman involved was offered a full explanation and apology at the time. While not consistent with the standards expected the delay in this instance appears to have been an isolated occurrence. The processes for disclosure were already being reviewed and others who make applications should receive disclosure in a more timely manner."
WHAT IS CLARE'S LAW?
Clare's Law gives any member of the public the right to know if their partner may pose a risk to them. The scheme, introduced in 2014, allows police to disclose to individuals details of their partners’ abusive pasts.
The Law is named after Clare Wood, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton in Salford, England in February 2009. Appleton had a history of domestic abuse, and had previously served three prison sentences, including one for holding a woman at knife-point for 12 hours. Following her death, Wood's family said that she would not have entered into a relationship with Appleton had she known of his violent past.
Under the law, all 'right to know' requests are submitted to a review panel to determine whether the relevant information should be disclosed.