Parents of murdered nurse Jane Clough stepping back from campaigning

The parents of a nurse murdered outside Blackpool Victoria Hospital are stepping back from campaigning, nine years after the incident which changed their lives forever

Thursday, 27th June 2019, 12:00 pm
John and Penny Clough with Jane

John and Penny Clough, who set up Justice For Jane following the death of their daughter in 2010, have announced they are closing down the campaign's social media presence as they prepare to move home and have thanked their supporters for all their backing over the years.

The couple, who hail from the Pendle area of east Lancashire, have worked tirelessly since daughter Jane was murdered by her abusive ex-partner Jonathan Vass while he was on bail accused of her rape.

They have campaigned for changes in the bail act to protect victims from abusers awaiting trial and have helped found the safe haven Jane’s Place, featuring 15 apartments, in Burnley.

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John and Penny Clough

They are also patrons of five SafeNet refuges in the North West and have campaigned for a Stalkers’ Register to keep track of those convicted of stalking, similar to the Sex Offender’s Register.

More than 160,000 people have signed a petition to urge the Government to manage and monitor stalkers in the same way sex offenders are tracked.

John and Penny have been awarded the MBE for their services to victims of domestic abuse, with John saying after receiving the award from Prince William at Buckingham Palace earlier this year: “It has been wonderful, but I would rather have Jane back in our lives.

"Nothing that we have achieved has been worth what it cost.”

Jane Clough

Now, in a message issued on social media, John has said: "My friends, supporters and fellow campaigners, I want to thank you all for your help and support over the years that Justice for Jane has been running,"Penny and I are moving house soon, and we have both decided that this an opportunity for a new start for us and our family away from campaigning and the public eye that has been a huge part of our lives since we lost Jane. "We are pleased and proud of the differences we have made in that time, but it's only because of the incredible support we have had from you all. "I will be closing the Justice for Jane pages and Twitter site in the next few days, and will not be doing any further public speaking events, except existing commitments.It's time for our family to be our priority now."Thank you everyone for whatever part you have played in making Justice 4 Jane successful."

Jane Clough was a nurse in the accident and emergency department at Blackpool Victoria who in December 2009, after suffering torment, domestic violence and abuse at the hands or her ex boyfriend Jonathan Vass, took a brave step by reporting the incidents to the police..Vass appeared in court charged with nine counts of rape, one of sexual assault and three counts of common assault, some of which had taken place when Jane was heavily pregnant, others while the new baby lay next to her sobbing mother in the cot close to the bed.

Vass was freed on bail but Jane was in so much fear she moved back in with her parents for protection.

Eventually she returned to work following maternity leave but in July 2010, Vass waited for her outside her workplace and then viciously attacked her, stabbing her more than 70 times.

John and Penny Clough outside the Jane's Place refuge in Burnley

Vass was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in jail in October 2010.

At his trial, the court heard how he lay in wait for her and murdered her to prevent her giving evidence against him.

After brutally stabbing his victim, Vass was seen to walk away before stopping and returning to slit her throat.

Since losing their youngest daughter, John and Penny found strength to fight to get justice for Jane, helping other victims in the hope of preventing history repeating itself.

John was delighted to be awarded the MBE earlier this year, six years after his wife gained the same honour.

"It's great to have the recognition - it reinforces to us that the work we are doing is of value, it means a lot," he said at the time.

"The work we do in Jane's name is just an ongoing legacy of the person she was.

"Jane's Place was full within three weeks of it opening and there are referrals to it nationally.

"The people they have to turn away is heartbreaking because there aren't just enough facilities in the country that deal with the needs of people who need a refuge place."

"What we have tried to do is make a difference to other victims, the other Janes out there.

"But it's not just women who are affected. Men and children are affected in the same way.

"They all need support, they need the resources, they need the places to go for their own safety.

"It's very infuriating to see the lack of advancement in getting refuge funding to the level it needs to be. Refuges save lives.

"In the main they tend to rely on charitable donations ... it always seems to be that victims' services are the easiest thing to run down.

"The Government do not, in spite of what they might say, give enough funding to victim services."

The Justice For Jane Facebook page was inundated with messages of thanks nd support after the Cloughs' announcement.

Janie Clarke Burns said: "Hope you all have some well deserved time to heal and thank you from every woman for all you have done to raise awareness and protect us. You are both true inspirations", while Janine Harrison said: "Jane would have been so proud of you and the campaign you set up in her name. Wishing you all the best for all your family