PM invite for bail law battle parents

Prime Minster David Cameron speaks at a reception with campaigners in 10 Downing Street, London
Prime Minster David Cameron speaks at a reception with campaigners in 10 Downing Street, London
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IT is not exactly an email you expect to land in your inbox every day.

So when John and Penny Clough received an invitation to meet the Prime Minister to mark International Women’s Day, they were naturally taken by surprise.

The couple, whose daughter Jane was murdered by her ex-partner after a judge agreed to bail him while facing rape charges, have successfully campaigned for changes to bail law through their Justice for Jane campaign.

Miss Clough, a nurse at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, was stabbed to death by Jonathan Vass as she made her way to work.

Her parents say they were “honoured” to be invited to the event at Downing Street, which was attended by campaigners and charities from all over the world.

Mr Clough, who said it was the first time they have met David Cameron, said: “It was quite surreal.

“Mr Cameron made a speech about how the Government is supporting the new stalking law and then he spoke to a few people.

“I managed to get a few minutes with him. I said thank you for the support with the bail amendment.

“He said it wouldn’t stop judges making mistakes but it should reduce them.

“Then he got whisked off to talk to someone else.

“It’s the first time we have met him. The invitation was a shock indeed, it was completely unexpected.

“It was a good day, it was an honour to be there.

“Although it was a little disappointing we didn’t get to speak to him for longer.”

Mr Cameron told victims at the Downing Street reception that the Government was determined to ensure “justice is done” for victims.

He said the Government was explicitly criminalising stalking, which he said “makes life a living hell for victims”, to “show beyond doubt stalking is a crime”.

Police will be given new powers of entry to investigate stalking offences.

Mr and Mrs Clough, who gave evidence during the stalking inquiry, welcomed the news and said International Women’s Day was important to highlight victims’ struggles.

Mr Clough said: “There is a lot of value in having this international day. It highlights all the issues of crimes such as violence and rapes. It’s something which is being recognised across the world.”

The bail amendment bill which will give the crown prosecution service chance to appeal judges’ decisions has received cross-party backing.

The bill now needs Royal Assent before it is officially made law.