Parents of murdered Barrowford nurse back domestic violence campaign

John Clough, father of Jane Clough, at  the launch of the White Ribbon Campaign to reduce domestic violence. Photo Ian Robinson
John Clough, father of Jane Clough, at the launch of the White Ribbon Campaign to reduce domestic violence. Photo Ian Robinson

The timbre of John Clough’s voice shivers with a nervous and yet defiant tone.

He’s here to make a difference, to try to save lives, to prevent the same kind of tragedy which has so deeply affected his family from happening to another.

Jane Clough

Jane Clough

He is a man to be admired.

Most of us will never experience the tragedy of outliving our own child, and even fewer will ever have to go through such a soul-destroying ordeal knowing the monster whose evil ripped them from us may once again be free to walk the streets.

John and his wife Penny have had to do both.

In 2010 their daughter Jane from Barrowford, who had suffered physical abuse at the from her partner Jonathan Vass, died at his hands. The horrific ordeal has left deep and permanent scars.

This week, they are giving their backing to a new campaign which aims to eradicate the scourge of domestic violence from Lancashire.

“We think about what happened to Jane every day – it’s a life changing experience but what we are pleased with is that Jane, through us, can still carry on to make a difference,” says John, as he looks the white ribbon, the symbol of this new initiative, pinned smartly to his lapel.

“Jane stood up to protect herself and her child, and the worst possible scenario came about.

“This is about highlighting to people that have the power to make decision that affect victims’ lives the importance about making a reasonable decision on bail.”

His desire to reach the powers-that-be is understandable – had a judge not granted Vass bail after he was charged with nine counts of rape and four of assault against nurse Jane, she might still be alive today.

Instead, he was allowed to walk from court.

And, heartbreakingly, he then stabbed her to death outside Blackpool Victoria Hospital – the place where she cared for countless patients in the A and E department.

But this campaign is about more than getting judges to think, it’s also about reaching the hearts and minds of not only victims, but also their abusers.

A dismaying survey held by a national newspaper recently revealed three in 10 young men questioned believe domestic violence is acceptable while, even more shockingly, one in 10 young girls also agreed with that sentiment.

The campaign is set to reach out to schools and male-dominated workplaces to encourage men everywhere to challenge the cowards who prey violence on the women they purport to adore.

John adds: “The men who are violent to women need to realise how much impact they have and not only the physical side. It’s mental and sexual abuse they put on somebody that they are declaring they love. The victims need to know they’re worth so much more than that.”

And that, surely, is something we can all agree with.

For more information on the campaign and its aims, visit www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk.