Murdered nurse’s mum sobs after Keir Starmer promises tougher prison sentences

The mum of a nurse who was knifed 71 times in a horrific attack by her ex-partner was moved to tears as Sir Keir Starmer pledged to increase jail sentences for rapists, stalkers and domestic abusers.

Jane Clough was murdered in July 2010 in the staff car park of the hospital where she worked as she arrived for her shift.

Miss Clough’s killer, Jonathan Vass, had been on bail on charges of raping her. The Blackpool nurse had kept a journal that detailed his abuse and her fears that he would take revenge, reports Lancs Live.

Sir Keir, in his first speech to Labour’s conference as leader on September 29 said that under a Labour Government cases similar to Miss Clough’s would be fast-tracked, and that he would toughen up sentences for offenders.

Speaking about meeting Jane’s parents, Penny and John, when he was director of public prosecutions, Sir Keir said: “It was an incredibly emotional day for all of us as I listened to John and Penny tell me Jane’s story, I knew that a great injustice had been done.

“I made a promise to John and Penny at the end of that first meeting, that I would work with them to make sure that no other family went through what they had been forced to endure, and we rolled up our sleeves and we changed the law.”

In October 2010, ambulance technician and club bouncer Vass was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 30 years.

Penny and John Clough

At the time, Sir Keir said he would welcome a change in the law to allow prosecutors to appeal against a judge’s bail decision.

Sir Keir said: “John and Penny taught me how to keep your dignity under severe pressure.”

And he added: “I honestly don’t know how I would cope if anything happened to one of our children. But I do know I am humbled by John, by Penny and by Doreen [mother of murder victim Stephen Lawrence]. And that’s why, under my leadership, the fight against crime will always be a Labour issue. Labour will strengthen legal protections for victims of crime, we won’t walk around the problem. We’ll fix it.”

He said: “We will fast-track rape and serious sexual assault cases and we will toughen sentences for rapists, stalkers and domestic abusers.”

Vass had been due to stand trial and murdered Jane to stop her giving evidence against him. After he killed her the rape charges were left on file – meaning no action was taken in respect of them – and Jane’s parents began a campaign to change the law, and spoke of their anger over how Vass he had been allowed out on bail as they knew if he had been remanded in custody their daughter would likely still be alive.

During the battle to change the law her story was brought up in the House of Commons.

Pendle’s Conservative MP Mr Stephenson said: “Jane had displayed great bravery in going to the authorities to report the abuse that Jonathan Vass was subjecting her to while she was pregnant with their child.

“Like many victims of domestic violence she put her faith in our legal system but our legal system failed to protect her.

“Before granting Jonathan Vass bail Judge Simon Newell was advised by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service that he should not grant bail due to the severity of the crimes with which Jonathan Vass had been charged. However Judge Newell failed to provide Jane with the necessary protection from a man who posed a real danger to her.”

‘Jane’s Law’, which was finally brought about in 2012, allows prosecutors to appeal against a crown court judge’s bail ruling at the High Court.

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