A BATLEY man whose daughter was murdered in Salford by a man dubbed the “Facebook Fugitive” backed a new campaign for a “Sarah’s Law” for domestic violence victims.
Clare Wood, 36, was strangled and set on fire by her ex-boyfriend, George Appleton, in February 2009.
Mother-of-one Ms Wood, an ex-pupil of St John Fisher Catholic High School, Dewsbury, met Appleton on Facebook, unaware of his history of violence against women, including repeated harassment, threats and the kidnapping at knifepoint of one of his ex-girlfriends.
At the inquest into her death held in Bolton in May, Coroner Jennifer Leeming said women in abusive relationships should have the right to know about the violent past of the men they were with, just as Sarah’s Law gives parents the right to know of any child sex convictions of men with access to their children.
Michael Brown, Clare Wood’s father, lent his support for a “Clare’s Law” as the campaign was launched by Manchester radio station Key 103.
Mr Brown, a former prison officer from Batley, said: “There needs to be greater protection. My daughter wasn’t stupid. Had she known about George Appleton’s past she would have taken herself and my granddaughter out of there in a heartbeat.
He added: “I have the utmost respect for Coroner Jennifer Leeming for the comments and recommendations she made at Clare’s inquest and I say this to the Government ’pull your finger out’, there needs to be a law in place that gives women in domestic abuse situations, not just in Greater Manchester but across the country, the right to know if their partner has a history of violence towards women.”
Ms Leeming recorded a verdict of unlawful killing by strangulation as the cause of Ms Wood’s death and said she would report back to the Government recommending that people at risk of harm should be given information about their partners’ past so they can make an “informed choice”.
Police launched a nationwide manhunt after Ms Wood’s body was found at her home on St Simon Street, Salford, on February 6 2009 and Appleton was found six days later. He had hanged himself in a derelict pub.
Police watchdogs at the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) later ruled Ms Wood had been badly let down by police and suggested a raft of changes to force policy and procedures.