Family Devastated When Daughter’s Killer Sought Access to Child in Family Court

Jane Clough: Murderer wanted access to daughter

Jane Clough and her daughter. Source:

Jane Clough and her daughter. Source:

“She bore your child and then you murdered her, leaving your infant child without a mother and with the prospect of growing up to learn one day that her father murdered her mother.” – Judge Anthony Russell QC at sentencing

September 16, 2016, Lancashire, UK: MP Peter Kyle (Labour) says it is “inhumane” that Jonathan Vass, who brutally murdered his ex-girlfriend Jane Clough, was able to use the family court system to seek access to their baby. Vass was incarcerated when he started demanding parental rights, and initiated family court proceedings.

There needs to be a serious change to the law the someone like Vass would even be allowed to file for any custodial rights or visitation, his parental rights should have been immediately terminated. Vass has a long history of domestic violence against Jane, including beating and raping her, and assaulting her when pregnant. Jane had filed criminal charges, and was seeking to escape, when she was brutally murdered. Police believe that Vass was also planning to murder his baby daughter, and the Jane’s parents. Vass was convicted of murder and given a life sentence, he will not be eligible for release until 2040. 

The surviving family was traumatized and financially devastated when they were forced into family court proceedings to protect their grandchild. MP Peter Kyle explains, “The man who brutally murdered their sister, their daughter, would be cross-examining them. Jane’s sister told me that she simply cannot find the words to do justice to the brutalising effect this had as the court date approached.”

The trauma meted out by the family court process is simply inhuman. This family had suffered enough.”

Jane’s daughter was 9 months old when her father brutally ripped her mother from her life. She is now growing up in a loving environment, being raised by her maternal aunt and uncle, and is said to be doing well. At the time of the murder, she was too young to understand what happened and will grow up without having any memory of her mother. 

Jane’s parents, Penny and John Clough, have campaigned to raise awareness about domestic violence, and change laws and policies to better protect victims. As a result of their efforts, Blackpool NHS Teaching Hospitals Trust adopted a domestic violence policy for its staff that would provide assistance to staff members who are facing domestic violence situations (Jane was a nurse at Blackpool Victoria Hospital). Penny and John Clough have also sought changes to the law to impose tougher penalties, and denial of bail for certain types of domestic violence offenses.

Read More: 

Justice for Jane Clough Twitter:

The mother who predicted her own murder: Nurse Jane Clough warned police her brutal ex-partner was going to kill her – yet he was freed on bail

Man who murdered ex-girlfriend in hospital knife attack jailed for life

Family’s bid to start rebuilding lives five years after tragedy



About Emily Court

It takes "Just Us" To Fight Injustice in Family Court. I blog to raise awareness about problems existing in the family court system, and use my own story as a personal example of how the systemic failures in family court, and the Guardian ad Litem Program, affect families, in an effort to encourage needed reform. Written by a survivor of domestic violence and homelessness working to create a better life for her children, in a stable home free of violence. In her efforts to rebuild her life, she has not only encountered harassment and intimidation from her alleged abuser but faced systematic failures in family court that have empowered her alleged abuser and put her children at risk. She has spent over a decade trapped in family court until her children finally aged out of the system. Through writing and blogging, FCI is working to raise awareness about domestic violence, and the urgent need for family court reform. She is currently working on a memoir titled "'Til Prayers Are Answered".
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