An Asian Christian woman living in London blogging about the everyday issues of religion

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The personal face of Twitter

I was on Twitter at the weekend and went through the motions of retweeting those tweets that carried any iota of interest to me. A tweet with the headline of 'Justice for Jane' caught my attention because Jane is my first name. I retweeted it without further thought. Seconds later a reply tweet came back thanking me and requesting that I read the story behind the headlines. I did. 

It was then that the personal face of tweets and the human world of Twitter hit me. I had been involved with a campaign over the death of a young woman without realising it. Jane Clough was murdered on 25 July 2010 by her ex partner. Jane was a nurse at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. She had parked her car in the car park and was about to start a shift at the hospital. Jonathan Vass, a man who had repeatedly raped (9 times)and assaulted her (4 times), stabbed her and slit her throat. Vass showed no mercy nor did he have any consideration of the fact that the baby they had had together would be left motherless. Vass was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder.

However, Jane's family and friends do not think that justice has fully been served and have launched a campaign to right the wrongs done to her twice by the justice system.

Firstly, when the decision was taken by the Crown Prosecution Service to bring charges against Vass (Jane was still alive then) for the rapes and assaults, advice was given to the judge by both the prosecution lawyers and the police that there was a real likelihood that Vass would cause harm to Jane to try and stop her from testifying against him. The judge disregarded their concerns and granted Vass bail. The police and Crown Prosecution Service were right. He killed Jane some months later. 

Secondly, when the murder trial came to court a second judge decided not to pursue the rape and assault charges because 'it wasn't in the public interest' to do so. The judge referred to the rape charges as being 'insignificant'. Thus, Vass was tried for murder but not the crimes that he had committed previously though it was these crimes that had led to her murder. Jane was using the law to protect herself by reporting the crimes but, somehow, it had cost her her life.

The blogger Guido Fawkes is calling for the introduction of the death penalty (specifically for those who kill children and policemen/women) but, without wanting to debate capital punishment here, it does make one wonder how effectively our justice system is being utilised in the first place to protect victims and deter criminals.  

Justice for Jane Please sign the petition on the site.


  1. I've signed the petition, though there are no circumstances under which I could support the death penalty. I haven't forgotten the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four, and all the other dodgy convictions. You can't release a corpse on appeal!

    I don't think bail is ever justified for someone accused of a string of violent crimes, and I think domestic violence is often not taken seriously enough. The guy wouldn't have got bail for stranger rapes, so why was it different for an ex-partner? I actually think this would be better dealt with by directions to judges, rather than on an individual basis, as there are too many cases of women being terrorised.

  2. Dear Ray,
    Thank you so much for signing the petition. I have had a heartfelt message this morning via Twitter from Jane's best friend who is pleased with the support. Jane's Dad has been sent a link to this blog post.
    To others who are reading this, please sign the petition.
    God bless