Court of Appeal urged to overturn convictions of three men who killed their wives

(49 Posts)
KRITIQ Thu 03-Nov-11 11:19:56

The cases of 3 men convicted of murdering their partners are being heard together, in light of legislation that came into effect in England and Wales in 2009. They are claiming they should have been convicted only of manslaughter, which carries a much shorter sentence. Story here.

Jackie Evans was stabbed to death by her husband Dewi in an argument over a "cup of tea." Evans told police he had loved his wife and became obsessed with her. He often accused her of having affairs with other men even though he knew "it was all in my mind". He admitted manslaughter due to a "temporary loss of control."

Steven Parker repeatedly stabbed his wife Jane Parker by "hacking at her", especially in the neck area, in a jealous rage after she told him she wanted to leave him. He admitted manslaughter due to a "temporary loss of control."

Dawn Clinton was killed by her estranged husband Jon. On the day she was murdered, she was supposed to be returning to her parent's home address, where she had been staying for the past two weeks since leaving her husband to "escape an abusive and controlling relationship" as described by her mother. However, she did not return and police were contacted. Jon Clinton admitted manslaughter due to a "temporary loss of control."

If these appeals succeed, AIBU to be worried about the precedent this could set?

AyedaBWells Thu 03-Nov-11 11:24:34

Are they saying that they have a naturally murderous urge towards women and that it is only through effort that they are able to control them?

If the appeals succeed. I might campaign for idea of tazers in baby girls' Bounty packs.

AnonWasAWoman Thu 03-Nov-11 11:29:00

YANBU.

I find this a total pisstake of the (decent, civilized) idea that we accept that mental illness can lessen people's ability to judge their own actions.

As a society we condemn killing someone and everyone knows that. Arguing 'but actually I didn't mean it, I had a temporary loss of control' just seems absurd - presumably so did every other murderer? We might as well say that by definition any murderer is not sane, and therefore cannot be convicted.

KRITIQ Thu 03-Nov-11 11:34:47

It seems incredibly bizarre. Evidently the defence of "temporary loss of control" is intended to replace that of "provocation." Had juries just found it too hard to swallow any more that any action by a woman could be seen as possibly provoking her partner/ex-partner to kill her?

I wish I still had the article - it's probably 15 years old, but I do remember there was a study for a Channel 4 programme that showed how often men who killed their partners / ex-partners were successful in claiming manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility where they had no previous history of mental illness before the crime. In nearly all cases where the killer was not a partner, diminished responsibility was only accepted as a defence where there was a documented history of mental illness prior to the killing.

Temporary loss of control? Well, at least there's no longer an attempt to show that those who kill their partners are mentally ill. Just snapped, so that's okay then.

AnonWasAWoman Thu 03-Nov-11 11:37:42

Yes, I think that is exactly what it is - replacing the idea of 'provocation'. sad

WoTmania Thu 03-Nov-11 12:42:22

That is just crazy confused.

It's like the French idea of a crime of passion.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 03-Nov-11 12:46:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Rollon2012 Thu 03-Nov-11 14:14:48

The fact that most of these relationships were controlling from the get go, rules out 'temporary loss of control' just escalating what these men had already been doing. really disgusting.

Do the french really do the 'crime of passion' thing for abusive husbands??

AnonWasAWoman Thu 03-Nov-11 14:27:55

SGM - I wonder if it's tied in to the portrayal of men as being (somewhat inconsistently) subject to 'loss of control' (cf. 'men have needs' and 'he can't control his penis'). I think there is a really scary minority perception of it being somehow very masculine to be on the edge of losing control.

It's absurd that people accept any of this though - to be clear I'm not excusing it at all (!), just wondering if it's part of a wider problem.

KRITIQ Thu 03-Nov-11 15:03:06

It does all seem very odd and I genuinely don't get the link to what was previously seen as "provocation."

In the past, Justice for Women argued that women who kill violent partners after years of domestic abuse were often convicted of murder and not manslaughter (unless they convinced the jury they were mentally ill - diminished responsibility grounds.) That's because years of relationship abuse were not seen as "provocation" in the same way as, I don't know, saying you want a divorce or not having the dinner ready on time would be (and I know cases where these WERE cited,) accepted as provocation for a man to kill his wife and it not be murder.

Theoretically then, perhaps the "temporary loss of control" argument would at least benefit women who kill their partners, but it still wouldn't account for those who do so as an outcome of years of domestic abuse. Temporary loss of control just sounds like something that could happen to anyone, any time, any place to "excuse" their actions.

But Anon, yes you have an interesting point there - the prevailing idea that some men have no control over their actions, their emotions, their sex drive, whatever. But, strangely enough this argument is only pulled out it seems in relationship to crimes they commit against women.

Do you think "temporary loss of control" will be accepted as a defence in other cases of non-accidental death? Is it likely the argument could be used in other situations - say non-lethal violence, fraud, arson? Any legal bods know?

AyedaBWells Thu 03-Nov-11 17:41:33

I've been thinking about this all afternoon and am trying to stave off my anger until the result.,

<hollow (mans)laughter> I bet they're getting Legal Aid to fund the appeal.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sakura Mon 07-Nov-11 13:38:25

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

sakura Mon 07-Nov-11 13:41:26

Anonwasawoman, I love your username

theothersparticus Mon 07-Nov-11 13:45:14

It does seem from the media, the justice system, etc that the only way a woman can be safe from men to to have some sort of measuring stick and make sure men get no closer than x distance. This wouldn't be for women's benefit, just to keep men safe from 'false rape claims' and being henpecked into losing their tempers hmm.

The lack of justice for women, as well as the lack of respect for women, is a major factor in stopping me from having kids. I weep for my neice.

AyeRobot Tue 17-Jan-12 15:49:55
StewieGriffinsMom Tue 17-Jan-12 16:02:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ArtexMonkey Tue 17-Jan-12 18:07:04

It's just the guy for whom the defence of loss of control was withdrawn from the jury by the judge who has been granted a retrial isn't it? The one whose wife died of 'head injuries and asphyxiation'. I really hope they reject it, like with the other two. This whole thing is such a pisstake.

sunshineandbooks Tue 17-Jan-12 21:37:48

Why oh why oh why has the message not yet gone through that violent men hurt and kill their partners not because of loss of temper but because they feel entitled to. It is the very opposite of loss of control; it is actually the assertion of it. angry

<ponders sending copies of Why Does He Do That to every judge in the country>

AyeRobot Tue 17-Jan-12 21:41:30

This was from the original BBC report on the conviction of the guy who has had his quashed (on a technicality):

"Jon Clinton killed wife Dawn at their home in Bracknell, Berkshire, after he hacked into her Facebook account and found evidence of the relationship.

Police found her body last year and had to evacuate nearby properties because the home's gas supply had been left on.

Clinton was found guilty by a jury at Reading Crown Court on Monday.

During the two-week trial the court heard that Mrs Clinton, 33, had left her "controlling" husband a few weeks before her death and moved into her mother's home.

Depressed Clinton took the break up badly and on 14 November last year he "torched" Mrs Clinton's "pride and joy" - a purple Land Rover she called Fred, the court heard.

When she visited the marital home to collect car documents the next day, Clinton killed her in a "savage attack", the court heard.
Cold blood

Police were called and broke down the door to find the house filled with gas fumes and Mrs Clinton dead in the living room, the jury heard.

Police found her intoxicated husband standing at the open loft hatch, causing officers concern he planned to harm himself.

He told them: "It's the voices in my head.""

Loss of control, my arse. Loss of his long-term, sickening control over his wife, but there was nothing momentary about that loss.

AyeRobot Tue 17-Jan-12 21:42:55

Yes, sunshine. I should have re-phrased my last sentence. It's a last act of control when all the other stuff has stopped working.

KRITIQ Wed 18-Jan-12 00:51:59

Yes, thanks for the update on this. I'd lost track of what happened. Let's just hope Clinton's retrial finds him guilty, for good this time.

The reporting on this ruling has been appalling. They say what the outcome is for the individual men, but not what it means for the law.

Have the judges effectively said that infidelity can be used as a qualifying "trigger", despite it's explicit exclusion in the Act, or have they just said, in this one case, the judge shouldn't have removed the "loss of control" defense from the jury's consideration because there was more than the infidelity being used by the defense to supposedly justify "loss of control"?

Hopefully in the retrial the new jury will be as savvy as the other killers' jury's were.

I've read the bbc article now and see they apparently have said the Act's explicit exclusion is to be disregarded. shock Hope this will be appealed by the prosecution.

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