THE parents of murdered Pendle nurse Jane Clough are celebrating after their campaign to change bail legislation was officially made law.
Delighted Barrowford couple John and Penny Clough – who have channelled their grief at the death of their beloved 26-year-old daughter into fighting for radical legal reform – said: “It is momentous.
“We can’t express our relief. This needed to happen.”
Mum-of-one Jane – an accident and emergency nurse at Blackpool Victoria Hospital – was murdered by her ex-partner Jonathan Vass as she arrived for work on July 25th, 2010.
He had been released on bail by a crown court judge after being charged with nine counts of rape, three assaults and one sexual assault against her.
Since his murder conviction in October, 2010, Mr and Mrs Clough have pushed for the right to appeal judges’ bail decisions through their Justice for Jane campaign.
After tireless campaigning, which has seen the couple travel the length of the country to get their message across, the proposal was tabled as an amendment to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Bill.
The Ministry of Justice announced the bill was finally granted Royal Assent on Monday.
Mr Clough said: “We’re so pleased, at long last, it has become law. Jane can go on saving lives just as she did in life.
“The help everyone has given us has been incredible. It is a huge achievement, and we hope a lot of people will benefit. But, to us, the cost was too high.”
The amendment will enable prosecutors to appeal to a High Court judge any crown court decisions to release suspected serious offenders on bail.
Mrs Clough said: “We still have a lot of anger and disbelief the system could fail someone so badly.
“There are a lot of ways to deal with grief, and this is the way we had to deal with it. It probably got us out of bed every day and gave us a purpose to make something happen. It’s incredible. I love that it will help people who I don’t even know.”
Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson got the ball rolling with a private member’s bill, and a petition launched in its support gained nearly 14,300 signatures.
During their campaign, Mr and Mrs Clough gathered support from Keir Starmer, director of public prosecutions, and Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan.
At the beginning of this year, Prime Minister David Cameron told the Commons there was “a strong case for changing the law”, and that an amendment would be made.
Then, in February, peers praised the couple in the House of Lords after giving their full backing to the campaign.
Mr and Mrs Clough have thanked all their supporters from members of the public to politicians and victim support groups.