Barrowford nurse’s killer branded ‘sexual predator’

Jane Clough
Jane Clough

JANE Clough’s mother has branded her daughter’s murderer a “sexual predator” after learning he tried to sexually assault a 14-year-old schoolgirl while working as a lifeguard in Preston in 2003.

Penny Clough has commended the strength and bravery of 23-year-old Kelly Fowler who reported the attempted assault by Jonathan Vass to police, but has asked why it was never brought to light.

She has since found out the police had made up a “bad character” file which was presented to the Crown Prosecution Service which she says could have stopped Vass being released on bail following 13 charges of rape against Jane.

But the allegations were never heard at the court bail hearing and he was freed to go on and stab Jane to death last July.

Penny said: “Looking at it we are very pleased this young girl has come forward but there are a lot of questions that need answering. At the time the girl was only 14 so he would also be classed as a paedophile.”

Vass was working as an assistant at the leisure centre when he was accused of trying to put his hands down her trousers.

Due to lack of evidence the case was dropped.

Penny has now asked why Vass’ past has never been brought up and wants to find out whether the CPS passed on the bad character file to the judge.

She said: “He’s obviously a sexually predator. I think it is very important Vass should be in prison as a sex offender and dealt with as a sex offender.”

She remains adamant she wants him to be tried for the rape charges and says his past should have been investigated.

This week Penny and her husband John received a letter from Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions and head of the Crown Prosecution Service.

Penny said: “Mr Starmer said it was the CPS in conjunction with the judge who dropped the rape charges just because he pleaded guilty to her murder. At the murder trial we always believed up to the very last minute he was going to be held accountable for the rapes against Jane.

“It has always been the case that he would be tried, but when he put in a guilty plea to her murder they said the rape charges would lie on file.

“We were horrified and we find it very worrying the CPS have done this.

“It’s sending out totally the wrong message. We as a country have the worst rape convictions in Europe.

“How could they ignore all the evidence and how can it not be in the public interest to have a rapist tried?”