Becky Ayres, killed on the 6th March 2014, is the second woman in Greater Manchester to have been stabbed by a partner/ex-partner this year following the stabbing of Caroline Finegan in January. Last year, 5 women in Manchester were killed by a partner/ex-partner and 3 women were killed by their sons. The year before, 2012, 4 women were killed by a partner/ex. That’s 14 women in Manchester killed through men’s violence in two years.
Greater Manchester Police were piloting the domestic violence disclosure scheme, also known as Clare’s Law, from September 2012 to September 2013. Clare’s Law allows people – of course most of them will be women – to ask the police to check whether a partner – of course most of them will be men – has a violent past. If police checks show that a ‘person’ may be at risk of domestic violence from their partner, the police will consider disclosing the information. The pilot was also supposed look at how the police could proactively release information (‘right to know’) to protect a ‘person’ from domestic violence where lawful, necessary and proportionate.
Linzi Ashton was murdered by Michael Cope nine months in to the Clare’s Law pilot. We know that Greater Manchester Police knew that Cope was being violent to Linzi, that he had raped her and strangled her. Through the court we have also learned that he had a known history of violence to two former partners as well as other convictions for violent crimes. It appears to me that there was ample evidence to suggest that the police should have shared information about Cope with Linzi and should have realised the danger that she was in. Whether they did so or not, Linzi is dead and suffered a brutal painful death. After her death, there were 108 injuries on Linzi’s body, there were fractures to her right forearm, left elbow, neck, her nose was broken, there were ligature marks to her throat, as well as a cut along her throat. She had been punched, kicked, stamped on, cut with a blade, beaten with a metal pole and strangled with a cable tie.
During the pilot of Clare’s Law, as well as Linzi Ashton, the following women were killed through men’s violence: Jabeen Younis, 32 was stabbed 19 times by her husband Jahangir Nazar; Marianne Stones, 58, was strangled by her son Paul Stones, she also had a cut to the nose and bruising on her eye, arms and tongue; and Zaneta Kindzierska, 32 was stabbed by her husband Krzysztof Kindzierski. The body of Rania Alayed, 25 has not been found. Her husband and brother-in-law have been charged with her murder. They both deny the charges and will face trial in April.
The IPCC is investigating Greater Manchester Police’s contact with Linzi Ashton before her death. I fully expect to see a report showing that ‘lessons have been learned’. I’m sick of reading that lessons have been learned whilst still women are being killed by violent men.
The basic principle of allowing women to find out if a partner/prospective partner has a violent history is sound. I’ve spoken to several women who have had violent relationships who have told me that they think it would have made a difference to them, to have what we might call ‘warning signs’ confirmed. But Clare’s Law needs to be resourced and that means investment in, not cuts to, specialist women’s services.
I’m concerned that the government is going for quick fixes and headlines. The number of women killed though domestic violence has remained consistent for over 10 years. Yet that’s not the whole story. Approximately one quarter of women killed though men’s violence over the last two years have not been killed by a partner or former partner. The Government has a strategy to end violence against women and girls within which it states that: “The causes and consequences of violence against women and girls are complex. For too long government has focused on violence against women and girls as a criminal justice issue” and yet its actions do not match that commitment. I launched my campaign ‘counting dead women’ to highlight the extent of the problem of fatal male violence against women and to urge the government to do more to stop this happening. We need changes to the Criminal Justice System for sure, but we need so much more than that.
Clare’s Law, during its pilot in Manchester, did not prevent the deaths of Linzi Ashton, Jabeen Younis, Marianne Stones, Zaneta Kindzierska and Rania Alayed. Men’s violence against women and girls is a cause and consequence of inequality between women and men. Quick fixes are not the solution. Clare’s Law, may make a difference to some women who request information, but it’s not enough. I want to see changes to show that lessons really have been learned and that things are going to be different. Until then and until the government admits the seriousness of the problem and properly commits to doing everything it can to understand and end male violence, women will continue to be beaten, raped, abused, controlled and killed by men.
In memory of
06 March 2014
16 January 2014
19 April 2013
09 June 2013
16 June 2013
29 June 2013
12 November 2013
22 November 2013
14 December 2013
11 March 2012
02 June 2012
08 June 2012
26 June 2012
One of the reasons I started counting dead women was hearing a murder of a woman killed referred to as an ‘isolated incident’. Seven women were killed in the first three days of 2012 and yet connections between these occurrences of men’s fatal violence against women were absent. It’s little over two years and 275 dead women later, and police are still describing men’s killings of women as isolated incidents.
On Sunday 23rd February 2014, two women, one in her 60s and one in her 40s, as yet unnamed but believed to be mother and daughter, were shot dead. 82 year-old John Lowe has been arrested for their murders. A Detective Chief Inspector speaking on behalf of Surrey police said:
“We are conducting a full and thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding these two deaths. However, at this time, we believe this is an isolated incident and there is no further risk to the wider community.”
Which aspect of their murders was an isolated incident? That they were killed by a man. Surely not, as stated above 275 women have been killed by men in the last 26 months. That they were shot? No, not that either. At least 15 of the 275 women killed were shot .
Less than two weeks earlier, 20 year-old Hollie Gazzard was stabbed to death. A Police Chief Inspector said
“I would like to reassure members of this community, both residents and local businesses, that this is an isolated incident. These offences don’t happen in Gloucester regularly. This incident was very tragic, however; both victim and suspect knew each other. They were in a previous relationship. That doesn’t lessen this horrific incident but it would be good for us to reassure the local community.”
Again, it’s difficult to see which aspect of Hollie’s murder was isolated. That she was stabbed? Definitely not, already in 2014, 6 women have been stabbed to death by men. In 2013, at least 45 women were stabbed to death and there were 44 in 2012. That’s 95 women stabbed in 26 months. Was it that she was stabbed by someone that she had been in a relationship with? Certainly not that, approximately three-quarters of the UK women killed by men since January 2012 have been killed by a partner or former partner. Perhaps then it’s that Hollie was killed in Gloucestershire. Gloucestershire wouldn’t be described as a femicide hotspot, though it’s only 6 months since the body of Jane Wiggett was found dead, her ex-husband has been charged with murder and remanded in custody. Two women dead in 6 months? Not so isolated then.
Earlier this year, on 24th January, 17 year-old Elizabeth Thomas was stabbed to death in Oxted, Surrey. A 16-year-old male, said to be known to her, has been arrested on suspicion of her murder. The Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector said:
“We believe this to be an isolated incident and that there is no risk to the further community.”
It’s difficult to fathom which aspect of Elizabeth’s murder was an isolated incident. That she was killed by a man known to her? No. That she was stabbed? No. That she was a teenager? No, not that either. Of the 275 women killed since January 2012, she’s the 16th teenager. Maybe it’s that she lived in affluent Surrey, the county ranked fifth least deprived according to the multiple deprivation index? Maybe that, after all it’s a long 14 months since 25 year-old Georgina Hackett was bludgeoned to death with a mallet by her boyfriend Daniel Baker. Yet Elizabeth’s murder was followed only 5 weeks later by the fatal shooting of the two women mentioned earlier. Maybe now, Elizabeth’s murder seems a little less of an isolated incident.
Also earlier this year, 43 year-old Karen Wild was stabbed to death in Hanbury, Worcestershire. A police Superintendent said:
“Following this tragic incident, we continue our investigations in and around the house, including searches and forensic examinations. I would like to reassure the local community that we believe this to be an isolated incident and no-one else is being sought in relation to our investigation.”
What was isolated about Karen Wild’s murder? We know it isn’t because she was killed by a man. We know it isn’t because she was stabbed. Worcestershire is another largely affluent area, Worcester district is ranked third least deprived according to the multiple deprivation index. Maybe all that affluence shortens memories, after-all 3 women – Alethea Taylor, 63; Jacqueline Harrison, 47 and Louise Evans, 32 – were killed though male violence in Worcestershire in 2012. Could it be that Karen’s son, Lian Wild was arrested and charged with her murder, that marks her killing as an isolated incident? No, it isn’t that either; Karen Wild is one of at least 32 women who have been killed by their sons since January 2012.
This is not about local communities, affluent or not. It is about women and it is about men. Are women not a community? Is our risk through men’s violence unrecognised? It is self-evident that each women killed by a man is a unique individual, as is each man that makes the choice to kill her. The circumstances around each killing are never identical. But that doesn’t make them isolated incidents. By refusing to see a pattern we are refusing to see the myriad connections between incidents of men’s fatal violence against women; and by refusing to see the connections we are closing our eyes to the commonalities in the causes. What sort of a message would it send, if, when a man killed a woman, police didn’t refer to an isolated incident but to yet another example of femicide? Yet another example of men’s fatal violence against women. Maybe then, naming male violence, misogyny, sex-inequality, dangerous rules of gender and patriarchy wouldn’t be restricted to feminists and would become part of a wider understanding. Maybe then, there would be sufficient motivation to do something about ending men’s fatal violence against women.
Insult us from the playground to parliament: Bitch. Witch. Slapper. Cow. Dog. Mouse. Mousse. Tart. Whore. Slut. Slag. Slattern. Fish-wife. Bossy. Bag. Harridan. Hag. Man. Man-hater
Strengthen the cage: reinforce gender by making girlhood pinker, shinier, sparklier
Princess, pretty, doll, lady,
Sweeter Sweetie: sugar, honey, treacle
Abort us. Kill us, rape us, burn us, drown us
Constrict us: corset, girdle, spanx. Tie us in, tie us down
Restrict us. Write us out of history. Block our education
Pay us less. Prevent us from voting, driving, ski-jumping
Sell us lies
Fill us with botox, collagen, PIPs
Our lips, wrinkles, breasts, bottoms: bigger, puffier, perter
Our skin too shiny, too dull, too dark, too pale
Cut out our fat, labia, clitorises
Heels higher, towering, teetering, toppling
Hair longer, straighter, blonder
Strip it, pluck it, wax it, shave it
We promised to obey
Treat us as property
Legalise our commodification
Prostitute us. Objectify us
Hide us in modest clothing
Shame our bodies
Camel-toe, nipple-block, vagisil
This is society, not biology, not psychology
Infiltrate, assimilate, vilify
Turn the tables, accuse us of hate-speech
Deny us a platform
Try to ban us from meeting
I am woman, hear me roar
Keep trying. Try harder
Your need to subjugate, dominate and place your interests first will not silence me and my sisters
You will not erase us
Still I rise. We rise.
This piece is about men who killed their mothers in the UK since 2012. I will also look at men who killed their grandmothers.1
Home Office data tells us that between 2001/2 and 2011/12, 108 women were killed by their adult son/daughter; over the 11 year period, that’s an average of almost 10 a year. This data does not tell us the sex of the killer. When I started recording the UK women killed though male violence in January 2012, I did not expect to find the number of women killed by their sons that I did. According to my records, 16 women were killed by their sons in 2012, 12 in 2013, one man has been charged with stabbing his mother in 2014 and a second recently arrested for murder. The figure may be higher for 2013 but several cases have not yet gone to court and the details of the relationship between victim and alleged killer have not been made public in some of these cases. The numbers of women killed by their sons alone in 2012 and 2013 are higher than the average number of women killed by an adult son/daughter over the preceding 11 years. In 2012 one woman was killed by her grandson, in 2013 two women were killed by their grandsons and a third by her step-grandson. The details of these murders, killings and alleged killings are given at the end of this piece.
The primary methods selected by the men who killed, or allegedly killed, their mothers have been:
- Battered with metal fireguard & slit throat 1 man
- Multiple injuries and decapitation 1 man
- Shot 2 men
- Blunt force trauma 2 men
- Strangled 4 men
- Stabbed 8 men
- Smothered/suffocated/asphyxiated 4 men
- Slapped and pushed,causing death thro’ heart condition 1 man
- Head injuries 5 men
- Beaten, dismembered and beheaded 1 man
- Undisclosed 3 man (cases not yet gone to trial).
Three of the men killing their grandmothers stabbed them, one killed her though blunt force trauma injuries.
The average (mean) age of women killed by their sons was 64 years, the average age of their son, their killer, was 36 years. The youngest mother killed was Leah Whittle who was 42, the oldest were Delores Smith and Olwen Dohoney who were both 86. The youngest son killing his mother was Keiran Smith,17 who killed Leah Whittle,42; the oldest was Stephen Dohoney, 55 who killed Olwen Dohoney. The average age of women killed by their grandsons was 78 years, the average age of their killer was 21 years. The youngest grandmother killed was Janis Dundas who was 63, the oldest was Kathleen Milward aged 87. The youngest grandson son killing his grandmother mother was Nathaniel Flynn,17 who killed Louisa Denby, 84; the oldest was Garry Kane, 40 who killed Kathleen Milward.
Where it has been possible for me to ascertain the race of the men who killed their mothers (in 25 out of the 29 cases), the distribution is similar to the UK population as stated in the 2011 census. 86.2 % of the men who killed their mothers were white; according to the census, the UK population is 87.1 % white. The small variation is can be explained as a result of the relatively small sample size. All four men who killed their grandmothers were UK born white.
Mental ill-heath has been cited in the cases of 13 men who killed or allegedly killed their mother. Drug-use (including prescribed drugs, cocaine, heroin, cannabis, ecstasy) has been noted in eight cases, alcohol in two and a combination of alcohol and drugs in two. Drug use has been noted in all cases of the men who killed their grandmothers. At the time of writing, 8 cases have not yet been to court and it is not unusual for such information to be withheld pre-trial. This is not to say that mental health problems and/or substance use cause violence against women or cause men to kill their mothers. Many people with mental health problems and/or people who use drugs/alcohol are never violent. The Mental Health Foundation estimated that one-in-four people experience a mental health problem in a year, clearly the vast majority do not commit violence acts including murder. However research suggests a relationship between mental illness and violence, a risk factor, with combined problematic substance use and personality disorders being identified as a significantly increased risk. Just as in the population who do not use substances problematically, or who do not experience mental health problems, men are more likely to kill their mothers than women are to kill either their mothers or fathers. It is critical that health professionals take seriously threats and histories of violence against women but this does not indicate a causal relationship. We must question the roles of stigma and the social exclusion on the actions of people with mental health problems and problematic substance use. We must also remain aware that misogyny and sexism have an impact across all sections of society and therefore not lose sight of the roots of violence against women – patriarchy – on occasions when mental ill-heath is expressed through violence against women.
So called ‘mercy killing’ was used in the defences of at least four men and implied in the case of one who killed himself after killing his mother. I feel sceptical about the veracity of such a claim in some but not all of these cases, the level of brutality used by some men to kill their mothers belies any notion of mercy. We need to allow people the right to choose to die. Euthanasia, assisted suicide and/or the right to die should never become the duty to die for fear of being a burden on others, should never become elder abuse or neglect. The costs and difficulties of care cannot be permitted to become reasons to kill. It’s clear that a rigorous ethical legal framework and guidance are necessary; but with or without recourse to assisted suicide as a legal option, it will continue to occur.
When looking at men’s violence against women – whether their mothers, partners or otherwise - mainstream analyses infrequently ask whether perpetrators are more sexist and misogynistic than men who are not violent to women. Problematic substance use, mental health problems, emotional problems, employment and economic problems, jealousy, ‘snapping’ and ‘rows’ are routinely considered, reinforcing the dominant agenda on – the excuses for – what is seen as significant. This must be recast and the role of patriarchy expressed through inequality, sexism, objectification and misogyny needs to be placed at the centre of our analysis of all forms of men’s violence against women and our efforts to end it.
1 I have found no cases of women killing their fathers in the same period. I have found two cases of women who killed their mothers in 2013. Kauther Silvera was found guilty of killing her mother Vittoria Baker. Emma Parr was found guilty of killing her mother Carol Parr. Both women were convicted for manslaughter.
Men who killed or have allegedly killed their mothers: UK 2012-2014
On 12 February a 43-year-old woman was found with severe head injuries and a serious chest wound in the corridor outside her home in East London she was pronounced dead at the scene. Neighbours had called police after hearing shouting and screaming coming from the apartment. A teenage boy, said to be her son was arrested for murder.
Lian Wild, believed to be the son of Karen Wild was charged with his mother’s murder. Karen was found with serious stab wounds and pronounced dead on the scene on 30th January.
Simon Forgie, 42 stabbed his mother Pernella Forgie, 79, to death on 7th February 2013. She suffered more than 50 knife wounds to her head and neck, and another ten to her chest. Forgie pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The prosecution accepted the plea after three psychiatrists agreed he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the attack.
Jeffrey Ash, 50 smothered his 83-year-old mother, Ellen Ash on March 21 2013. Firefighters responding to a call entered the house and discovered Ellen Ash’s severely burned body on the living room floor. Experts said the fire had been started deliberately and bottles of turps and white spirit were found in the house. A court heard that Jeffrey Ash could no longer cope with Ellen Ash’s hallucinations, her failure to recognise her son and the “onerous burden” of looking after her almost single-handedly. Jeffrey Ash was been jailed for 40 months for culpable homicide.
James Dunleavy, 40 beheaded and dismembered his mother Philomena Dunleavy, 66 before burying her in a shallow grave in April/May 2013. Medics could not tell how she died and injuries to her head, smashed ribs and damage to small bones in her neck – often linked to strangulation – could have been sustained after her death. She may still have been alive, but unconscious, when her son began to hack off her legs with a knife and saw.
Dunleavy’s legal team arranged for his transfer from prison to the State Hospital. Dunleavy had denied murder and attempting to cover up his crime but was found guilty. He had a history of violence against women including against a former partner.
Roland Holman, 55 suffocated his mother Myrna Holman, 76 with a pillow on 3 June 2013. He was jailed for 18 months, having earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Myrna Holman was suffering from terminal pancreatic cancer and had been given 12 weeks to live, Roland Holman insisted she ‘asked him to end it’.
When police arrived at the house, they found Holman in tears, sitting beside his mother’s lifeless body clutching her ‘pale white hand’ under the covers. He later said: ‘She told me she didn’t want to be here anymore. I did it. I did it. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke – I just killed my mum. She wanted to go to the toilet and I lifted her to the commode but it was too late. There was blood and mess all over the place. She looked at me and asked me to do it for her. I lifted her back onto the bed and put the pillow over her. She didn’t even struggle.’
Roland Holman received a sentence of 18 months. Speaking after the hearing, his brother, David Holman, said: ‘It’s disgusting that someone can make a 999 call saying they have just killed their mother and get away with it. He is a good guy and did it only to help my mum but that judge has given him a pat on the back and let him go free. I never had the chance to sit with mum and hold her hand.’
John Jenkin, 23 has been charged with the murders of his mother Alice McMeekin, 58 and his sister after their bodies were found at home along with their slaughtered pet dog on 8th June 2013, the women had suffered head injuries.
John Jenkin, who was arrested shortly after, is also accused of animal cruelty. A neighbour said: “I heard screaming, really high-pitched screams in the early hours. Then later I heard more screaming. It sounded like someone telling a dog to shut up.”
Paul Stones, 38, strangled his mother Marianne Stones, 58, on 9 June 2013. He was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. He walked into a police station and asked to speak to a police officer. He told the officer that he had just killed his mother by strangling her, and that her body could be found in the house.
Mark Howe, 21, admitted murdering his mother Katrina Wardle, 48 on 16th July 2013. Police said she had been stabbed and that they followed a trail of blood from the premises to a post office cash machine and a petrol station.
Mark Howe repeatedly stabbed and slashed Katrina Wardle in the face, mouth, neck, chest and arms before leaving her to bleed to death on her bedroom floor. She had curled up in a foetal position, trying to protect herself. Howe used a 12-inch knife, the tip of which was bent by the force used. A judge said the assault was ‘akin to torture’.
Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said: “She didn’t die immediately. The totality of the wounds caused her to bleed to death. A passer-by heard her pleading with you to stop, but you didn’t and left her to die.” ‘’You told Facebook friends you hated your mother, and became hateful towards her.”
Nigel Constable, 51 is due to stand trial charged with the murder of his mother Betty Constable, 79. She died in hospital on September 24, 2013 where hospital and staff raised concerns about her conditions. Post-mortem tests have been carried out, but police have not yet released the results. He has pleaded not guilty and has been remanded in custody.
Oludotun Kalejaiye, 21 was arrested on suspicion of murder after his mother 46-year-old Tolu Kalejaiye was found dead in their home on 26 September 2013. Police discovered her lying on her back in her kitchen, surrounded by blood and with a large laceration to the left side of her neck.
Mohammed Badvie, 42 has been charged with murdering his 69-year-old mother Badri Dabir on 5th October 2013. After forcing entry to the house, police officers found her body, shortly afterwards she was pronounced dead. A post mortem gave the cause of death as head injuries.
Stephen Dohoney, 55, was found hanged and his mother 86-year-old Ethel Dohoney, was found dead in her bed on 12th November 2013. It has been stated that she had been stabbed in the chest and a knife and blood stains were discovered in their home.
Matthew Brierley, 45 was been charged with the murder of his mother Glennis Brierley on 14th December 2013. Police received a call from a public telephone reporting that a woman had been killed. A post mortem concluded Glennis Brierley died after being stabbed.
On 4th March 2012, 24-year-old Joseph Cupori stabbed his 43-year-old mother, Anna Cuporiova, before beating her unconscious with a metal fireguard and then slitting her throat and dumping her in a wheelie bin.
Joseph Cupori had been inhaling butane gas at the time and since has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He was convicted of murder, despite a denial on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Daniel Corriat, 43 killed his 76-year-old mother Elizabeth Coriat on 24th March 2012. She was found on her bed, fully clothed, decapitated and mutilated with various weapons embedded in her head and body, the injuries to the wrists and ankles, suggesting a ‘crucifixion-like’ pattern. She had suffered almost 50 separate injuries inflicted by weapons including carving knives, secateurs, a chef’s steel and a pruning saw. Her head had been cut off completely off, rotated 180 degrees, and placed back on her body.
Daniel Corriat had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at the age of 18 and had a history of violence.
34-year-old Ian Blakey told his mother Jean Blakey,55 he wanted to take her shopping but instead, on 29 April 2012, drove to a secluded woodland and shot her, killed his dog and then shot himself because – according to a note he left for his ex-partner – he ‘didn’t fancy doing life’ for her murder and claimed he could not watch his mother live with multiple sclerosis
Jean’s partner of 26 years, Harry Mawson, said Blakey would visit his mother once or twice a week but would often only stay for a short while. He also said it was unusual for him to take her out and the last time he had done so was for her 50th birthday, five years earlier. Mawson told the coroner that Jean had been looking forward to the trip and she had no wish to die. He said: “She was not bad as he (Ian) made out. She was a happy woman who woke up every morning with a smile on her face. She never once complained about her illness. She always greeted her carers with a smile and enjoyed outings with them.”
A post-mortem showed that Blakey had had taken cocaine and an ecstasy-type drug.
Paul Sturt, 30 killed his mother Annette Sturt, 49, at her home in May 2012. She had been struck with a blunt instrument before being strangled and was found in a shed. Judge Adele Williams ruled that heavy cannabis user Sturt was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia when he killed Annette and ordered that Sturt be detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act. Sturt pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Mark Stones, 38, told Manchester Crown Court that he tucked her his mother Marian Stones, 58, in to bed and told her he was sorry after he strangled her on 10 June 2012. Stones told the jury: ‘I sat on the bed and talked to her for a while. I said how sorry I was and I didn’t know why I did it and how much I loved her.’
Stones denied murder but was convicted by a jury after a medical expert said it was ‘extremely unlikely’ that the anti-depressant drug Sertraline prescribed to Stones would have driven him to kill.
He had a history of violence against women including against his ex-wife and another former partner.
Paul Heiss was wanted for questioning over the murder of his mother, Margaret Sheehy when he allegedly stabbed a woman to death in the street in Barcelona. After his arrest Spanish detectives discovered that he was wanted for extradition to the UK on suspicion of strangling his mother to death in June 2012.
Kaysley Smithen, 21 has been given an indefinite hospital order after being found guilty of killing his mother Janice Smithen, 46 with a weights bar in the home they shared on 2 July, 2012. A post mortem found Janice Smithen had died from blunt force head injuries.
Police said Smithen had “a severe mental health problem” and had been ruled unfit to plead on a murder charge earlier in the trial.
Andrew Cane, 30 strangled his mother Linda Sheard, 63 on 11 July 2012. She suffered black eyes, broken ribs and bruises all over her body, including where he held her down as he strangled her from behind. Cane stole her wallet, texted a dealer and took a taxi to a cashpoint where he took out £200 which he spent on cocaine.
Cane pleaded guilty to manslaughter but not guilty to the more serious charge of murder when he appeared in court but the plea was not accepted and he was tried and found guilty of murder.
Kieren Smith, 17 stabbed his mother Leah Whittle, 42 on 21st July 2012. Smith had severed her spinal cord rendering her unconscious and immobilising her early on in the killing, so there were no defence injuries on her arms or hands. Smith denied the killing, claiming that men came down from Yorkshire to execute his mother because his brother had got into trouble over a drug debt. He was found guilty of murder.
Robert Archbold, 49, said he ‘got into a row’ with his mother Jane Archbold, 77, and put his hand over her mouth “to shut her up” on 21 August 2012. He admitted unlawful killing on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denied murder. A post-mortem examination showed that Jane Archbold had 15 abrasions to her head and face, which were consistent with being smothered and strangled.
Mark Tyler, 37 shot his mother Maureen Tyler, 79, before shooting himself on 3rd September 2012. Maureen Tyler was shot face-on by her son as she sat in a living room sofa. Forensic evidence suggested four days passed before Mark Tyler killed himself. Both died of single shots from a sawn-off shotgun.
MarkTyler had been for a psychiatric consultation in July, but “no diagnosis” was made. He had previously been identified as “dangerous” by mental health experts and had a history of drug use.
Graeme Morris, 38 killed his mother, Ann Morris, 63 and battered his father on 5th October 2012. The couple were sitting in their conservatory when Morris began to shout abuse, grabbed his mother by her hair before punching his father to the floor, stripping him to his socks and kicking him. Ann Morris had a heart condition, which had been diagnosed in 1996 and was known to her family, meaning that strenuous physical activity or stressful situations had the potential to be life-threatening. His father spent seven days in hospital following the attack, receiving treatment for injuries including a fractured eye socket. Morris admitted culpable homicide and assault. He will only be released with the approval of Scottish ministers.
Ian Woolley, 44 admitted killing his mother Pauline Gillen, 69, and Jason Duffield, the neighbour who went to investigate the sound of disturbance, by stabbing them with a screwdriver on 6th October 2012. Woolley, killed Pauline Gillen as she lay in bed before stabbing her and Jason Duffied to death and throwing him over a fifth floor balcony. Woolley pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and was sentenced to be detained in a secure mental facility indefinitely, he cannot be released without the authority of the secretary of state.
Kazik Pasierbek, 39, hit his mother, Margaret Krawcewicz, 72, over the head “six or seven” times on 12 October 2012 causing bleeding and swelling to her brain. He was found guilty of murder. His trial heard that Pasierbek had a history of hitting Mrs Krawcewicz when she refused to give him money.
Jurors in the trial were played a recording of a call made from lifeline equipment in Margaret Krawcewicz’s flat which she activated in the early hours of that morning. In it, she can be heard retching and saying: “Oh god, what did you do to my head Kazik, you beat me up so badly, don’t do it. Oh god, I am so sick, release me from this earth. Release me god. My father in heaven, I can’t stand the pain. Let me die, let me die, release me from this earth.”
Peter Dickson, 37 smothered his mother, Carol Cooper, 66 to death by holding a pillow over her head on 2 November 2012. He was found guilty of murder and jailed for a minimum of 18 years. Passing sentence, Judge Charles Gratwicke said: ”This was a brutal and vicious attack on your own mother, a lady who had no cause to fear you and who was in poor health. She doted on you and provided for your every whim, putting you on a pedestal and your response to that love, affection and care was to smother her to death.
William Smith, 49 killed his mother Delores Smith, 86, on 27th December 2012. A post-mortem examination gave the cause of her death as head injuries. William Smith had beaten her with two frying pans before cutting her throat. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility after psychiatrists agreed he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and was detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act. When asked why he had killed her, Smith said: “Because she is my mother and I love her.”
Men who killed or have allegedly killed their grandmothers: UK 2012-2014
Gary Kane, 40 murdered his grandmother Kathleen Millward, 87 on 3rd January 2012, inflicting 31 separate injuries including 15 head and neck injuries caused by “blunt force trauma”. He then left her dead or dying on the kitchen floor. He had a history of violence including a four month jail term for assault in 1997.
Jack Huxley, 20, sexually assaulted and murdered his step-grandmother 62-year-old Janis Dundas. She was found by police officers’ face down in a pool of blood in her bedroom with three knives protruding from her back. She had been mutilated, stabbed and slashed 28 times and had suffered a sexual assault. The court heard how Huxley accessed pornography showing sex between young men and mature women in the hours before and after the murder.
Lewis Dale, 17 has been charged with the murder of his grandmother Irene Dale, 78 on 27 April 2013. His grandfather, Allan Dale, who was also stabbed in the attack described how his grandson “lunged” at him with a kitchen knife as he was lying in bed, stabbing him in the chest. When Allan got up, Dale stabbed him again in the abdomen and then turned on Irene, his wife of more than 50 years, repeatedly stabbing her as she cowered under the duvet. She died at the scene. Lewis Dale admits he stabbed his grandparents, but denies murder and attempted murder, claiming he was in a “drug-induced psychosis” brought on by using M-Cat.
Nathaniel Flynn murdered his grandmother, Louisa Denby, 84 by stabbing her 50 times as she lay in bed and then attempted to kill a nine-year-old boy on 1 July 2013. At his trial, the judge heard that three psychiatrists found Flynn had no diagnosable mental illness but said he had been influenced by his heavy, “entrenched” use of cannabis and other drugs. Flynn ordered an SAS survival guide, two knives, tarpaulin and rope from the internet in the days before he killed his grandmother. Police believe one of the knives he ordered was used in the attacks, although the weapon has never been recovered.
Bjarne Melgaard who as described by art critic Roberta Smith, ”never met a taboo he didn’t like breaking,” has a reputation to maintain as an aging enfant terrible . He has produced a ‘chair-as-art’ based on a similar one created in the 1960s by Allen Jones. The chair is a woman on her back with her thighs pulled up to her chest and her calves and feet sticking up in the air. The backs of her thighs make the seat. She is wearing black knickers, long gloves and boots. The difference is that Melgaard’s chair is a made to resemble a black woman and Jones’ is white.
Russian fashion designer and the editor-in-chief of new bi-annual art and fashion magazine GARAGE, Dasha Zhukova (note – it really isn’t acceptable to reduce a woman to that of girlfriend of a man, however rich and famous he happens to be) is a white woman who has been photographed smiling beatifically from the chair. The image is of a fully-clothed white woman sitting on top of a pornographied black woman. The photo-shoot accompanied an interview with on-line fashion website Buro 24/7 about the launch of Zhukova’s magazine and has sparked what has been referred to as a ‘racism row’. The editor of the Buro 24/7 Miroslava Duma and Zhukova herself have since apologised. Duma’s apology reads:
“Dear all, Buro 24/7 team and I personally would like to express our sincerest apology to anyone who we have offended and hurt. It was ABSOLUTELY not our intention. We are against racism or gender inequality or anything that infringes upon anyone’s rights. We love, respect and look up to people regardless of their race, gender or social status. The chair in the photo should only be seen as a piece of art which was created by British Pop-Artist Allen Jones, and not as any form of racial discrimination. In our eyes everyone is equal. And we love everybody.”
Zhukova is reported as saying: “This photograph, which has been published completely out of context, is of an artwork intended specifically as a commentary on gender and racial politics.” Art critic Jonathan Jones has waded into the furore and defended the piece arguing that the intention is the opposite of racist:
“in making this woman black he means to retoxify the art of Allen Jones, to offend people with an image long since accepted. It is to question power and representation. Are you offended by this black woman’s abuse? Then why is it OK for white women to be similarly humiliated in a respected pop art icon in the Tate collection? Offensiveness in art is often a way to satirise injustice.”
Firstly, yes, I am offended by Jones’ original piece. The sexual objectification of women is taken to the further depth of a literal objectification by turning us in to a piece of furniture. But whether art critic Jonathan Jones realises it or not, the objectification of white and black women is not the same. Black and white women are rarely treated the same in pornography, depictions of black women are rarely free of racial stereotypes. In Miroslava Duma’s world, everyone might be equal – though I would be interested to see a breakdown of the sex and race of contributors to her magazine – but in the real world they are not; and black women are doubly oppressed, through their race as well as their sex. The model of the objectified pornographied black woman is made more offensive when it is sat upon by a fully-clothed white woman.
There’s nothing inherently big or clever about breaking taboos, there’s nothing new about dressing –up porn as art or the art elite explaining to us plebs that we just don’t get it. Miroslava Duma and Dasha Zhukova are absurdly wealthy white women making Duma’s protestation that “everybody is equal’, at best ill-considered and uninformed. Bjarne Melgaard, Allen Jones and Jonathan Jones are white men. As people who have experienced neither racial nor sexual oppression, their defence of either is worthless. Pornography is the eroticisation of unequal power relations and art or not, pornography reinforces, not challenges inequality.
Earlier this week I tweeted this: “Anybody pushing a gender neutral approach to domestic – or sexual – violence is just a male violence enabler.” Imagine my surprise when (mostly) men didn’t seem to like it. The responses are nothing new and as yet never original, so, as a result, I’ve written this to save me the bother of repeating the same thing over and over again because I am not going to stop talking about men’s violence against women and I don’t suppose men are going to stop finding that objectionable. If I have sent you a link to this piece, it’s because
a) you have suggested that I don’t care about male victims
b) you refuse to accept than the extent of differences between men’s and women’s use of violence or the effects of that violence
c) you’re interpreting what I say as ‘all men are violent’
c) you have made some nonsense comment about feminism, or
d) some combination of the above.
I want to see an end to men’s violence against women. I’m campaigning to raise awareness of men’s fatal violence against women and for action to increase our understanding of the reasons behind the differences in men and women’s use of violence and their victimisation, so that we can reduce men’s violence against women.
Women who are murdered are most likely to have been murdered by a man. Men who are murdered are most likely to have been murdered by a man. Men are more likely to be violent than women. Not all men are murderers, not all men are violent. Some women are murderers, some women are violent.
Gender and gender differences – the ways that many of us behave in ways that are seen as being like a ‘typical man’ or a ‘typical woman’ – are socially constructed. They are not biological, they are not inevitable. Not all women and not all men conform or want to conform to these gender differences, many of us sometimes do and sometimes don’t. Because gender differences are socially constructed, it means we can change them. The stereotypical gender differences between women and men are a way of keeping women and men unequal. At the same time, different doesn’t have to mean unequal.
All men benefit from inequality between women and men. This doesn’t mean that some women are not in more advantageous positions than some men. It doesn’t mean all men are the same. It doesn’t mean that all women are the same. It doesn’t mean that sex is the only important basis for inequality. It doesn’t mean that everyone wants it to be that way.
Men’s violence against women is a cause and consequence of inequality between women and men. It doesn’t have to be that way. If enough of us decide to do things differently we can change the world. Men don’t have to be violent, towards women or other men. Men can end male violence if enough of them want to. The thing is, this won’t happen if too many men – and/or women – refuse to see that men’s violence is a problem. The changes that will reduce men’s violence against women will also reduce men’s violence against other men, they will probably also reduce women’s violence.
I want to see an end to men’s violence against women. What this means is “I want to see an end to men’s violence against women.” It doesn’t mean that I do not care about other forms of violence. It doesn’t mean that I do not feel any compassion towards male victims of violence. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care or that I celebrate if men are killed – and that is true whether they’re killed by a woman, or, as is more likely, by another man.
A straw man argument is misrepresentation of someone else’s position to make it easier to attack or undermine that position. When men – and it usually is men, but not always – attack me for caring about women killed though men’s violence, by suggesting that this means I don’t care about men who are victims of violence (whether from women, or as more likely, other men), they’re using a straw man argument. They saying that because I care about men killing women, I can’t care about men who are killed, to attack the fact that I care about women who are killed. This may or may not be, as suggested by a friend of mine, Louise Pennington, because they do not care when men kill women. The thing is, whether they intend it or not, their attacks and their refusal to accept men’s violence as the problem means that it is less likely that we’ll be able to make the changes that will make us all safer. And even though men kill more men that they kill women, who benefits from things staying the same? Yep. Men. Even the nice ones.
Nigella Lawson used the phrase ‘intimate terrorism’ to describe her abuse from Charles Saatchi in court in December last year. It is a derivative of the more useful term ‘patriarchal terrorism’ which captures not only that men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators and women the victims, but the wider cultural context – patriarchy – in which men’s violence against women takes place. The concept of terrorism reminds us that abuse is physical and deadly but also about coercion and reinforcing ideologies of dominance.
The UK’s military role against the Taliban in Afghanistan has claimed the lives of 99 members of the Army, RAF, Royal Marines and special forces in the last three years. Regardless of, and not discounting the arguments for or against British military intervention and also not wishing to denigrate the death of even one person – military or civilian, or on either side – the deaths of British military personnel are far outnumbered by the deaths of 140 women in the UK who were killed though men’s violence in one year alone.
I started keeping the list of the names of women killed in January 2012. Many people know the statistic than ‘two women a week are killed through domestic violence in England and Wales ‘ but I thought keeping a list of the names of women killed made the horror of what is happening feel more real. Since I started the list, I’ve counted 264 dead women: 120 in 2012, 140 in 2013 and already 4 in 2014.
When I started keeping the list, I was shocked and angry about the lack of attention given to the murders of women, and what feels like a refusal to look at the links between the different forms of men’s violence against women. It’s not only women being killed by their partners or ex-partners but by their sons, grandsons, fathers, business associates, as well as by rapists and robbers.
I launched a campaign “Counting Dead Women” because I want to see a fit-for-purpose record of fatal male violence against women. Unless we have an accurate picture of what is going on and make connections between the different forms of sexist murders, we will not stop men killing women. 264 dead women later and I’m not going to stop counting and naming the women killed until official records are being kept and the government is doing everything that it can. I’m asking anyone who feels the same and who hasn’t already done so to sign my petition demanding change.
I’d like to thank @thedwellproject for the analogy to British military deaths in Afghanistan in this post by Eddie. For Our Daughters have also compared women killed though male violence to British troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and N. Ireland.