Holy Cow! Women killed by their partners or ex-partners are their own worst enemy says columnist

Yesterday, The Birmingham Mail published a hateful piece by Maureen Messent about the 77 women killed though domestic violence in the year April 2012-March 2013. Messent described the 77 women killed  as their own worst enemies : “holy cows, never to be held accountable for staying with brutal men”.  She shared her sympathy for West Midlands Police, imagining their “ frustration and disappointment, then, when the women they want to help fail to turn up as witnesses “because I love him really”.”

In the year in question, at least three of the 77 women killed by a partner or former partner lived in the area policed by the West Midlands force: Da In Lee, Natasha Trevis and Shaista Khatoon.

Da In Lee

Da In Lee was a 22-year-old student studying International Relations and Sociology at Aston University.  She met Daniel Jones in 2011 at a local church but had ended their relationship  on 24 March 2012 though spent the night with him on 8 April.  We only have Daniel Jones’ account of what happened the next day because Da In Lee is dead. According to Jones, during an argument, he ‘caused her to fall over’, (a phrase which neatly eradicates his responsibility), before climbing on top of her.  By his own admission, she  struggled and screamed so he put his left hand over her mouth before taking hold  of her throat.  He described how her face went purplish blue, he said he saw tears well up in her eyes and two tears rolling down her face.  Yet he claimed he had not intended to cause her any harm and  lost track of time and so didn’t know how long it was he was applying pressure to her throat.  Accident-prone forgetful  Daniel Jones had been cautioned for common assault on a previous girlfriend in 2010.

 

Natasha TrevisNatasha Trevis was 22.  She had three children aged three, two and one with 28 year old Junior Saleem Oakes.  Oakes was violent and controlling throughout their relationship. He had a history of domestic violence including a conviction at the age of 19, and was known to carry a knife.  Oakes and Natasha were recently separated, she had not told him that she had recently terminated a pregnancy because she was afraid of what he might do. On 7 August,  five days after a social worker let slip this information, Natasha had called a taxi to her mother’s home but Oakes had travelled with her to be dropped off elsewhere.  In his statement, the taxi driver said he heard Natasha say to Oakes that they ‘didn’t need to talk about their relationship because they didn’t have one’. Natasha tried to escape but Oakes stabbed her 26 times.  She had wounds to her head, face, neck, chest, back and legs, one stab wound to her brain was 10cm deep.

Shaista Khatoon, 33 and Shoukat Ali, 38  had been married 15 years and had five children. His behaviour had become controlling and violent, they had separated but his harassment and threats had continued.  Shaista wanted a divorce. On 19 November, two days after receiving a divorce letter, Shoukat Ali  broke in to the where Shaista lived with three of the children.  As Shaista called the police, Ali cut her throat.  The operator heard her screams.  When the police arrived, they found her body in a pool of blood.

In addition, on May 8th, Lynda Jackson, 56, was found strangled to death at her home in Erdington.  A 60-year-old man was found with injuries at the same address and taken to hospital where he was said to be in a critical condition.  Police confirmed that they were not looking for anyone else.  Lynda was a teaching assistant at Hodge Hill Sports and Enterprise College who was strangled to death. Marie McMahon, head teacher at Hodge Hill Sports and Enterprise College, said: “Lynda was a talented and well respected colleague. She was loved by staff and pupils alike and she will be sorely missed.”

Not all women killed by male violence are included in those killed by domestic violence. In addition to the women above, in the year in question a further five women in the West Midlands were killed though men’s violence against them.  Janice Smithen, 46, was killed though blunt force trauma and Pauline Gillen, 69, was stabbed, both killed by their sons;  Kaysley Smithen and Ian Woolley.  Carole Mudie, 68, died after being mugged by Marvin Blake. Georgina Stuparu, 23, was stabbed by her friend’s boyfriend, Phillipe Burger.  Christina Edkins,16,  was stabbed by Phillip Simelane and Hayley Pointon was shot.  Are they less responsible for their own deaths in Messent’s eyes because they hadn’t been in a relationship with their killer?

Daniel Jones, Junior Saleem Oakes and Shoukat Ali have all been found guilty of murdering the women who were trying to leave them: Da In Lee, Natasha Trevis and Shaista Khatoon.  We do not hold these women accountable for their own murders, not because they are ‘holy cows’ but because the ones who are responsible for male violence against women are the violent men themselves.  Men who kill women are responsible for their actions whether the woman they killed was in the process of taking court action, of leaving, had already left or was still in a relationship with them.

Messent describes West Midlands Police as taking “whatever steps necessary to help the vulnerable. Officers burn the midnight oil, never preach, are prepared to listen for hours at a time”.   Is this the same West Midlands police who had to apologise to 19-year-old Alex Faragher who, when she reported domestic violence was called a “fucking slag” and a “bitch” by  two officers who allegedly inadvertently recorded the message?

The killing does not stop.  Since April 2013, Salma Parveen, Yvonne Walsh, Lilima Aktar, Varkha Rami, Jacqueline Oakes, Kanwal Azam,  Jane McRae, Amandeep Kaur Hoti and Tracey Snook-Kite have been murdered though male violence or a man has been found responsible for or charged with causing their death. Nine more dead women.   Holy Cows?   Women who allowed “themselves to be used as punch bags” and “their own worst enemies”? No.  Women who are victims of male violence.  Women who were killed by men. Men who are solely and entirely responsible for their actions.

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Forgiveness, Christianity and men’s violence against women

Desmond Tutu has been eulogising about forgiveness, he’s written a soon to be published book about it.  He’s a fan of forgiveness.  He has forgiven his father for his violence towards his mother, violence that Tutu witnessed and was powerless to stop as a child.   He explains that it took him years to realise that he needed to forgive himself, or the child that he was, for not protecting his mother.

No one needs to be forgiven for being a child unable to prevent one parent’s violence towards the other (usually a father’s violence towards the mother).  The child is never responsible.  There is nothing to be forgiven for.  But is it for the child to forgive the abusive parent?   What does it mean for a boy child to forgive his father for violence towards his mother, essentially for a man to forgive another man for violence against women?

Tutu has also, with difficulty he says,  forgiven himself for not making time to respond to his father’s request to see him the night before he unexpectedly died, an occasion which, Tutu imagines, might have been the time when his father sought to apologise for the violence he inflicted on Tutu’s mother.  There’s nothing to suggest that Tutu is correct in this belief.  It’s a convenience upon which he can pin his forgiveness.

It’s probably fair to say that Desmond Tutu is big on religion.  He’s a retired Anglican bishop.   I’d go as far as saying that he appears to have used his power and influence for good, but however closely allied to social justice, religion is conservative, it protects the status quo.  In a feminist analysis that identifies patriarchal society, religion has been shaped to protect men’s oppression of women.

Apparently,  in the bible there are two types of forgiveness: God’s pardoning of the sins of ‘his’ subjects, and the obligation of those subjects to pardon others. Being able to do so is so important that a believer’s eternal destiny is dependent upon it. Refusing to forgive is a sin.  Forgiveness then is a selfish, not a selfless act.  But it’s more than that, when talking about violence, it is an act that absolves the abuser of their responsibility. “No one is born a rapist, or a terrorist.  No one is born full of hatred,” explains Tutu.  He looks at how life chances have an impact upon the person we become, how none of us can say that we would not have behaved as an abuser behaves.  I disagree.  We are more than the product of our experiences.  We have consciousness, we make choices, we can see if our behaviour is harmful or hurtful to another. Abusers are always responsible for their abuse.  If someone’s ‘god’ , or indeed another believer, can absolve someone for the choices that they make, their responsibility is erased.

By reducing male violence against women to an individual relationship, one in which someone who is neither perpetrator nor primary victim can bestow forgiveness, we are ignoring, condoning – forgiving – the wider impact of men’s violence upon women, upon all women above and beyond that individual relationship.  We cannot allow a person to say that this is okay, that this is forgiven, but it appears that religion encourages us to do just that. Indeed, male violence against women can be forgiven by god.  That’s just a little bit convenient for patriarchy.

Male violence against women does not simply take place in the cocoon of an individual relationship. It is structural, it is systemic.  The pattern, the overwhelming consistency with which women are the victims and men the perpetrators  should be a big clue.  Male violence against women is not random, it has a function and that function is to maintain the social order of male dominance: patriarchy.  Male violence against women is a cause and consequence of inequality between women and men.    In the UK, the mainstream is very quick to identify ‘other’ religions as oppressive to women but this is equally true of Christianity. Religion reinforces and upholds patriarchy, forgiveness is just another of its tools. We do not need to forgive male violence against women unless we want men to continue to dominate women.

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Clare’s Law – Let’s talk about Manchester

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

Becky Ayres

24

06 March 2014

Caroline Finegan

30

16 January 2014

Jabeen Younis

32

19 April 2013

Marianne Stones

58

09 June 2013

Zaneta Kindzierska

32

16 June 2013

Linzi Ashton

25

29 June 2013

Rania Alayed

25

Olwen Dohoney

86

12 November 2013

Aisha Alam

49

22 November 2013

Glennis Brierley

64

14 December 2013

Leanne McNuff

24

11 March 2012

Kelly Davies

31

02 June 2012

Razu Khanum

38

08 June 2012

Esther Aragundade

32

26 June 2012

There are a lot of isolated incidents around

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.

Mother Killers: 30 UK men killed – or allegedly killed – their mothers between 2012-2014

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

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.

2013

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.

2012

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.

Talking about men’s violence (It seems like I’ve been here before)

Anybody pushing a ‘gender neutral’ approach to domestic – or sexual – violence is just a male violence enabler.

Men (mostly, but yes, some women too) don’t seem to like it when we talk about men’s violence against women.  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’

d) you’ve found it necessary to point out that women can be violent too

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.

More British women killed though men’s violence last year than British troops killed in Afghanistan in the last 3 years

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.