Counting Dead Women

2019: UK women killed by men or where a man is the principal suspect

2018: 147 UK women killed by men or where a man is the principal suspect

2017: 147 UK women killed by men or where a man is the principal suspect

2016: 125 UK women killed by men or where a man is the principal suspect 

UK women suspected to have been killed by men in 2015

149 UK Women suspected to have been killed by men in 2014

144 UK  Women suspected to have been killed by men in 2013

126 UK Women killed by men in 2012

 counting dead women montage

On New Year’s Day, 2012, 20-year-old Kirsty Treloar got a text from her boyfriend Myles Williams:

“Okay wer all gud now and my new yrs ressy is that I aint going to hit u again and I won’t hit u 4 this yr next yr the yr after that the next yr after that.”

The next day he broke into her family’s home, stabbed her brother and sister as they tried to help, then he dragged her into the back of his mother’s car and drove her away. She was found dead 2 miles away, dumped behind a wheelie bin. Kirsty had been stabbed 29 times.

Michael Atherton, 42, also sent a text a New Year text.  Shortly before midnight, he sent a text to his partner, Susan McGoldrick, saying he was going out and would spend the night away because he didn’t like her sister Alison Turnbull, 44, with whom she was spending the evening.  But Susan and Alison came home before he had left. Atherton, who held a gun licence despite a history of  arrests for domestic violence dating back 10 years, shot Susan, Alison and Alison’s 24 year old daughter Tanya, before killing himself.

On New Year’s Day,  Aaron Mann, 31 repeatedly hit Claire O’Connor, 38, with a blunt object before smothering her with a pillow.  Her badly beaten body was found wrapped in her son’s sleeping bag and covered in a dirty sheet in the boot of her car on January 2.

On the 2nd January 2012, 48 year-old Stephen Farrow stabbed 77-year-old Betty Yates in the head and neck and beat her with her own walking stick.

On 3rd of January John McGrory used a dog lead to strangle 39-year-old Marie McGrory.  Garry Kane, 41, killed his 87-year-old grandmother Kathleen Milward, though 15 blunt force trauma” injuries on her head and neck.

So, in the first three days of 2012, 8 women in the UK were killed through men’s violence.  Three days, eight dead women: 3 shot, 2 stabbed, 1 strangled, 1 smothered and one beaten to death. Eight women aged between 20 and 87, their killers aged between 19 and 48 were their husbands, partners, boyfriends or ex’s, sister’s partner, aunt’s partner, robber and grandson.

Perhaps because it was the beginning of the year, I just started counting, and once I’d started, I couldn’t stop. Since then, I’ve counted over 366 women killed through suspected male violence.

At first I counted women killed through domestic violence. Then, on March 9th 2012, Ahmad Otak stabbed and killed Samantha Sykes, 18 and Kimberley Frank, 17. Otak wasn’t the boyfriend of either of them, but of Eliza Frank, Kimberley’s sister.  After killing Kimberly and Samantha in front of Eliza, he abducted Eliza and drove to Dover in an attempt to escape to France. The murders of Samantha and Kimberley don’t fit the definition of domestic violence, but they’re absolutely about a man trying to exert power, control and coercion in his relationship. Their deaths made it clear to me that concentrating on what we see as domestic violence isn’t enough. It’s wider than that.  The murders of Kimberley and Samantha  by were no less about male violence against women that they would have been if he had been the boyfriend of one of them.

Then there’s Andrew Flood, a taxi-driver who strangled and robbed Margaret Biddolph, 78 and Annie Leyland, 88. When I learned he’d also robbed a third woman it was clear  to me that there was a pattern to his actions. In fact, last year, five older women, aged between 75 and 88 were killed by much younger men, aged between 15 and 43 as they were robbed or mugged, including Irene Lawless, 68 who was raped, beaten and strangled by 26-year-old Darren Martin.  I don’t think the murders of Margaret, Annie and Irene were any less about misogyny, than those of women killed by someone they were related to.

So my list doesn’t just include women killed though domestic violence, I could women killed through male violence.  I want us to stop seeing the killings of women by men as isolated incidents, to put them together and to see the connections and patterns.

The murders of some women barely cause a ripple, some don’t make it into the national media. If the press take this seriously, there’s more chance of people seeing what is going on, of understanding the implications of male violence and to say ‘no more’.

126 UK Women killed by men in 2012

144 UK  Women suspected to have been killed by men in 2013

149 UK Women suspected to have been killed by men in 2014

UK women suspected to have been killed by men in 2015

Can you give me a link to Counting Dead Men?

233 thoughts on “Counting Dead Women

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  4. My daughter Sammie Laney is in this photo. 4 down on the right. A new report came out that misconduct from the police & social service missed opportunities to help her. Need to spread the word . if u report someone has threatened to kill u . police should do something about it now . only in Stafford at the moment. But should be all over the uk

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  13. There is a definite link between hate speech and portrayal of a group of people by the media and violence against them in the real world. Its where our anti hate speech laws come from. Governments across the world know this and yet are refusing to join up the dots between gender based hate speech and animalistic portrayal of women in porn media and the violence it promotes against women in the real world. The question is how many women have to die before this becomes too big a problem to hide with their ‘missed opportunities’ and isolated incidents lies.

  14. Something is going badly awry in Australia in 2015. Obviously, our population is smaller than yours. We have lost TWO women a week either to murder by random men or (the majority) to murder by men known to the women. This is nearly double the rate for the last few years. This is profoundly disturbing. The lead cause here of preventable death and injury to women between 14 and 44 is male violence. As a 60 year old, I have no experience of pornography or violent video games (whatever they are called). The media gives me the impression that these are commonplace. I wonder if they are a factor.

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  25. My mum was murdered on Christmas day in 2012 by her “boyfriend” she had only known 2 weeks.. The police were called to his flat for a incident that did not involve my mother but as they called to his flat my mother layed on his bed bleeding to death after being stabbed 10 times, even though he had blood on his hands they did not enter the flat, if they had gone in she could still be alive!!

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  28. Superb work.not wishing to get too political but do you have any evidence to suggest that domestic killings have increased since the cut backs on matrimonial legal aid? I do not have statistics to back it up but my feeling is that killings of women and children have increased since the legal aid bill has been cut.

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  32. I read the first paragraph, then i felt too nauseous to continue..and the tears came,i could easily have been one of those women…and i have two daughters, and now a granddaughter,… thank you for this, i honour you for you stand for women.Thank you for all you do xx

    • Thank you so much – I’m so glad that you’re not one of the women named here and I hope that you’re safe now. If you’re not, please call the national domestic violence helpline on 0808 2000 247. xx

  33. Thanks karen – for all your work for women and children too – wonder how many lives you will save by joining the dots on male supremacist violence? Xx

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  36. Reading the names and manner of death in the list for 2014 it is shocking that these women knew their murderer in the majority of cases and the prevalence of sons killing their mothers.

    I think women are most frightened of strangers and we adapt our lives to avoid meeting strange men alone. Is that the reason there are fewer deaths by strangers, simply because we avoid meeting strange men alone or is there some aspect of control/dominance that makes men kill their ‘loved’ ones.

    I think only men can explain what these men are thinking? A male friend of mine suggested is it the instinct of being leader of the pack and the dominant male controlling the less dominant male’s, females and young?

    What I think is most worrying is the denial and ‘what about the men’ attitude that i read (for example in the guardian) especially with regards to suicide and murder rates amongst men which of course is still violent males committing violent acts on themselves and others.

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  38. Karen this is a great campaign you are doing and I commend your passion. 31 years ago I witnessed the murder of my mother by my father one fatal night in Nov. I was 14. My sister 8. He stabbed her 12 times. All my life he beat and threatened to kill her. We received little or no counselling and had to pick up the pieces of our lives as best we could. After many years of avoiding working with women experiencing Domestic Violence ( thinking this would harm me more) I finally realised this was my life’s purpose to help in any way I can. For the past 4 years I have piloted a voluntary project supporting women affected by abuse. The key I found, is to enter into group work with the individuals and take them on a journey of abuse awareness, self and addictive behaviour awareness. Working locally in communities addressing the root causes and belief systems of individuals are what’s needed. It’s not enough to say this is terrible! We need local brave women and men to get alongside the women and men involved to uproot the deep rooted belief systems that these individuals suffer from.
    This might be a controversial comment but women and men must be challenged on these belief systems of ‘ it was only a slap’ he’s under a lot of stress’ he must love me so much that he wants to spend so much time with me, whilst being isolated from friends and family etc.
    Now I am setting up a new campaign and support network as well as group work for women, men, perpetrators of abuse and also for the LGBT community. Local people working in local communities setting up group work for prevention and stopping the cycle by challenging relationship beliefs, working alongside police, social work, housing associations, MPs and schools, nurseries is what’s needed. We must support and challenge abusers. Something must be done to find out why they are violent? They too can be restored. I found out why my dad was so angry all the time. He was abused from aged 3! Sexually by a primary carer and then in a care home. There was a reason. It wasn’t an excuse, but if he had support and proper counselling and challenged, my mother might be alive today! Help the abusers. It’s not enough to throw them in jail and hate them for what they did. I have reformed men ready to reach these men. Find brave men who have walked through the doors of change- to reach other men!,,,
    It requires insight and bravery to do this but it must be seen as the only solution!
    I hope we can do something together with this?


    • Hello Lynn,
      I am so sorry to hear about what happened to your mum.
      I’m pleased that you’re able to use your experience to help others.
      Respect do important work with perpetrators and I agree that it has to be part of the solution. It’s important that we all find the place where we think/hope we can be most effective. Perpetrator work isn’t for me, but I’m glad someone is doing it and I’m glad that Respect underpin their work with a solid feminist understanding of the nature of male violence against women.
      Best wishes with what you’re doing.

      • Hi Lynne
        I too witnessed the constant beating and lying of my father against my mother. He regarded women and children as beneath the protection of the law as they were inferior to men and therefore inferior to their laws. This is essentially a psychopathic attitude, and one that is all over male media such as porn and lads mags. Ask your brave men to start petitioning other men to stop training up the next generation of gender psychopaths – as sexism is just as fatal as racism.

  39. in reply to link for dead men women do not murder on the same level as men. 90% of men who are killed are killed by other men so join the campaign to end male violence

    • Sorry, I don’t have a single problem with a campaign to stop violence against women but I’m not sure why male victims get discounted because the perpetrator was male. If men don’t stop killing men, then they probably won’t stop killing women either. The huge focus on male on female violence is surely a reflection that in society violence against women is considered more inappropriate/taboo. If you don’t make a concerted effort to remind men that violence against men is equally as wrong, that all violence is unacceptable, then you probably won’t ever address the causal issue. That is why it is important to count the dead men also.

  40. Have you seen this today? I am furious about this Karen!

    BBC Headline:
    Dog farm shooting ‘scene of carnage’

    Actual article:
    Farnham farm murder ‘was dreadful display of violence’

    This was the horrendous case where the man killed 2 women, who I believe were his ex-partner and her daughter?

    1) It wasn’t a dog farm shooting – it was the murder of 2 women by a man

    2) No mention of the previous intimate relationship – it was DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

    It is no wonder we don’t take it seriously in this country when this is the standard of reporting by even the BBC. What do we value more – the fact that he intended, but didn’t kill 4 dogs, or that HE DID kill 2 women?!!!!

    Words can’t express how I feel right now…

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  47. My mum’s best friend was murdered in january 2012 too, the 26th by her controlling ex boyfriend, he wanted to get back together, she didn’t. He smothered her with a cushion after having sex with her. Phillip brown was sentenced to 15 years before parole

  48. Just an idea……The met have a list of known pedophiles, why not abusive men??? I have been in 2 domestic violent relationships. There have been a few times where I could of easily of lost my life or choose to take it myself as I could no longer cope with the mental or emotional abuse. Surely by having a list of men that have been convicted or attacks against women would help us to know who they are and avoid them. I can’t see it being a solution to domestic violence but it could save a hand full of lives.

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