Victim’s father hails Scots ‘Clare’s Law’

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THE father of a woman murdered by her ex-partner says he is “quietly delighted” at the ­introduction of a scheme allowing police in Scotland to warn of a person’s violent past.

Clare Wood, 36, was strangled and set on fire in Salford, Greater Manchester, in 2009 by a man she had met on Facebook.

Mr MacAskill will today meet Michael Brown, father of Clare Wood.''Picture: Neil Hanna

Mr MacAskill will today meet Michael Brown, father of Clare Wood.''Picture: Neil Hanna

Yesterday, her father, Michael Brown, met justice secretary Kenny MacAskill ahead of the introduction of a disclosure scheme already adopted in England and known as “Clare’s Law”.

The pilot scheme, which will allow men and women to ask for details of a partner’s criminal history, will have a six-month trial in Aberdeen and Ayrshire.

People with concerns will be able to fill out an online form for information with every ­request judged case by case.

Mr Brown, originally from Aberdeen, said the pilot would allow men and women to make “an educated decision” about whether to stay in a relationship.

Asked for his reaction to the trial, he said: “I’m quietly delighted. It’s somewhat bittersweet ­as, had I not lost my daughter, I wouldn’t have been here.

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“I don’t know if it was the timing of my daughter’s death, the nature of her death or the publicity her death got, but the ball started rolling. I was handed a baton I could not put down and we’re here today rolling out Clare’s Law in Scotland.”

Mr Brown said he had to wait 26 months for a coroner’s inquest after his daughter’s death, and had been told data protection laws would have prevented police warning Ms Wood about her killer. She repeatedly contacted police in the months leading up to her death with concerns about ex-boyfriend George ­Appleton, who had been jailed twice for harassing women.

“What we wanted to do was give men and women who are in trouble the chance to make an educated decision of whether to stay or go,” Mr Brown said.

“In the past, police couldn’t tell them, and it must have been frustrating for officers to go to the same address time after time. For them to be gagged was, to me, a nonsense. I really couldn’t believe they were putting girls in that sort of trouble.”

Mr Brown said his daughter would have been “quietly proud” of her father’s actions.

The pilot, which begins on Tuesday, is part of a crackdown on domestic violence which could see the introduction of an offence of domestic abuse.

Mr MacAskill said: “The strength and courage Michael Brown has shown following his daughter’s death is truly ­remarkable and his hard work in ­leading the campaign for the ­development of a pilot scheme will help protect lives.”

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