A CAMPAIGNER whose daughter was murdered by an abusive ex-boyfriend has called for a stalkers’ register where potential victims can check their partner’s history.
John Clough, whose daughter Jane was murdered by her violent former lover while he was on bail for rape, claimed that despite new laws stalkers are ‘getting off with a slap on the wrist’ and victims need better protection.
His nurse daughter, 26, was stabbed 71 times as she walked into work by predator Jonathan Vass, who lay in wait for her, and cut her throat at the end of the frenzied attack.
She had ended their relationship and told police that he had raped and beaten her, but he was granted bail while facing nine counts of rape and four of assault and went on to kill.
Mr Clough, from Barrowford, said: “The idea of having a register that shows the previous history of these people has got to be a heads-up for victims.
“The courts have got powers under new stalking laws to lock people up for five years and we’re just not seeing proper use of these laws at all.
“Stalkers are still getting away with a slap on the wrist. The courts aren’t treating stalking with the seriousness it deserves.
“If a stalkers’ register could be given the same importance as the sex offenders’ register it would have a significant impact. Stalking is an act of terrorism against the victim.”
Vass had been reported for violent abuse in a previous relationship, and went on to stalk Jane.
Her father, 53, added: “Looking back at what he did to Jane and the text messages, constant phone calls and checking up on her, it was all stalker behaviour.
“After they split up, after she reported him, part of the bail conditions were that he couldn't go near her. But it came out in court that he had been following her to work, he had been stalking her from a distance.
“During the relationship he had this fixation of wanting to know where she was. A multitude of text messages every day to check where she was and what she was doing, who she was with. If she was having a meal with friends he would suddenly appear out of nowhere just to confirm that’s where she was.
“We would still like to see Vass in court for the rape cases.”
Since Jane’s murder on July 25, 2010, the family has successfully campaigned to get the law changed so that prosecutors can now appeal when suspects are granted bail.
Mr Clough and his wife Penny are both ambassadors for stalking support service Paladin, which has led calls for a stalkers register.
Laura Richards, CEO of Paladin, said: “Stalkers steal lives and take lives. In offending terms they are more akin to sex offenders.
“We have compared all civil and criminal protective orders available and none of them impose a positive obligation on a perpetrator to attend treatment programmes or notify police when they change their name, move to a different area, travel abroad or form new relationships.”