Petition for automatic removal of parental rights of killers could be debated after Jade Ward murder

Jade Ward
'Jade's Law' will be considered for parliamentary debate as the petition reaches more than 100,000 signatures.

A petition for the automatic removal of parental rights of killers will be considered for parliamentary debate as it reaches more than the required 100,000 signatures.

The petition emerged after the family of Jade Ward started the campaign after she was murdered by her estranged husband.

Ms Ward was killed at her home in Shotton last summer just yards away from her children. Russell Marsh was found guilty of her murder and handed a life sentence.

The petition has now reached more than 113,000 signatures in less than three weeks.

Currently in the UK, imprisonment does not automatically restrict parental responsibility. This can only happen following a voluntary agreement or if the other parent takes the incarcerated parent to court.

This means Marsh is still involved in the upbringing of their children and has control over aspects of their welfare such as future medical needs or if they are ever taken out of the country - including going abroad for a holiday.

A family court hearing would be required for Marsh to give permission every time.

Now being considered for a debate in Parliament before MPs, the change could see the automatic suspension of parental responsibility of any parent found guilty of murdering the other parent.

Jade Ward's mum, Karen Robinson, spoke of her "disgust" that the killer still has a say in their children's lives.

The Flintshire mum-of-four, who was 27 at the time, was slashed, stabbed and strangled by Marsh in her own bed, before he buried her under a pile of clothes.

Since his life sentence was imposed in April, Ms Ward's family have been campaigning for the law to be changed and suspend parental responsibility for parents who kill.

"I will never stop being my daughter's voice."

Now, less than three weeks after starting the petition, more than 100,000 people have backed the campaign over the introduction of "Jade's Law".

After hitting the milestone, Ms Ward's mum Karen Robinson spoke of her "disgust" that the killer "still expects to have a say" in his children's lives.

The 51-year-old said: "Jade was just a normal girl working a part-time job when this happened. Marsh felt that he had the right to take her away from us all - and that scumbag still expects to have a say in how his children are raised from behind bars.

"He used his children as pawns during the court case and then accused them boys of lying. How dare he ask for updates on them, because my daughter can't. She's buried in the ground.

"After the trial came to an end, everything sort of stopped. We'd always been working towards that day and this campaign has given me a new reason to get out of bed in the morning."

Balloons were released in memory of Jade Ward on Chevrons Road in Shotton.

She said she will "never stop being her daughter's voice", adding that she will "never rest" until the law is changed. She also said she had been "blown away" by the response to the campaign so far.

Taylor Wesley has been one of the many vocal campaigners hoping to create a "legacy" through Jade's Law. She said it "felt wrong" that she would be getting married this year and that her best friend should have been there as a bridesmaid to celebrate with them.

She said: "We've been out there with flyers, posters and sharing the petition like mad online. We have to be Jade's voice in this situation because that voice was taken away from her."

Ms Ward's family are campaigning to ensure nobody else is forced to come face to face with the killer after a sudden loss each time a decision over their children needs to be made.

The campaign will continue until October 2022, when the petition will reach its six month deadline.