Jade Ward: Father of woman murdered by her husband demands he has rights over children removed

The father of a Flintshire woman murdered by her estranged husband says her killer still has "loads" of power over the four children they had together and he wants the law changed.

In August 2021, 27-year old Jade Ward was killed inside her Shotton home by Russell Marsh.

He was jailed for life and ordered to serve at least 25 years behind bars but the law states he still holds responsibility for the sons he had with Ms Ward.

Her father Paul Ward said he was surprised to hear parental responsibility remains with the convicted murderer.

“He’s still allowed to say which school they go to, what dentist, whether they can go on holiday or whether they can’t go on holiday. There’s loads of other things he gets control of.”

“He should automatically have no rights,” he said.

Russell Marsh was jailed in April 2022 for life. Credit: Andrew Price

The law states that despite Marsh murdering his children’s mum he’s not automatically stripped of the power to make decisions about their lives - to take it away, Jade’s family would have to go to court. That costs time and money.

Family friend Edwin Duggan’s been campaigning to change the law from his home in Shotton and launched a petition to highlight the issue.

“I’m the last person to ever want parental responsibility taken off any parent but in this case if a person deems it fit to murder the mother of their children he hasn’t got those children in the forefront of his mind so therefore he should lose those rights.”

Jade's family have petitioned to get a change in the law after their ordeal.

The Ministry of Justice confirmed that the Government would not make the changes - known as Jade’s Law.

ITV Wales has been told by a Government spokesperson that judges can effectively remove all rights and powers from a parent who has murdered another and they are looking at ways to make the process easier and quicker for families. 

However, the Labour MP for Alyn and Deeside Mark Tami said it should not be down to bereaved families to fight to remove parental responsibility from convicted killers and he wants that changed.

“If you have lost your daughter in a horrific crime, the law at the moment says you have to go back to court to face all that again in order to take those rights away and it should be the other way around”.

Labour has said if they win the next general election they will change the law but for now Jade Ward’s family in Shotton still have to ask the man who murdered their loved one for permission to do anything with the sons they shared.

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