Jade's Law: Mum 'elated' as partner-killers to be stripped of parental rights

Jade Ward
Jade Ward was killed inside her Shotton home by her estranged husband Russell Marsh in 2021.

The parents of Jade Ward, who was murdered by her partner in Shotton, are said to be "elated" that their daughter's killer will be stripped of his parental rights.

The Government will change the law to strip parental responsibility from any parent who kills the other.

The ruling, known as Jade's Law, after the Flintshire-mum killed by the father of her four sons, will be brought before Parliament by the end of the year.

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

Russell Marsh still has power over his children despite killing their mother. Credit: Andrew Price

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 children he has with Ms Ward unless her family spend time and money going through the courts to contest it.

That means he can decide what school they attend, what medical treatment they get, and even where they holiday. This new law would automatically strip him of those rights.

Ms Ward's family have been campaigning for this for 18 months and her Mum Karen Robinson is said to be "elated".

Family friend Edwin Duggan has been at the forefront of this legal battle and wrote to the Prime Minister five weeks ago.

Dozens paid tribute to the mum-of-four who was killed inside her home in 2021. Credit: Media Wales

"I posed the question, 'Would you like to have to speak to the man who killed your child?' I did pose some strong questions," he added.

"I said if you don't do this, Labour has promised they will. I think they sat up and listened."

Mr Duggan received a letter from the Ministry of Justice two weeks ago but there was no hint of changing the law. He said that doesn't matter now.

He said: "We are all elated. At least we've got the end result and we are really happy this will potentially protect children in the future."

In May, the Government told ITV Wales they would not bring in Jade's Law but there has been a U-turn at their party conference in Manchester.

Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Alex Chalk said "Jade Ward's case and the moving campaign of her family has exposed an injustice in our family justice system, one that we are committed to fixing."

Justice Secretary Alex Chalk will announce the laws at the Tory Party Conference. Credit: PA

The new measures will be introduced to parliament as part of the Victims and Prisoners Bill and will introduce an automatic suspension of parental responsibility while any mother or father is serving time for killing the person with whom they shared that responsibility.

Speaking to the Conservative Party Conference on Tuesday justice secretary Alex Chalk will outline plans to introduce "Jade’s Law" – a measure that has been campaigned for by Jade's parents Karen Robinson and Paul Ward along with family friend Edwin Duggan and the local MP Mr Tami.

Mr Tami introduced the family to then Shadow Minister for Prisons and Probation and Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding Jess Phillips in June 2022.

In November 2022 he led the debate on the petition in the House of Commons and met with the Ministry of Justice to push the matter. Mr Tami also secured a pledge from the Labour front bench that a Labour Government would enact Jade’s Law.

The tributes in Shotton after Jade Ward was murdered.

In May this year the Shadow Justice team pushed for amendments to the Victims and Prisoners Bill to include enacting Jade’s Law. Despite the tireless campaigning, the UK Conservative Government maintained that it was too difficult to implement Jade’s Law.

Mr Tami welcomed the change of heart: “I’m delighted that the Government has finally changed their mind despite telling me for so long that it couldn’t be done,” said Mark Tami.

“I’d like to pay tribute to Karen, Paul and Philippa for the bravery and tenacity they have shown in a very tough situation. I’d also like to thank Edwin Duggan for his tireless work.

“We need to see the detail behind the announcement, but if all goes well and Jade’s Law is enacted this year then Karen and Paul will finally be spared the indignity and trauma of having to face Russell Ward. Their selflessness will help other families in the future.”

Jade's family hope the changes will be made by spring next year.

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