The heartbroken family of a young woman who was brutally murdered by her boyfriend have successfully campaigned for the Government to review ‘Clare’s Law’.
Tragic Rosie Darbyshire, 27, was bludgeoned to death by Ben Topping eleven days after she had made an application to find out if he had a history of violence.
She was keen to dispel concerns her family had raised about Topping, who is currently serving a life sentence for her murder on February 7 this year.
Under current guidelines, police forces provide information from Clare’s Law requests within 35 days but extenuating circumstances may increase the timescale.
Tragically, Rosie did not receive information about Topping, who was bail for ABH at the time of Rosie’s death, before he killed her.
In the wake of the tragedy her family set up a petition calling for Clare’s Law requests to be sped up, which was signed by more than 10,000 people in four months.
Today the Home Office have agreed to review the time-frames for disclosure of information, which could result in at-risk people getting quicker responses.
Rosie’s sister Alice Hodgson said: “We as a family can not thank everyone enough for all the signatures and sharing. Without this, we wouldn’t have got this result.
“It has come from such heartbreaking circumstances but us as a family are amazed that we have made a difference.
“If this helps one family to not go through what we have then we can be happy knowing we have done this in honour of our Rosie.”
The call for a review has been supported by Michael Brown, the father of Clare Wood, who was killed by her ex-partner and who Clare’s Law is named after.
Mr Brown fears the legislation is becoming “redundant” due to police forces taking too long to give out vital information.
The West Yorkshire man said: “My daughter died because some man couldn’t understand ‘no’ and the police are telling me it is going to take 35 days for a reply.
“Five weeks that some woman is going to be tortured, battered, killed? Five weeks, when all they have to do is press a button to find out a person’s history.
“I want to see a review of Clare’s Law and who has decided the five week period when these men and women are in clear danger.
“Rosie Darbyshire’s case has highlighted what can happen, but this must have happened more times than enough.”
At the time of Rosie’s killing, she had only been in a relationship with Topping for a month, having reconnected on social media after meeting at college years earlier.
He was on bail for actual bodily harm for breaking a man’s jaw at a club nine months before.
Speaking earlier this year, Alice said: “When she (Rosie) started putting pictures of them together on Facebook, people were commenting on them, saying he’s a bit weird, or he’s not good for her.
“An ex-girlfriend of his wrote something like, ‘You’ll be next’.
“We kept pushing Rosie to do [a Clare’s Law application], so she did it to prove a point – that everything was okay.”
Rosie made the application for information about Topping on January 28, days before her murder with a crowbar following an argument on February 7.
She was left unrecognisable after sustaining more than 50 injuries.
Her family say Topping was aware the application had been made and that and he had told her he was on bail for ABH.
Earlier this year Hyndburn MP Graham Jones took issue to Parliament and raised a question to the Home Secretary Priti Patel, asking her to review the scheme.
He said: “I fully support the campaign.
“Whilst Clare’s Law is vital, it needs updating to ensure it protects people at risk. Unfortunately, as Rosie’s case sadly shows, the current time-frame is far too long.”
The Home Office has now admitted they “need to improve the operation of the scheme”.
A spokesman today (Fri) said: “Clare’s Law is an important tool designed to keep people safe.
“We are currently working with the police to review the guidance used by forces, including the time frame for disclosure.”
The spokesman added that the Home Office was working with the police to enable online applications to the scheme to improve accessibility.