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Clare Wood Murder Case Sample

Published by at April 18th, 2023 , Revised On February 2, 2024

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Clare Wood Murder Case


Clare Wood was murdered by her old boyfriend, George Appleton, at the beginning of 2009. The “Independent Police Complaints Commissioner” (IPCC) identified systemic shortcomings on behalf of the police leading to Clare Wood’s murder in a test case conducted in 2010. George Appleton had a prior criminal history of criminal violence and harassing former girlfriends on the occasion of Clare’s passing.

Wood did not know the nature of his violent history when they first connected on Facebook. The two parted ways in the fall of 2008. Nearly half a year before the murder, she repeatedly complained to the “Greater Manchester Police” about stalking, violent threats, sexual violence, and property destruction committed by her ex-boyfriend.

The IPCC assessment also makes it clear that association has persisted, albeit irregularly. He was issued a non-harassment notice following the breaking down of Wood’s home entrance in the week before she passed away. Wood did not inform her family of the harassment. One week following the murder, he attempted suicide; nevertheless, a sheriff’s inquiry into Clare’s murder revealed that he had been criminally killed by strangling. The “Association of Chief Police Officers” (ACPO) prior proposal for disclosing information concerning abuse records to those engaged in romantic relationships through a right of access to information approach was endorsed by the examiner.

The Case

As mentioned earlier, they victim and offender first connected through the internet in 2007 and partnered for almost one and a half years; however, he repeatedly verbally and physically abused Clare during this period. Due to his repeated infidelity, she abandoned the relationship, and as is customary in domestic abuse killings, his brutality towards her increased.

The imminent risk to Clare, demonstrated by his previous offenses under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and a conditional discharge for one especially vicious attack on a former partner, was not adequately addressed despite the complainant making at least five contacts with Police insinuating common assault, sexual harassment, death threats, and attempted rape.

At the beginning of 2009, fourteen days after their final interaction, he suffocated his former girlfriend and burned her corpse afire before killing himself shortly afterward. Though there were serious mistakes regarding how Police handled Clare’s investigation, her murder was not correlated explicitly to any of them, according to the IPCC inquiry (Hadjimatheou and Grace, 2020).

Clare Act

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, often known as “Clare’s Act,” was implemented in Wales and England in 2014 in honor of Clare Wood, whom a boyfriend with a previous record of abuse killed, as discussed above. It enables police to share typically personal information about an individual’s violent record with someone thought to be in danger of harm in the future to empower them to make better security decisions.

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (hence, DVDS) permits authorities to voluntarily warn sufferers of assault when they feel doing so would assist in protecting them from further exploitation or in doing so in reaction to a declaration request made by the victim. With a frequency of revelations made, tripling from more than 3400 in 2017 to more than 6500 in 2019, the DVDS has quickly entrenched itself as a standard instrument of spousal abuse protection in Wales and England. Similar domestic abuse declaration programs are currently in operation in other countries of Northern Ireland, Scotland, and even outside Britain in New Zealand, and portions of Canada and Australia after being adopted as an example by other countries (Strickland, 2021).

The DVDS has received praise for being an excellent example of a new, victim-centered, preventative strategy for family violence police that aims to encourage and safeguard victims rather than penalize offenders. The increase in its use demonstrates how passionately spousal abuse specialists inside police enforcement have adopted it as a technique.

Government intentions to better integrate the DVDS into police safety procedures by putting it in an eagerly awaited Domestic Violence Act have been applauded by organizations that advocate for and protect domestic violence victims. And while there is very little proof that it has any effect on victims, there are some hesitant signs that individuals who get declarations cherish them.

Assessing the DVDS and its Impact

The IPCC report noted the police’s preliminary risk assessment, the call operators’ mistakes, and the inefficiencies in delivering the court document to the “Crown Prosecution Service.” These conclusions are not new; they represent a reiteration of prior IPCC reports and the study’s worries about poor risk assessments, outdated rules and procedures, enforcement inactivity, and call-handling shortcomings.

Additionally, a 2014 study by the “HM Inspectorate of Constabulary” (HMIC) concluded that authorities’ response to domestic abuse in countries of Wales and England was unconscionable and that a variety of adjustments were required to enhance critical strategic exercises to guarantee that people were not placed in needless danger.

In this context, the Wood situation, which followed the previous killing of Katie Boardman within the same area, sparked a substantial public discussion concerning how the judicial framework could safeguard women from repeat domestic abusers. This discussion included the question of whether or not those involved in the criminal justice framework must be mandated to reveal past spousal violence to safeguard respective spouses and future victims more effectively.

Following Clare Wood’s passing, Britain’s first spousal abuse exposure program was implemented in response to community pressure for faster responses to spousal abuse, which was championed by Wood’s dad, Michael Brown. Suggestions for the program, which had been dubbed a “PR triumph,” were very political and victim-focused, presenting crucial considerations about how specific sufferers’ narratives are leveraged on a governmental basis to support the enactment of new laws and reforms in legal justice.

The establishment of these kinds of legislation has precedence in Britain. For instance, Sarah’s Act, a sexual offenders’ registration that gives families restricted admittance to a registry, was instituted in the wake of the death of 8yo Sarah Payne by a convicted child molester in 2000. These victim-centered legislations, like Clare’s Act and Sarah’s Act, reflect the movement over the past 20 years to place individuals at the center of the criminal law structure and raise awareness of victims’ demands.

On the 8th of March 2014, the occasion of International Women’s Day, there was a countrywide spin on the “Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS)” in the British countries of Wales and England. At the time, Parliament member Theresa May was the home secretary.  The DVDS grants the community the “right to inquire” the authorities whether a person has ever engaged in spousal abuse or personal relationship assault.

The petitioner will be either individual A, who is currently in contact with individual B (the application’s target), or individual C, who is a third party submitting the request on account of individual A (a family member, for instance). Significantly, the rule permits the disclosure of previously available data exclusively to legal agencies. Some requirements must be completed before any such knowledge may be sought or communicated (Duggan and Grace, 2018).

Therefore, this “right to question” component of the DVDS complements the established “right to information” path already obtainable to those operating in the legislative field; this enables them to start revelations of alternatively private information on the premise of protecting or public security as a consequence of the possible danger to an individual’s security being recognized. This might have happened due to the person committing an offense or because pertinent knowledge about the person was presented at a consultation session on victim safety (Hadjimatheou and Grace, 2020).

Various behaviors that cause bodily, psychological, cognitive, or sexual damage are considered domestic harassment and assault. These behaviors could also entail gaining power over a person’s personal and financial activities. Following Clare Wood’s passing, lawmakers, human rights activists, and community members said that if Wood and her father had already been aware of her boyfriend’s violent past, they might have been able to save her life.

According to Hazel Blears, the then MP for Salford and Eccles, women are unable to be confident of the danger that they confront unless they are given the opportunity to understand if their spouse has a record of continuous domestic violence. The answer to this query will determine whether the law will serve its intended purpose of reducing domestic abuse in the future.

According to a review of the IPCC’s conclusions in the Wood incident, Clare Wood was well informed of her partner’s aggressive impulses, even if they were directed more against herself than against some other companion. She sought to break up the intimate partnership and filed reports about the perpetrator’s behavior to authorities in the time leading up to her murder.

A domestic abuse program would not have been able to address her vulnerabilities or concerns, according to the events that occurred in the Wood incident leading up to the murder. The IPCC evaluation emphasizes the significance of providing sufficient assistance for women trying to leave high-risk situations and the necessity of improving risk evaluation and individual counseling at the forefront enforcement level.

Clare’s Act may not resolve any of the following pressing problems; instead, it may make them worse by taking enforcement funding away from grassroots case administration. In this regard, the implementation of the new system comes with an operational load that the authorities may not have the resources to handle successfully, which would cause them to shift their focus from those other essential domestic abuse police customer service domains (Boggan, 2013).

Anyone may utilize Clare’s Act, whether worried about their partner’s violent behavior or frightened for a friend, parent, or another third party in a possibly toxic association. However, petitions are reviewed by the authorities and organizations such as the Probation Service, social services, and the NSPCC; the evidence is only released if there is reasoning that there is an immediate threat of harm. The individual who received the data is not permitted to reveal it to anybody else; failure to do so could result in legal action under Data Privacy Act (Fitz-Gibbon and Walklate, 2016).

The implementation of the DVDS in countries of Wales and England coincides with a recent initiative to center Britain’s response to domestic violence on “the reduction of violence and the safeguarding of the victims.” This change is a result of a developing realization that the previous enforcement strategy had placed a strong priority on prosecuting criminals at the expense of survivor protection, causing officers to disregard instances where there was little chance of success in court, regardless that the danger to the defendant was great.

Police were criticized in conjunction with some previous cases involving exclusive names regarding avoidable spousal abuse killings, including the death of Clare Wood. In reaction, police departments in Wales and England have enhanced their budgetary allotments for spousal abuse and made considerable modifications, such as creating positions for spousal abuse to safeguard those who have undergone specialized training within specialized, non-investigative local policing components.

To help organize risk evaluation and safe systems of work for survivors, more conventional work ties have also been developed with alliance partners, including victims’ representatives, psychological health professionals, prosecution, and social services. A vital component of these reform efforts is the implementation of valuable cutting-edge applications like the DVDS, which aims to equip and help people (Duggan and Grace, 2018).


Timely prevention is the goal of the DVDS, which was created after a widely publicized movement that extensively highlighted the 2009 assassination of domestic abuse victim Clare Wood by her old boyfriend, George Appleton. In Britain alone, at least two women are murdered by a present, ex-spouse, or significant other each week. One out of four women is predicted to suffer assault and domestic violence. Although close relatives can sometimes be perpetrators of victimization, personal partners still make up the preponderance of incidents of interpersonal violence and assault.

Although such events may link to the domestic partner assault committed or suffered subsequently in life, this is frequently ignored in public and legislative discussions. With the innovative knowledge that would enable people to undertake action to safeguard their security, the DVDS approach strives to empower individuals. But because it was created with romantic partners in mind (especially those who did not know each other before connecting and starting a relationship), it is less suited to the kinds of victimization that happen among close relatives.

Reference List 

Boggan, S. (2013). A history of violence: is Clare’s Law working? [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/apr/21/a-history-of-violence-clares-law

Duggan, M. and Grace, J. (2018). Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme. Child and Family Law Quarterly, [online] 30(2), pp.145–166. Available at: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/19178/9/Duggan%20Grace_Assessing%20vulnerabilities%20in%20the%20Domestic%20Violence%20Disclosure%20Scheme.pdf

Fitz-Gibbon, K. and Walklate, S. (2016). The efficacy of Clare’s Law in domestic violence law reform in England and Wales. Criminology & Criminal Justice, 17(3), pp.284–300. doi:10.1177/1748895816671383

Hadjimatheou, K. and Grace, J. (2020). ‘No black and white answer about how far we can go’: police decision making under the domestic violence disclosure scheme. Policing and Society, 31(7), pp.1–14. doi:10.1080/10439463.2020.1795169

Strickland, P. (2021). ‘Clare’s law’: the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme. [online] Parliament. uk. Available at: https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN06250/SN06250.pdf

Frequently Asked Questions

Clare Wood was a UK domestic violence victim tragically murdered in 2009. Her case led to the introduction of “Clare’s Law,” allowing individuals to inquire about their partner’s history of violence.

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