Jade's Law curbs rights of killer North Wales dad who tried to control kids from behind bars

Jade Ward was stabbed and strangled by Russell Marsh as their children were sleeping
-Credit: (Image: North Wales Police/PA Wire)

Long after he’d been locked up for life for murder, evil Russell Marsh still tried to control his four children from behind bars. He contacted the parents of his murdered partner for pictures and school reports, and was able to request their medical details. He could even block them getting therapy and travelling abroad.

This is now no longer possible thanks to a new law that’s become the legacy of murdered Flintshire mum Jade Ward. The creation of Jade’s Law means parents who kill their partners will lose their parental rights as soon as they are sentenced.

In August 2021, Marsh, 29, snuck into Jade’s home while their four sons were sleeping before stabbing and strangling her in August 2021. After carrying out his horrific attack Marsh then hid the body under a pile of clothes for the police to find at her home in Shotton, Deeside.

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A court at the time heard 27-year-old Ms Ward had been “moving on with her life” after splitting from her estranged partner, reports WalesOnline. Her brave family applauded as the judge jailed Marsh for life with a minimum term of 25 years.

Jade’s Law, passed as part of the Victims and Prisoners Bill, successfully passed through Parliament as one of the last rulings before its dissolution for the upcoming General Election. It will spare the guardians of the children left behind the ordeal of facing the perpetrator in court each time they want to make a decision about the children, from changing doctors to going on holiday.

Jade’s parents Karen Robinson and Paul Ward, and family friend Edwin Duggan, had long campaigned for Jade’s Law. So too had Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami, who said he was “ecstatic” the campaign had finally succeeded.

He said everyone had worked “selflessly and tirelessly for this moment”. He added: “I’m disappointed for them that Jade’s Law won’t apply retrospectively, but I hope that they will be proud of what they have achieved so that families like them will not have to suffer in the way that they have.

"This is a momentous achievement, and a fitting and lasting tribute to a wonderful and much-loved person.” The North Wales Live Whatsapp community for top stories and breaking news is live now - here’s how to sign up

Russell Marsh was jailed for a minimum of 25 years for the murder of Jade Ward a week after she ended their relationship
Russell Marsh was jailed for a minimum of 25 years for the murder of Jade Ward a week after she ended their relationship -Credit:North Wales Police/PA Wire

How will Jade’s Law work?

The new rules create an automatic suspension of parental responsibility from a person who is convicted of the murder or voluntary manslaughter of a person with whom they share parental responsibility. A mother or father who kills the other parent will no longer be able to expect to continue to have responsibility for the children they shared from behind bars.

This will make sure that children are protected from their remaining parent having any say in their life – from going on holiday abroad to which school they will attend. Sign up for the North Wales Live newsletter sent twice daily to your inbox

The needs of the child will be put first and the burden on the family members to apply to the family court will be removed. This will ensure they can focus on looking after and protecting the child.

The court would still consider the best interests of the child through a rapid and robust review stage and a right to apply to have the suspension lifted. There will be an exemption in cases where domestic abuse victims kill their abusers.

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