People who kill their partners no longer have parental rights after Welsh dad tried to control kids from behind bars

Jade Ward
-Credit: (Image: PA)


People who kill their partners can no longer have parental rights thanks to a new law brought about by the legacy of murdered Welsh mum Jade Ward. Russell Marsh, 29, snuck into Jade Ward's home while their four sons were sleeping before stabbing and strangling her in August 2021.

A court at the time heard 27-year-old Ms Ward had been "moving on with her life" after splitting from Marsh. After carrying out his horrific attack Marsh then hid the mum-of-four's body under a pile of clothes for the police to find at her home in Shotton, Flintshire. The judge sentencing him told him he carried out a "savage and merciless attack" simply because his estranged wife wanted to move on. Her brave family applauded as the judge jailed Marsh for life with a minimum term of 25 years.

Before her death Ms Ward and Marsh had separated on three occasions but broke up for good in the summer of 2021 following a nine-year relationship. She was described as a "lovely, bubbly, and popular girl" in tributes after her death. Ms Ward's brother Kyle Robinson told the court his sister "always saw the good in people" which was what led to her death.

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Mr Robinson, describing the murder as "senseless", added: "We long to hear her voice, see her active on social media. Just any sign that will make this awful nightmare less of a reality. A mum shouldn't die before having raised her children. He believed he had the right, the entitlement, to take her away from the world."

Despite his life sentence, Marsh was still able to have an input in his children's lives from behind bars. Until today he was able to request school reports and medical details of his children and could even block them getting therapy and travelling abroad despite being found guilty of murdering their mother. It is understood Marsh contacted the Wards for pictures of the couple’s children and their school reports.

However, on May 24, 2024, 'Jade's Law' which suspends the parental rights of a parent who kills the other, successfully passed through parliament in one of the last rulings before its dissolution for the upcoming general election.

Russell Norman James Marsh leaving Mold courts after being charged with the murder of Jade Ward -Credit:© Andrew Price / View Finder Pictures
Russell Norman James Marsh leaving Mold courts after being charged with the murder of Jade Ward -Credit:© Andrew Price / View Finder Pictures

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. Join our WhatsApp news community here for the latest breaking news

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 meaning that 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.

Jade's parents Karen Robinson and Paul Ward along with family friend Edwin Duggan and Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami have long campaigned for Jade's Law to be passed in parliament. Speaking after the new law was confirmed MP Mark Tami said: "I'm ecstatic that parliament has succeeded in passing the Victims and Prisoners Bill today, particularly Jade's Law.

"Jade's parents Karen Robinson and Paul Ward, along with Eddie Duggan and the rest of Jade's family and friends, have worked selflessly and tirelessly for this moment and deserve every praise.

"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."

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