Clare’s Law campaigner Michael Brown dies aged 76 after winning battle for a woman’s ‘right to know’ about her partner’s violent past in the wake of his daughter’s murder by ex
- Michael Brown died at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield on Saturday
- He campaigned for law to allow people to find out if partner has a violent past
- Mr Brown’s daughter Clare Wood, 36, was killed by her ex-boyfriend in 2009
A man who campaigned for a woman’s ‘right to know’ about her partner’s violent past after his daughter was murdered by her ex-boyfriend has died aged 76.
Michael Brown died at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield on Saturday following a short and sudden illness.
Mr Brown, a former prison officer, had campaigned for the introduction of ‘Clare’s Law’ – named after his daughter, Clare Wood – which allows people to find out if their partner has a history of domestic violence.
Mother-of-one Miss Wood, 36, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton in 2009.
After lobbying politicians and the media, Mr Brown said he was ‘quietly delighted’ when Clare’s Law, or the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), came into force in England and Wales in March 2014.
Michael Brown (pictured) died at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield on Saturday following a short and sudden illness
It was introduced in Scotland in 2016 and Northern Ireland in 2018. It is also being trialled in Australia and Canada.
The scheme enables victims and potential victims to obtain information about a partner’s previous convictions, enabling them to make an informed decision about the relationship.
Mr Brown’s sister, Carol Whicher, said: ‘Michael never stopped fighting after he lost his daughter Clare in such horrific circumstances.
Clare Wood, 36, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton in 2009
‘He didn’t want anyone else to suffer the same fate she did and always said if he could save just one person from a life of domestic abuse then his campaigning had been worth it.’
Earlier this year, Mr Brown, from South Elmsall in West Yorkshire, received a British Citizenship award. He was also patron of Endeavour, a domestic violence charity in Bolton, Greater Manchester.
Ms Wood was strangled and set on fire by a man who became known as the ‘Facebook fugitive’.
Just 72 hours earlier, he was freed by police who dismissed him as a ‘quiet, mild mannered man’.
Ms Wood was initially charmed by Appleton’s persona after meeting him on Facebook, but his violent side soon surfaced and he subjected her to a string of sexual assaults.
After they split he strangled her and set on fire in Salford in February 2009. When he went on the run he was quickly dubbed the ‘Facebook Fugitive’.
In the days after her murder, detectives issued a warning that her ex-boyfriend might attempt to communicate with other women via the internet.
Unbeknown to Miss Wood, Appleton, from Salford, had a history of violence towards women.
Six days after Ms Wood’s body was found, Appleton was discovered hanged in a derelict pub.
Ms Wood had first called police in October 2008 after he damaged her front door, threatened her with an iron and threatened to kill her.
On another occasion when Miss Wood dialled 999, police delayed their response 26 times – claiming there were no patrols available. An officer finally turned up more than 24 hours later.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission later ruled she had been badly let down by police.
Miss Wood’s family’s campaign was also taken up at the time by Salford and Eccles Labour MP Hazel Blears and backed by police and then-home secretary Theresa May, who agreed to run the pilot.
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