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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Olivia Williams

People have right to know if their partner has history of domestic abuse

A little known law can help people find out if their partner may pose a risk to them.

Under Clare's Law, or the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS), any members of the public can make a request to police to see if your partner has a history of domestic abuse if someone suspects this. People can also make this request if they suspect someone they care about is also in an abusive relationship.

If police checks show the person has a record of abusive offences, or suggest a risk of violence or abuse, the police will consider sharing this information. If officers do share this information it will usually be because the person is at risk.

READ MORE: Body found on busy road in middle of the night

The law was named after Clare Wood, from Salford, who was murdered by her former partner George Appleton who police knew to be dangerous. People can make an application by visiting their local police station or calling 101.

When an application, the police will assess if the person named is a risk to their partner based on previous violence or abuse convictions. If the subject poses a risk of causing harm this information may be given to the person at risk.

The subject will also not know they are being checked out, unless the police need to give someone information to keep someone safe which is called a disclosure. If a disclosure does take place the subject may be informed that someone is going to receive a disclosure about them.

Just recently in Merseyside, Emma Walsh was found guilty of murder after she fatally stabbed her boyfriend Gary Morgan in the heart after a night in the pub in Everton of April 10 this year. She was sentenced for life with a minimum term of 18 years at Liverpool Crown Court on Monday, October 17.

Sentencing, the Honorary Recorder of Liverpool Judge Andrew Menary KC said: "You and he had been in a relationship for about a year before that fatal night. It began well enough, and there will have been good times.

"But for much of its existence it was a tempestuous relationship marked by frequent, unpleasant arguments. I have no doubt that many of these were the result of your extreme, irrational jealousy and your consequent desire to dominate Gary Morgan's life and to restrict his movements."

Judge Menary described Mr Morgan as a "kind, quiet and considerate man" who was "loved by all", adding: “You were making his life an utter misery. For little or no reason, but typically when you were drunk, your temper explodes and Gary Morgan was often on the receiving end.

"The reality is that Gary Morgan posed no threat to you at all that night. It is a tragic irony that so many members of his family, and Gary Morgan himself, predicted that if he stayed with you - a woman he so obviously loved - you would end up killing him.

"You knew full well that you had an explosive temper and were prone to using implements to cause harm. There had been plenty of warnings in the past, but you were unwilling or unable to change."

In evidence at the trial two former partners of Walsh's also described "very similar violence" she carried out on them. However, Judge Menary KC said he was not sentencing Walsh for what she did to her two former partners, but it reinforced how Gary was a victim of domestic violence and she "alone, or to a very substantial degree" was the "violently controlling partner".

The judge added: "I have no difficulty in concluding that you behaved in this way based on the evidence the jury heard, including the evidence from two former partners who described very similar violence. I emphasise, I am not sentencing you for what you have done to two formers partners in the past.

"These events might be very relevant to the assessment of the risk you pose to the public in the future, but I have regard to them only to the extent that they reinforce my view that - contrary to the lies you told in the trial - Gary Morgan was undoubtedly the victim of domestic violence and you alone, or to a very substantial degree, were the violently controlling partner. Whatever happened in Boaler Street in February 2022, it was behaviour out of character for Gary Morgan, and there is no evidence that you suffered any significant injury in this incident."

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