Domestic violence is said to account for 40 per cent of all female homicide victims in England and Wales. The other frequently reported statistic is that two women are killed by a male partner or ex-partner every week (from the Home Office analysis carried out in relation to the financial year 2003/4).
But how does this compare to London? We decided to look at the homicide cases in the capital during 2011 to see how they compare to the quoted statistics.
In summary, 26 out of out of the 117 homicide victims (22.2 per cent) in our database for last year were female. Fourteen of those 26 (57.7 per cent) were women killed by their husband, partner or ex-partner. In six of the 14 cases there was a definite history of domestic violence in the relationship, and in a seventh the suspect was on bail as a result of a previous incident.
Two of the 14 are commonly referred to as ‘murder-suicides’ where the killer committed suicide before they could be arrested.
Here is a list of the victims we’ve identified (click the link to read the case summary):
January 1: Jitka Nahodilova, 27, stabbed to death by her partner, who committed suicide.
February 2: Lorna Smith, 45, stabbed / suffocated by her ex-boyfriend.
April 20: Zandra Maxwell-Nelson, 24, stabbed to death by her estranged husband.
April 26: Lucinda Port, 29, stabbed to death by her partner, who committed suicide. Previous involvement of police.
June 20: Sarwat Malik, 60, stabbed to death by her husband.
July 5: Mumtahina Jannat, 29, strangled by her husband. History of domestic violence.
September 12: Sashana Roberts, 24, stabbed to death by her ex-partner. History of domestic violence.
September 26: Charito Cruz, 37, battered to death by her partner (suspect awaiting trial)
October 8: Gaynor Brockwell, 46, strangled by her husband.
November 11: Amina Adan, 32, beaten and stabbed to death by her partner. History of domestic violence.
November 19: Carmel Charles, 20, stabbed to death, believed to be domestic (the suspect is awaiting trial).
December 20: Jasmin Chowdhury, 33, beaten to death by her husband. History of domestic violence.
December 23: Desirie Thomas, 35, stabbed to death by her husband. History of domestic violence.
December 25: Ruby Love, 23, strangled by her partner and dumped in a canal. History of domestic violence.
But not every case is clear cut – for example Fiza Asif, 27, was murdered by her brother-in-law on January 4. Her husband was charged with murder but was acquitted.
Only one case out of 117 involves a male victim being killed by their female partner: Winston Sinclair, 73, fatally stabbed by his wife on January 16.
Additionally there is the case of Mohammed Zillur-Rahman, stabbed to death by his stepson – who claimed the victim was violent towards him and his mother.
In one or two other cases the nature of the relationship between victim and killer is unclear (see for example Siobahn Kelly).
We have not included cases of homicide involving relatives, even though they occurred in a domestic setting.
In our next blog we will look at the cases for 2008, 2009 and 2010 and see how they compare.
Note: Earlier this week the Metropolitan Police launched an operation targeting ‘domestic abusers’.