Domestic violence is bad news and as we approach that annual attempt to shame all men and to insist that we are all evil it is sobering to realise that any human being can be abusive to their partner no matter what gender they are. It is also interesting to see that the sort of defence mounted by abused women who kill their abuser has been successful in down grading a murder charge brought against a man for the killing of his female abuser.
Dennis Long, 59, was cleared of murder and convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter on the grounds of provocation following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court.
Despite hating violence, he killed 60-year-old grandmother Judith Scott, the partner he had lived with for three decades, after years of abuse which included being beaten with a poker.
On the night in March that he snapped at their home in North Shields, North Tyneside, she had called him weak, ‘a pansy’, ‘a poof’ and told him she should wear the trousers and he should be in a dress.
He stabbed her in the arm and twice in the chest, and she died at the scene.
Immediately after the attack, he rang 999 and told the call handler: ‘I just lost it – she gave me grief so I knifed her.’
The killing followed Long telling Ms Scott he had been abused on the way home from the pub by a local bully but that he would not take it further with police.
During their relationship, she repeatedly beat him with an ornamental poker, nagged him and even broke his thumb, the court heard.
Sentencing, Judge John Milford told Long: ‘You are a placid, unassertive, rather weak man.’
He said the defendant was ‘full of genuine remorse’ and was a hard-working man of previous good character.
Domestic violence is about power and no one should be deluded into thinking that the roles in this far too often repeated tragedy are set and immutable. If we are ever going to remove this blight upon our society then we have to recognise that the roles of victim and perpetrator can each be played by both men and women. Public “awareness” campaigns should recognise this pertinent fact because if they don’t appreciate the true nature of the problem any solution that they advocate is bound to fail.