Femicide – 125 women killed by men March 2021 – 2022
See the full list and pictures HERE
Telegraph (03.03.2022) – https://bit.ly/3s0VHbq – Some of their faces are familiar, but dozens more we are seeing for the first time.
Their names are barely known, except to families and friends. But two other women and a teenage girl were killed by men in the same week that Sarah Everard’s murder shook the country to its core a year ago. Four murders of women in such a short space of time is unusual – it tends to be between two and three per week – but it is a stark reminder of how many of their deaths go unremarked.
Around 125 women have been killed by men since March last year. The figure is not definitive because the perpetrator has yet to be identified in some cases. But we know that the victims ranged in age from 16 to 88. Most were attacked by someone known to them and many died in their own homes, challenging the notion that the streets are the most dangerous place for women.
Some of their faces are familiar, such as Sabina Nessa, the 28-year-old primary school teacher attacked while walking through a London park to meet a friend; Julia James, 53, a PCSO killed while walking her dog; teenager Bobbi-Anne McLeod, who went missing from a bus stop and was found dead on a Devon beach in November last year.
Dozens more – some of whom are pictured above, all of whom are named below – we are seeing for the first time.
The figure is substantially higher than in 2020, when the annual Femicide Census recorded 110 women killed, but similar to the 128 recorded in 2019. Despite all the assurances by police and government ministers that they are determined to protect women, the number killed by men has never fallen below two a week.
The list shatters some myths, demonstrating that stranger-killings like that of Sarah Everard are comparatively rare. The largest number of women are killed by current or former partners, while the next most significant group is mothers killed by sons; anyone who thinks that matricide is a rare event, confined to Greek tragedy, should think again. Sexually motivated murders are third on the list.
The popular notion that women in their 20s and 30s are most at risk is quite wrong, confirming the urgent need to make tackling violence against older women a priority.
Of the women killed over the last 12 months, 11 were in their 70s, another nine were 80 or older and 14 were in their 60s. That’s over a quarter of the total. There is a peculiar horror about these fatal attacks on older women, some of them carried out by men they gave birth to and raised.
In April last year, a DJ strangled his mother, 85-year-old Loretta Herman, in their east London home. Mark Herman, 54, later killed himself in a secure mental health facility. It is one of many cases in which there were warning signs: Herman, who had been unable to work because of Covid, had previously attempted suicide and attacked his mother.
It followed a horrendous murder-suicide the previous month in Northern Ireland. Karen McClean, 50, was stabbed to death by her son, Ken Flanagan, 26, who went on to kill his girlfriend, Stacey Knell, 30, and himself. Friends of the family, who lived in Northern Ireland, said Ms McClean had been worried that her son was using drugs and might hurt himself or someone else. Ms Knell’s previous partner, who had a child with her, had contacted police and social services the day before the double murder.
There is a repeated sense of the police letting women down. One of those failed was Yasmin Chkaifi, 43, who was killed in January, in Maida Vale, by her ex-husband. There was an arrest warrant out for Leon McCaskie, who had been accused of breaching an interim stalking protection order and failed to appear in court, when he stabbed his former partner on the street. Friends told how Yasmin had previously predicted that she would die at her ex-husband’s hands. Her son, Zayd Bakkali, has since said he will “never fully trust” the police again.
A look at figures from the Femicide Census in recent years shows that the number of women confirmed to have been killed by a man they know hovers between the 60-65 per cent mark each year (that number is likely higher, but the killer has not been caught).
That was the case for the youngest victim last year: 16-year-old Wenjing Ling. She was killed two days after Sarah Everard, strangled at her family’s Chinese takeaway in Wales. The murder was carried out by a friend, Chun Xu, 32, who had gambling debts and owed money to the family. In November last year, Xu was jailed for a minimum of 30 years for the murder. He was also convicted of the attempted murder of Wenjing’s stepfather.
Three days earlier, Samantha Heap, 45, was found dead in a flat in Congleton, Cheshire. Her neighbour, David Mottram, 47, strangled, stabbed and inflicted multiple blunt force injuries on her. Mottram boasted that he killed Ms Heap “because he didn’t like her”. He was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 30 years.
Another woman was killed on the day following Ms Everard’s murder. Geetika Goyal, 29, met a hideous death at the hands of her husband, Kashish Aggarwal, 28. Ms Goyal’s body was found with 19 stab wounds, wrapped in plastic and dumped in a street in Leicester. Aggarwal told her family she had gone missing but later admitted murder, and was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years and six months in prison.
What’s striking about these murders is that the men received long prison sentences, but too late to help their victims. Around three-fifths of men who kill women known are found guilty of murder or manslaughter, a relatively high proportion, but they are clearly not deterred by the prospect of spending decades in prison.
A chilling feature is the prevalence of “over-killing”, where the perpetrator uses far more force than was needed. These are men who refuse to control their rage towards the women in their lives – and their prior behaviour offers ample warnings. In the decade after the Femicide Census was founded in 2009, a history of domestic abuse featured in 59 per cent of killings committed by current or former partners.
During the outcry that followed Sarah Everard’s murder, many people expressed the hope that it would be a turning point. We now have 125 reasons to doubt that aspiration.
It is in part a consequence of an under-funded criminal justice system, but it is also a question of priorities. Women who report abuse or threats to kill still don’t get the advice and protection they need, and police have been slow to use measures such as domestic violence prevention orders. The failures are so egregious that there appears to be an unspoken assumption that a certain level of fatalities is inevitable.
The agonies these women went through – stabbed, strangled, bludgeoned, raped, even set on fire – are almost unbearable to contemplate. Like Sarah Everard, they all had a right to life, but every single one was let down.
Photo credits: Paul Grover for the Telegraph