Call For Law Change To Prevent Abusive Partners From Inheriting Victims’ Estates

Should somebody guilty of domestic abuse, be allowed to inherit the estate of a spouse who has taken their own life, a person guilty of manslaughter or murder is already prevented from inheriting their victims' estate by what's known as the forfeiture rule. Today, one man whose mother took her own life after suffering, domestic violence, met the prime minister to press the case for extending the law to cover such cases. Tom guitar's campaign had been raised in parliament by the labor mp, Florence. Eschalomi does the prime minister agree with me that convicted domestic abusers should never be able to profit from the crimes of their victims, and will he meet with my constituent and me to fix this hole in the law? Yeah, uh. Mr speaker.

She describes a truly tragic and appalling case, and I'm sure the whole house will share the uh revulsion that sh that she's expressed at the outcome of the laws processes. I think we will certainly, uh need to have a meeting in order to see what we can. Do to address, uh, this loophole. Well, after that meeting at number 10 took place I caught up with tom guitar and his mp to find out how it went and hear about how his mother Roma. A former NHS GP took her own life in what the coroner concluded was anxiety precipitated by a domestic violence incident, my stepdad, despite having been found guilty of domestic violence, despite the inquest into my mum's death, linking his violence to her death. And despite the fact that she even tried to change her will. Despite all those things he's inherited her entire estate, her house, her savings her pension and my brother, and I who have done nothing wrong, um, haven't inherited anything.

When you say, the inquest, linked her death to what had happened. What did it say, uh? So the coroner's ruling was she took her own life while suffering anxiety precipitated by a domestic violence incident. So that's, very clear, it's, very clear. So what do you want to happen?

Well, I just think it's, such an obvious injustice. And there is. A principle in law already, if you've murdered someone, or if you've committed manslaughter, you can't then benefit from that person's estate that should be extended to include instances where someone's committed a serious act of violence that hasn't directly killed them.

But has had such serious consequences for mental health, uh that they've ended up taking their own life. I think it's, I think it's common sense. I don't think it's, complicated so Florence. You took this up with the prime minister in. Prime minister's questions, first, and he appears quite amenable to talking about it. What was the meeting like just now prime minister was open and supported us in our move to look at how we change this big loophole in this law.

And I think the key thing is there is that direct link. And this is another kick in the teeth for domestic abuse victims, where that injustice continues. And if we are really serious about addressing domestic abuse and domestic violence, we have to look at. The small loophole, which unfortunately exists since I raised this with the prime minister I've been contacted by so many other people. So the true scale of this is still unknown.

And what I'd want to do with the prime minister's, help is look at how we change that law. I mean, tom, this has been a sort of, uh, a gradual process for you. And this is the first time you're actually identifying yourself as the person affected by this. I mean, what's that process been like for you, I've gone through lots. Of emotions, I've been obviously really, really sad. I've been incredibly angry.

And I mean, I think I still got that anger, and I'm also just shocked I'm shocked that the law would have this outcome. And I really don't think it's, intentional, I don't think anyone's written the law with this outcome in mind. I think it's just it's just not quite sufficient.

It needs to be updated, and I really hope the prime minister can see that he seemed. He did seem receptive. Can I just put you? I mean, if your stepfather. Were to say, look that french conviction, um is meaningless. It was a complicated foreign court.

Um it's, not it's, not a fair finding. What would that sort of cut away your grounds? I don't think, so you know, you know what I'm I'm sure he believes that I think it's too difficult to believe otherwise I'm sure he thinks that he's been stitched up by the court, or at least that his actions, weren't, uh, directly contributing to the death. But a court is impartial.

You've got a judge who's made this finding. It's pretty clear, and I suppose tom in your mother's case had she not been in her mental health crisis. I suppose she might have ensured that her attempts to change her own will have been the right ones. Yeah, for sure in the months immediately, following the violence she was quite she was quite lucid, and she seemed okay. And she set in place a load of processing, and she did try to change her will she even started to look into divorce proceedings, but like Florence says, the law doesn't take into. Account the severe impact that domestic violence can have on mental illness.

Did you come out of that meeting with Boris Johnson? Hopefully yeah, a bit. I mean, the fact that we got a meeting with him got is given me a lot of hope because it's not easy. And he gave us 30 minutes to talk about it all I'm, hoping that the prime minister, the prime minister was visibly moved by Tom's story. And like I said, this isn't just about tom and his family, many other victims, right across the country, and I'm, hoping. That the prime minister will help us in, you know, making good on his commitment to update the law Florence of shalom. Tom Goodall, thank you very much.

Well, despite offering him a chance to comment the man referred to in our discussion offered no response.

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