Died by Suicide December 2011

Claire Warrener (20) killed herself in December 2011. Just a few months earlier she had disclosed repeated rape and sexual abuse by her father, which had started when she was 13. Shortly before her suicide, Ms Warrener sent a text to a loved one saying she could not cope because of what her father had done to her.

In May 2012 at Newcastle Crown Court, Michael Warrener (59) was jailed for 19 years and told that he is largely to blame for Ms Warrener’s suicide.

Warrener, of Twickenham Road, Sunderland, had denied one charge of indecent assault and three of rape but was found guilty. The court had heard how Warrener repeatedly abused Claire Warrener from the age of around 13.

The lengthy, harrowing statement Ms Warrener made when she reported her abuse to the police was used as evidence against her father during the trial.

Judge John Milford told Warrener: “I am satisfied you are, at least in part, responsible for her death. She had made a victim impact statement speaking of the considerable impact the offences had made upon her. Though other factors may have played a part in the decision she took to end her life, she sent a text saying she could not cope any longer because of what you had done to her. This was a gross breach of trust causing great harm. You have demonstrated no remorse.”

Ms Warrener’s family were in court to see her father jailed. Speaking after the hearing, a spokesperson for her family said: “The most important part of all this is we got justice for Claire. We hope he rots in hell. We have always said Claire did what she did because of the abuse he put her through, now the judge has publicly said that that was in fact one of the reasons for her taking her own life. Even though 19 years sounds like a long time, for us, no sentence could be long enough. As a family we have got a life sentence because of what he did, we will never get Claire back even after he has served the 19 years.”

Prosecutor Penny Moreland told the court how Claire, whose parents had split up, was living with her father when the abuse started.

Ms Moreland said: “He came to her bedroom when she was asleep.” After the first incident of abuse, which happened when Warrener’s then girlfriend had left him, the abuse became progressively worse until, Ms Moreland said, he was sexually abusing her “about three or four times per week.“

The court heard it wasn’t until 2010 that Ms Warrener felt able to report her father for what he had done. Ms Moreland said: ‘She told the police and on March 13 she made her statement.”

Warrener denied the allegations. Ms Moreland said: “He said she might be making the allegation up because he had accused her three weeks earlier of stealing money from him.”

Warrener was also found guilty of indecent assaults on two other child victims.

Note: This report was drawn from reports in the Mail Online.

FOD Note: For Our Daughters has supported Southall Black Sisters (SBS) campaign for a new homicide law of “suicide aggravated by harassment or violence”. Extrapolating from Home Office figures, SBS estimate that 10 women kill themselves every week after repeated abuse.

There is no law in Britain against encouraging suicide without physical help. Only coroner’s courts can compel investigations into suicides and prosecutions are rare. In an article in the Guardian of 2oth March 2012, Pragna Patel of SBS said: “At best, convoluted efforts are being made to hold perpetrators of violent or abusive conduct to account when a suicide results. At worst, such deaths are not properly investigated at all. In our experience, in the face of violence or abuse, many women feel that they have no option but to self-harm or kill themselves. This state of affairs is especially disturbing in the context of a complete absence of any … effective criminal prosecutions of perpetrators of abuse who are demonstrably culpable in causing a woman or vulnerable person to commit suicide.”

Jean Calder (28th May 2012).

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