MP Gloria De Piero want ban on murderous spouses claiming assets

Gloria De Piero
Image caption MP Gloria De Piero met with a Nottinghamshire woman who told her she was stabbed 30 times

An MP has launched a campaign to stop spouses convicted of violence against their partners from getting money in divorce proceedings.

In Parliament, MP Gloria De Piero raised the case of a man who tried to murder his wife attempting to obtain more than £60,000 from the sale of their home.

The man is currently in prison after stabbing the woman more than 30 times.

Justice minister Lucy Frazer said she is happy to discuss the issue.

Ms De Piero, MP for Ashfield and a shadow justice minister, said it “defies belief” that a spouse convicted of attempted murder can make financial claims within a divorce settlement.

She asked Ms Frazer to look at changing the law in all but the “most exceptional of these cases”.

The minister said Ms De Piero had made “a very important point”, but pointed to existing legislation.

She said: “In the Matrimonial Causes Act it does say that the conduct of the parties in a divorce can be taken into account, and the distribution of assets, and if it would be inequitable to disregard it.”

‘Harrowing story’

Ms De Piero raised the issue after meeting a wife going through a divorce with her husband, who is currently in prison after pleading guilty to attempted murder.

He is trying to obtain more than £60,000 from the sale of their family home in Nottinghamshire.

Ms De Piero said: “She explained what happened to her, she’d been stabbed 30 times, moments away from death, a harrowing story, and then I nearly fell off my chair when she said he was entitled to half her house.

“You just assume if your partner has attempted to kill you, you have no entitlement over their assets.”

Sian Hawkins, head of campaigns at Women’s Aid, said within the legislation the assets of domestic abuse survivors should be protected.

She said: “They may end up killing their partner [in self-defence or protecting a child] and it’s important in those cases that any legislative change doesn’t impact on what’s rightfully theirs.”

Ms De Piero said there could be an exemption for spouses who kill in self-defence or to protect a child.

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