Family court judge 'shocked' over 'abused' mum's death

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Two children (stock image)Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The woman had been involved in a family court case over her ex-partner's access to their children (stock image)

A judge has told of her shock after a "serious domestic abuse" victim involved in a long-running family court case died following a suicide attempt.

The mother tried to kill herself three days before it was decided her ex-partner should not have contact with their two children.

She died in February 2019 - five days after Judge Joanna Vincent's ruling.

The Oxford-based judge said the death was "distressing" and she regretted the case had "taken so long".

She said it had "evidently" been "so difficult" for the woman to cope with.

Judge Vincent's comments came following her latest ruling that the children should now live with friends of the mother.

The court heard the private litigation started in 2017 when the man applied to see his children.

During a "fact-finding hearing" in February 2018 a different judge concluded the man had raped the woman, and put CCTV in their house to record everything.

In January last year Judge Vincent considered the man's application and reserved her ruling because she had a backlog of cases.

The woman attempted to take her own life three days before the judge ruled the father should have no contact on 1 February 2019.

The mother was admitted to intensive care, and died on 6 February.

Judge Vincent added: "I have worried that, rather than bringing about some resolution and peace for the parties, my judgment or the way in which it was sent out might have been a source of greater anxiety.

"I extend my deepest sympathy to the mother's children, extended family and friends for their loss, which I know is still keenly felt by all."

The court made a ruling the family cannot be identified.

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