Parents of murdered nurse in organ anger

Upset: John and Penny Clough with a picture of their daughter Jane, who was murdered by Jonathan Vass
Upset: John and Penny Clough with a picture of their daughter Jane, who was murdered by Jonathan Vass

The parents of a nurse who was murdered in hospital car park today described how police told them they could not donate their daughter’s organs because her killer was entitled to a second post-mortem examination.

Since she was a teenager growing up in Whittle-le-Woods, tragic Jane Clough told her parents John and Penny that she wanted her organs to help others when she died.

But despite her strong wishes, police officers said the 26-year-old’s organs, tissue and other body parts could not be donated because murderer Jonathan Vass was entitled to another examination.

Now Lancashire’s top police officer has asked for a full investigation after Mrs Clough, an intensive care nurse, wrote to him demanding answers.

She said: “We said straight away that we wanted anything which could be donated to be donated. But the police came back to us very quickly and said she could not donate because of Vass’ right to a second post-mortem.

“That upset us greatly. It was not an issue that we dropped because I know as an intensive care nurse that you can donate parts of a body several days after death.”

Mrs Clough said she was told by a member of the hospital organ donation team that Jane could have donated after her death and after the second post-mortem examination.

She said not being allowed to follow their daughter’s wishes denied the couple the “comfort” of knowing she had helped others. Mrs Clough even rang police asking to speak to the officer who had told her donation would be impossible.

“I have spoken to the man himself and he admitted it was a lack of education. He thought because Jane was dead that was it,” she said.

“I wrote to (Chief Cons Steve Finnigan) two or three weeks ago just saying there should be a protocol in place to make sure this does not happen again. We are expecting answers and we are expecting protocol to be put in place so no other family has to go through what we have been through.

“We are not after vilification. We are after all the things that have gone wrong – the fact Vass was released on bail, the fact the rape charge was allowed to lie on the file – to be corrected and we are grateful to the police for taking this on board.”

Chief Con Finnigan has written back to the couple, expressing concern about the issue and promising an investigation. Mrs Clough also criticised Prime Minister David Cameron, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke and Minister for Women and Equalities Theresa May for failing to respond to their letters about the case.

Vass, 31, of Conway Drive, Fulwood, has been jailed for a minimum of 30 years.

A police spokesman said: “Jane Clough’s family have raised a number of issues with us and these issues are currently being investigated. We will respond to the family in due course.”