Andrew Parsons has been found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for the brutal murder of his wife Janee Parsons. Andrew murdered his wife in front of their young son. The murder was captured on a dictation machine that Andrew had hidden under Janee’s bed to spy on her. He stalked his wife and then he murdered Janee.
Janee’s crime: having an affair and ending her marriage to Andrew. Andrew murdered Janee because she ended their relationship. Yet, the judge, Patrick Eccles, summation includes the following phrases:
“You were overwhelmed in my judgement by jealous rage.
“Nobody can predict the psychological harm which will be significant to your son.
“You were and no doubt are a good father, you will suffer for the rest of your life knowing the harm you have caused to them.”
Eccles has not only excused Andrew’s violence by labelling it “jealousy” and, therefore, abnormal, he has also chosen to claim that Andrew was a “good father”. Jealous men are not good fathers. Good fathers do not murder their former partners in front of their children. Any man who chooses to abuse or murder his (former) partner is not a “good” father. He is a violent man.
Andrew Parsons lawyer, who at least should be expected to engage in victim-blaming, claimed that Parsons was “clinically depressed” and under “extreme pressure”. Many people are clinically depressed and under extreme pressure and they do not murder their (former) partners.
Janee Parsons was brutally murdered by her former husband, yet the judge has implied that it is her fault for making Andrew jealous.
There are no excuses for violence.
Jealousy is used as an excuse to diminish men’s responsibility for their violence.
Jealousy is used as a way of blaming women for their brutal murder at the hands of violent current or former partners.
Janee Parsons was brutally murdered. Her son saw his mother being murdered. They are the victims of this crime; not Andrew.
Neil Ellerbeck murdered his wife Kate Ellerbeck on November 14th, 2008. Kate received 43 separate injuries in the attack before being strangled to death. Neil was sentenced to 8 years in prison for “manslaughter”. The jury cleared him of murder “on the basis of lack of intent to cause serious harm”; 43 separate injuries which lead to her death but it was still judged a “lack of intent to cause serious harm”. How did we get to a point where 43 separate injuries leading to death aren’t considered intent to cause serious harm?
Neil’s responsibility for the murder of Kate was minimised by the press in a myriad of ways, with their obsession over Kate’s affairs whilst simultaneously downplaying Neil’s own affair. The Telegraph and Daily Mail were both obsessed with how much money Neil earned as an investment banker, as if being a rich white man was more important than his status as a murderer. The very obvious signs of domestic violence were ignored and the quite clear indicator of Neil’s potential to physical violence downplayed. Neil was tracking his wife’s movements. He was recording her conversations. Jealously and controlling behaviour are obvious indicators of a propensity to violence, yet these were minimised in the media.
This is, apparently, part of the Judge’s statement at sentencing:
‘We have studied and dissected a marriage which was obviously in terminal decline. It should have ended in separation and divorce. Tragically it ended in death.
‘The jury have found that you did not intend to kill or cause really serious harm during the long eruption of violence which ended in her death.
‘You achieved a great deal in your life, but it is plain to me there was a darker side of your character – the secretive obsessively jealous husband who spied on his wife, invaded her privacy and contributed to the unhappiness in the final months and years of her life.
‘A husband who knew divorce was coming and would go to almost any length to prevent that from happening.
‘You squirreled money away intending to keep it from your wife. It was the darker side to your character that boiled over.
‘I am sure you intended some harm to your wife albeit not serious harm. I am sure your anger and frustration erupted that morning when it became clear your wife was serious about divorce and it was then you applied constant and deliberate pressure to her neck.’
Neil was sentenced to eight years for the murder of his wife. He served four before being released. He is now living in his former home with his two children. He murdered their mother and only spent 4 years in prison. He now has access to his million dollar home. He has custody of his children. A man who brutally murdered his wife because she asked for a divorce is now living in their former home with their children.
Because, murdering their mother in anger doesn’t constitute a significant risk to the children’s lives.
Because, a middle class white man who violently murdered a woman shouldn’t lose custody of his children.
Because, a middle class white man couldn’t possibly be a risk to his children. After all, no middle class white man has ever murdered his children.
Because, a middle class white man with a clear history of domestic violence against his partner couldn’t possibly be a risk to his children.
The facts that he has already abused the children by forcing them to live in the house where he was abusing their mother, that he has already committed child abuse by killing their mother, and the fact that he is continuing to abuse his children by forcing them to live in the house where he killed their mother with him are all, well, just irrelevant really.
Instead, he gets to move back into his expensive house and pretend that he hasn’t already destroyed the lives of his children.
Welcome to the Patriarchy: where women and children don’t matter.