Devastated parents Karen Robinson and Paul Ward have endured years of agony at the hands of their daughter’s killer.
They watched helplessly as the evil Russell Marsh controlled their daughter Jade.
And a week after she left him, the animal murdered her while her four sons slept in the next room.
Just as the family began to piece together the remnants of their broken lives, the ailing Marsh began exploiting a loophole in the law to control Jade’s children behind bars.
Killers retain parental rights over their children and can take families to court by demanding school reports, pictures and medical records. You can even block passes.
Today, closing that gap is one step closer after The Sun backed the family’s campaign.
Attorney General Alex Chalk backed our request, giving the strongest signal yet that the law will change.
Last night Jade’s father Paul said: “We are overwhelmed by this news. We are very honored.
“Jade would have been so proud. We just don’t want other families to have to go through what we went through.
“We are so grateful to The Sun for their dedication.”
The family has been to hell and back since Marsh brutally killed Jade at her mother Karen’s home in Shotton, Flintshire in August 2021.
After lying for hours in the courtroom while her daughter Jade’s jealous ex tried to deny the murder, Karen, 52, will never forget the sight of her daughter’s bloodied feet.
“I couldn’t hold her hand or caress her cheek”
Fighting back tears, she says, “Jade’s injuries were shown to the jury and were heavily pixelated, but in one photograph I could see the undersides of her feet where she had run through her own blood.” That really touched me.”
Marsh was sentenced to 25 years in prison but retained parental rights over the couple’s four boys and demanded that Jade’s family provide up-to-date pictures and school attendance records.
Musicians Paul, 56, and Karen, 52, said Marsh “hung over our lives like a specter.”
Karen knows her 27-year-old daughter suffered a horrific, brutal death when Marsh slashed, stabbed and strangled her. But nearly two years later, she’s still trying to convince herself that her daughter was knocked out in the attack.
She says: “The boys heard three bangs from their mother’s room and Jade didn’t have many defensive wounds so I try to convince myself that she was knocked out from a lot of the attacks.
“But I know the reality. She was being held by March and must have been very scared.
“She used to have nightmares about being stabbed and leaving her children behind. Marsh knew that was her worst fear. Her last thoughts were of her boys, who meant everything to her.”
Karen and Paul have revealed how Marsh, now 30, caused even more pain to the family by requesting a second autopsy on Jade, delaying her funeral by five weeks and denying them the opportunity to hold their daughter one last time to keep.
Karen says, “At first we weren’t allowed to touch her body because of police regulations, and then Marsh requested a second autopsy.
“Nature took its course and the undertaker told us that we couldn’t wash Jade’s hair, put on her makeup or even dress her in her own clothes because she was so fragile.
“I couldn’t hold her hand – Jade had beautiful hands – and caress her cheek and tell her it’s okay because ‘Mom is here now’.
“We just wanted to pick her up and bring her home. Marsh stopped me from hugging my little girl for the last time.
“A few days after Jade’s death, we were told he still had full parental rights and we were speechless.
“My daughter has lost her rights. He made sure that her rights to these boys were taken away from her, so it’s hard to understand why he can sit in a jail cell and still pull the strings.
“He can’t control Jade anymore, so he wants to control the boys and their family.”
Jade’s four children live with relatives who would like to take them on holiday to Gran Canaria to help them deal with their trauma, but Karen claims Marsh is reluctant to sign their passports. He controlled Jade throughout their ten-year relationship, which began when Jade accidentally got pregnant at 16.
Her father Paul says: “They had only started dating a few weeks after meeting at a party before they split and Jade didn’t want to tell him about the pregnancy because he’s been acting strange since she terminated the pregnancy had. ”
Karen adds, “He made Jade creepy for driving up and down our street for hours. Finally she told me to tell him never to knock on the door again.
“But after having her first child, she felt different and called Marsh to tell him he was a dad and they got together.”
Both Karen and Paul said they thought Marsh was a “strange, weird” character who “didn’t like our family because he thought we were mean,” but said they didn’t notice any signs of coherent control until that Couple married in March 2019.
Paul recalls, “Jade didn’t even look happy on their wedding day. I don’t think she wanted to get married.
“It was put on her because Marsh told the kids mom and dad were getting married before asking Jade. The kids were excited and she wouldn’t have let them down because they were her life.
“I remember Marsh turning to Jade after the ceremony and saying, ‘Now you’re mine.’ That means something different now.”
Karen’s first big red flag came when her daughter revealed that the power plant worker Marsh pretended to go to work one day, but Jade found him hiding behind the curtains at home. Karen says, “Looking back, Marsh was in control from the start, buying jade clothes and jewelry that she never wanted and didn’t like. I think he wanted to make her something she wasn’t.
“Children have lost one mother in a million”
“When she told me he was hiding behind the curtains, I got concerned and asked her if she thought the boys were safe. She said he would never harm the boys, but then turned her back on me and went into the kitchen.
“I wish I had followed her and asked her what she meant by that.”
Jade and Marsh had broken up several times before her murder, which the trial judge described as “wild and merciless.” The night she was killed, Jade was staying at her mother’s house while Karen was taking care of her elderly mother.
Marsh was supposed to be at work but slipped away by telling his employers that his brother was in the hospital after a heroin overdose.
As three of Jade’s friends left the house, Marsh gained access to a key he copied and attacked Jade in the closet while her children slept in the room next door. He covered her body with piles of clothes.
Karen recalls: “That same night I was walking Mom’s dog, I passed the house and I heard Jade laughing. I thought, “I haven’t heard that laugh in a long time.”
“I came over and Jade held out her arms and said, ‘I’m free.’ she was so happy The next day I was at my mother’s when the phone rang and a friend told me that there were a lot of police outside my house, which was only a few blocks away.
“I was walking straight around and as I got closer I heard a scream and thought, ‘That sounds like my sister Laverne.'”
“As I turned the corner, Laverne saw me and fell to the ground. I just knew then.”
In court, Jade’s family was taunted by Marsh when he offered a bizarre array of excuses for the murder, including claims she died in a sex game gone wrong.
Two of her four young children, all under the age of ten at the time, had to testify.
Now they have to make their way to family court hearings every time Marsh demands details about his children.
Karen said: “It’s just all so wrong. We were told that relatives caring for the boys could apply for special guardianship, giving them more autonomy over the children, but this means Marsh could contact us directly and we don’t want letters or contact with him.
“Every day I look at these boys and think: how could anyone deny them a mother and father?
“They lost one mother in a million and she’s all they talk about. When we look at Jade’s grave we sit and talk about her and they blow her kisses. They never ask about Marsh.
“To us, he has had no rights as a parent since the day he killed our daughter.”