Gallery: Diary of battered woman's sister to be published

By MAGGIE GIBSON A DIARY kept by the sister of a March woman who was battered to death and buried in the garden of the family home in Norwood Road is to be made into a book. Claire Oldfield-Hampson was killed with a hammer 12 years ago by her husband, Dav

By MAGGIE GIBSON

A DIARY kept by the sister of a March woman who was battered to death and buried in the garden of the family home in Norwood Road is to be made into a book.

Claire Oldfield-Hampson was killed with a hammer 12 years ago by her husband, David Hampson.

Her sister, Joanne Bryce, said: "I want to make sure my sister's story is heard. She was just an ordinary woman."


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Mr Hampson was found guilty of manslaughter with diminished responsibility, and sentenced to six years, later reduced to four on appeal.

He claimed he was suffering from depression because of his wife's nagging and said he was provoked to kill her.

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Mrs Bryce, who lives in Cornwall, began keeping a diary from the day she realised her sister was missing. She has commissioned a ghost writer to tell the story of the ordeal endured by her family and their subsequent fight for justice.

For two years after her death Mr Hampson pretended his wife was alive and claimed benefits on her behalf. He even forged her writing on family greetings cards.

Mrs Bryce and other family members have welcomed recently announced law reforms ending the use of the defence of provocation. The defence enabled some defendants to be found guilty of manslaughter rather than have a murder conviction.

The foreword to the book will be written by M P Andrew George who has campaigned for justice for victims on behalf of the family.

Mrs Bryce and her husband, Alex, began campaigning 10 years ago for victims and their families. They believe there should be more support for them and the victim is often not properly defended.

She said: "The trial lasted an hour and basically concluded it was Claire's fault she got killed because of her nagging. No-one spoke to defend Claire. We couldn't believe it."

Mrs Bryce believes families should be allowed to challenge how relatives are portrayed in trials and was very unhappy at the way her sister was painted as the nagging wife.

It is believed the Hampson's daughter, Felicity, was returned to her father's custody and the Bryces also believe that was wrong.

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