Clift family: ‘Domestic abuse made life a living hell for us’

The daughter of Mavis Clift has said it has been “painful” to hear more could have been done to stop the threat her estranged husband posed to her.

Susan Robinson was subjected to a seven-month campaign of harassment in 2007 by Paul Barber and she called Northamptonshire Police on 20 occasions. Friends and family also called 999 another 12 times.

A statement was read out on behalf of Susan Robinson (centre) by her solicitor Beth Handley.

A statement was read out on behalf of Susan Robinson (centre) by her solicitor Beth Handley.

Mr Barber was on bail for harassing his ex-wife when he poured petrol through the letterbox of the house in Washington Street, Kingsthorpe where she lived with her mother Mavis and step-father Bill.

Ms Robinson suffered extensive burns as a result of the fire and was in a coma for three months. Her step-father was not badly injured in the fire but died last year.

A statement released on behalf of Ms Robinson and her family said: “Mavis, nanny, our mum was very popular and well loved by family and friends alike. She had a strong character with an outgoing personality. “She is greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.

“The domestic abuse which Susan suffered over seven months at the hands of Paul Barber made it a living hell for all of us. His abuse continued and escalated because he believed no one could or would stop him.

“Even though we lived through the events, sitting through the evidence over the last month, it has shocked us to be reminded of how many times Susan and her family and friends asked for help from the police and received no response or were told that nothing could be done and how many times Paul Barber escaped justice.

“It has been painful to hear that in fact a lot more could have been done to remove the threat Paul Barber posed.

“Too many women across the country find themselves in the same situation and this must stop.

“It has been good to hear of the changes implemented by Northamptonshire Police which seem to be significant. If these changes mean that other families do not go through what we went through then Mavis will not have died in vain.

“It saddens us that Mavis’s husband William, who died last year, was not here to receive the apologies extended to our family from the witness box.

“The conclusion of the inquest draws a line under the tragic events for our family. It is over now and we want to try to move on and enjoy the rest of our lives as best we can.”