Just like Raoul Moat, Mark Osler, who this week shot his ex partner twice in the head before turning the gun on himself, had a history of violence, in particular of violence against women. And just like Raoul Moat, Osler apparently gave clues as to his intentions before he eventually acted.

In both cases it seems police ignored warnings they’d been given; in Moat’s case from the prison authorities, and in Osler’s from his ex wife, who says she informed the police six weeks ago that this violent man, who would never legally be allowed to own a gun, had suddenly, somehow, managed to acquire one.

A couple of weeks ago Theresa May suggested that men with a history of domestic violence could soon face random visits from the police, after evidence emerged from the US showing that “random visits by police to homes where domestic violence had taken place resulted in a “significant decrease” in incidents.” According to the Telegraph, “In New York, domestic violence murders had fallen by 64 per cent after police started to pay visits to the homes of convicted abusers. Local police have said the home visits give the offenders a sense of being watched and gave the abused spouse or partner a feeling of having allies outside the home.”

Now I don’t know whether random visits would have helped or not in the two recent cases I’ve cited above, although I think it’s getting to the point now where anything’s worth a try. But what I do know is, you don’t have to be Sherlock fucking Holmes to work out that if the police had actually bothered to act on the tip-offs they’d already been given, things would in all probability have panned out quite differently.

It’s long been known to those who work in the field, and to the police and other authorities, that one of the most dangerous times for any woman involved in a violent relationship is the point at which she leaves and the period immediately following it. So it’s not simply a coincidence that both Moat and Osler shot their ex partners Samantha Stobbard and Rachel Puttock when their relationships had ended – it’s all part of a well-documented pattern of behaviour from serial domestic abusers like them. Okay, so the methods they employed may have been at the more extreme end of the scale, but the fact is that some form of violent retaliation against these two women was entirely predictable.

So I ask again, where the hell were the police?

If the Government is really serious about instructing the police to make random visits to the homes of abusive and violent men, maybe they should also think about  instructing them to provide protection for women who are trying to escape. And maybe they should also think about instructing them to follow up on the tip-offs they’re given, particularly when they know that the outcome of ignoring said tip-offs can potentially be so catastrophic.

But anyway, back to the title of this post. It’s actually taken from a comment left on a Sky News article about the Osler case. As if it wasn’t bad enough that Sky decided to completely trivialise the incident by heading the piece: “Gran With Pram Shot Twice In Head By Her Ex”, a commenter posting under the pseudonym “west norfolk” has a question to ask regarding women who go around getting themselves shot in the head:

“i went to school with mark, he was what most people describe as a lovable rogue, believe me this is not trying to excuse him, but what is it with women these days that can drive any man to this.”

I know I’ve said it before, but sometimes words really do fail me.

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