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Homicides of females soar 10 per cent to highest in 13 years

Abuser: Alan Martin, 53, killed his wife Kay, 49, after she accused him of rape

THE number of women and girls killed in homicides in England and Wales has soared by nearly ten per cent in a year to the highest in more than a decade, official figures show.

Some 241 females were victims of murder, manslaughter or infanticide in the 12 months to March 2019, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The rise from 220 the previous year is the second annual increase and the highest since 2006. Almost half (48 per cent) of the adult women were killed in a domestic homicide — a rise of 12 to 99 (14 per cent) from the previous year.

Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, described the figures as ‘horrendous’. She said: ‘When you cut council budgets for vulnerable children, reduce the police and increase the number of perpetrators released under investigation, you endanger women and children.’

The ONS said female victims killed in or around a home accounted for 71 per cent of offences (170). And the suspect was a partner or ex-partner in nearly four in ten killings (38 per cent).

One such victim was Kay Richardson, 49, who was beaten to death by her estranged husband Alan Martin, 53, in September 2018, days after he had been arrested for allegedly raping her.

Alex Mayes, of Victim Support, described the rise in domestic abuse killings as ‘deeply disturbing’.