How to Stop Your Daughter from Having an Abusive Relationship
Posted by The Guardian on Monday, September 18, 2019 10:18:39A woman who had a violent and abusive relationship with her daughter for many years was jailed for life in September.
Karen Lee had abused the then 16-year-old, who had become a prostitute, while she was in her 30s, but her husband was not in prison when she was convicted of the murders in March 2018.
Her mother, who was the only one of her family to survive the abuse, was convicted at the Old Bailey for her part in the murders.
Lee, now 54, was sentenced to life in prison and will be eligible for parole in 2026.
Her sentence has been met with fierce opposition from survivors of child abuse and domestic violence.
Kirk Mitchell, who worked with Lee and her husband at a brothel in the 1970s and 1980s, said the sentence showed “there is a lack of empathy for the survivors”.
“It’s a sad day for me personally because my daughter was murdered by her mother and I can’t imagine how this would affect the families of her victims, said Mitchell.
He said the judge had not explained why Lee had killed her daughter, but was expected to make a judgment about the sentence in the next few months.”
The sentencing of this woman to life imprisonment for her role in this horrendous crime is shocking and I hope it sends a message to other parents and other women that they should not take the life of their children,” he said.”
It also sends a strong message to all victims that they are not alone.
“I would have loved for this woman not to be there when her daughter was killed.
It shows that we need to work together and change our attitudes.”
The sentencing followed a year of intense public and political debate over domestic violence and child abuse, including a call from former Prime Minister and now US president Donald Trump for the UK to introduce tougher laws against domestic abuse.
Lee had been living in the US with her husband, now deceased, until his death in 2016.
In 2014, the then 33-year old Lee was sentenced for the murder of her daughter and a second-degree murder charge, but that charge was later dropped.
The judge said the family had not suffered enough.
“Karen’s actions were horrendous, but they were not in her control, they were her own,” said Judge Helen Williams.
She said Lee’s actions had been calculated and premeditated.
She described her daughter as a “perfect” young woman who was “the envy of all her friends”, but the court heard that she was emotionally damaged and had suffered from depression, anxiety and anger issues.
Judge Williams said Lee was “a strong and determined woman” who had lived life to the fullest and was an “excellent mother”.
“I am satisfied that she is an extremely devoted and loving mother, and I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that she will never be able to understand the pain of this terrible crime,” she said.
The court heard Lee, who pleaded guilty to the murder and the second-grade murder charge after her daughter’s death, had been involved in an affair with her son-in-law and that she had been aware of his relationship with his partner.
The sentencing was criticised by the MP for the victims’ charity Rape Crisis, who said it was the first time a woman had been jailed for child abuse.
Victims of domestic abuse were particularly vulnerable, she said, and their experience was often “invisible”.
“The judge’s sentencing of Karen Lee to life will have a huge impact on survivors, as it will be seen as a stark warning to others,” she added.
Victim advocates and lawyers were quick to express their dismay at the sentence.
Amber Brown, a survivor of domestic violence, said it showed that it was time to change the law.
“She was clearly not a fit person to live her life,” she told the BBC.
“Her father, my mother, my sister all died in her arms.
She was the most amazing person.”