Kerri McAuley’s tragic death is highlighted in Norwich MP’s talks with government minister

Kerri McAuley alongside her mother Lesley. Picture: courtesy of McAuley family

Kerri McAuley alongside her mother Lesley. Picture: courtesy of McAuley family - Credit: courtesy of McAuley family

The family of a woman who was brutally murdered by a serial abuser has been told that her death would not be in vain.

That was the message from Norwich North MP Chloe Smith who has highlighted the murder of mother Kerri McAuley to a government minister in Westminster.

Ms McAuley, 32, was found dead at her home in Southalls Way, Norwich, on January 8 this year. She had been the victim of a 'sustained and brutal' attack by her on-off partner Joe Storey, in what Judge Stephen Holt described as 'one of the worst cases of domestic violence that have come before these courts'.

During Storey's trial, it also emerged he had a history of violence not only towards Ms McAuley, but other women too.

With Storey now jailed for 24 years, Ms Smith has taken Ms McAuley's story to Sarah Newton MP – parliamentary under secretary of state for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability – in the hope lessons can be learned and safeguards can be put in place in the government's new Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill.

'I never met Kerri but she would have been my constituent,' Ms Smith said. 'Like everyone, when I heard I was shocked and horrified. Every brutal murder is shocking at any time, but I think this was made so much worse by the suggestion things could have been stopped earlier. And that's why I want to act.'

Ms Smith, who has spoken to Ms McAuley's family and said she had great respect for how brave they were in speaking out, said during yesterday's meeting with Ms Newton she highlighted issues that had come out in court, and had been raised by Ms McAuley's family as well as domestic violence charity Leeway.

Most Read

'The minister was very keen to hear all the points. She found it very useful because she is preparing a new bill that will do more to stop domestic abuse,' she said. 'Serial offenders is one example of the areas that will be looked at. As a constituency MP, it is incredibly important to be able to use important local examples to get better laws, to make the laws of this land better, so that Kerri did not die in vain.'

She has invited Ms Newton to visit Norfolk to discuss further what can be done. She said: 'I hope that this will be an important line of work to change the law for the better so that evil people like Joe Storey can be stopped in the future.'

She added: 'I would just like to reiterate one of the important lines that comes out of this case is, speak out if abuse is happening, speak out as soon as possible.'

A homicide review, involving police and other agencies, is also under way following Ms McAuley's death.

Kerri McAuley's family welcomes Westminster meeting

Ms McAuley's mother Lesley said it was great the Westminster meeting had taken place.

'I'm so pleased that Chloe Smith is doing what she's doing right now,' said Lesley, adding there was much that needed to be changed in terms of the way abusers were dealt with, particularly around sentencing, rehabilitation and probation.

'Any kind of laws that could be changed in any way just so things could be more safe.'

She said her daughter would be proud to think her story might help others. She said: 'My daughter had a big heart; she would be looking down thinking 'yes'.'

Ms McAuley's uncle Steven Roberts added: 'It was certainly much appreciated that Chloe Smith as an MP for Norwich has taken it upon herself to take Kerri's story to government. I certainly hope she (Sarah Newton) has listened because there's a significant need for changes to the way domestic violence offenders are sentenced, rehabilitated and dealt with by probation.'

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter