THE parents of a teenager — killed when her partner threw her down the stairs — have backed a police crackdown on domestic violence before the World Cup.
Carly Fairhurst died aged just 19 in 2006 when her partner Darren Pilkington knocked her down a flight of stairs.
Pilkington is still serving an indeterminate sentence for her manslaughter and her grief-stricken parents, Trevor and Sheila Fairhurst, have since campaigned for victims of crime to be given more rights.
Mr Fairhurst, from Hindley Green, said there has been a “marked improvement” in the way police handle domestic abuse but said more still needs to be done for victims to come forward.
He and his wife are still forced to revisit the grief each year by providing a victim impact statement to help ensure Pilkington is not granted parole.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) is urging the public to report any instances of domestic abuse as the England squad prepare to start their tournament in Brazil against Italy on Saturday.
On the day England were knocked out of the 2010 tournament by Germany, police recorded 353 incidents of domestic abuse and received 5,897 calls, a 43 per cent increase on the number of 999 calls made on the average June Sunday.
Increased tension surrounding the matches and excess alcohol consumption have been cited as causes of abuse and violence.
Mr Fairhurst said: “Hopefully this campaign will get people to come forward and report abuse.
“It does not necessarily have to be to the police, as you can go to a doctor, nurse or support agency.
“There has been a marked improvement in the responses, especially from the police, and we are happy to help them front this campaign.
“Carly’s case still gets media attention now even though it happened more than eight years ago.
“We just want to raise awareness as much as we can.”
Pilkington, then aged 24, met Carly after the teenager wrote to him while he was in prison.
He had already been convicted of manslaughter at the age of 18.
Det Chf Supt Vanessa Jardine, from GMP’s Public Protection Division, said: “We know from our own data there was a spike in domestic incidents during the 2010 World Cup.
“We want to make it clear to those offenders that this year’s event as with any sporting event will not be used as a way of justifying such abusive behaviour.”
Specialist domestic abuse officers will be on duty at key times throughout the tournament, while the force is also issuing leaflets and posters to encourage victims, and their families and friends, to report instances of abuse to police.
The World Cup campaign is being supported by North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), Women’s Aid, Victim Support and the Independent Domestic Violence Advisors.
For more information or to report abuse contact police on 101 or the Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0161 6367525.