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Women take to the pitch to say NO' to violence

PUBLISHED: 16:44 06 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:50 12 August 2010

FOOTBALLERS said no to domestic violence by holding a women s friendly match. Crystal Palace Ladies took on Gillingham Ladies in

FOOTBALLERS said 'no' to domestic violence by holding a women's friendly match.

Crystal Palace Ladies took on Gillingham Ladies in Orpington to raise awareness of Refuge, a national charity to rehome victims of domestic violence.

The match, won 4-1 by Crystal Palace, was organised by Chris Phillips, father to Johanna Croxton, who was murdered by her husband at the age of 21.

The Crystal Palace fan, who grew up in Station Road, Shortlands, was strangled to death in 2005 by her husband of 16 months Jonathan Croxton at their Hastings home.

Unemployed Croxton was jailed in 2006 for a minimum of 15 years after a jury rejected claims that he was pushed to manslaughter by Johanna's supposed infidelity.

Mr Phillips said: "He strangled my daughter and put her in a paddling pool and then put her in an IKEA sack and eventually hoisted that into the loft.

"He texted people making out she was alive and then drew money out of her account. He then put her down as a missing person a few days later."

Mr Phillips, a civil servant, had called the police about Mr Croxton's behaviour before, but failed to persuade her to leave him.

Since losing his 'bubbly' daughter, he has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of domestic violence.

The determined father added: "I knew she was frightened, she was very vulnerable.

"It's because of this experience that I now strive to beat domestic violence. There needs to be more awareness of it.

"It's vital there be somewhere safe for victims to go."

Domestic violence is thought to account for one-in-six crimes, has more repeat victims than any other crime, and affect one- in-four women, and one-in-six men.

Last week the Ministry of Justice announced it would shake up the law in relation to domestic violence to protect victims.

Under the changes being cheated on would not be considered being 'seriously wronged', hence sinking claims like Mr Croxton's that his killing was a 'crime of passion'.

The changes would also provide a defence of killing in response to fear or serious violence.

Refuge helps children, women and men, and has a free and confidential helpline on 0808 200 247.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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