For four years Peter Iles persecuted Janet Gardner using violence, threats and harassment. Janet had ended their nine month relationship because of Iles' frequent and brutal attacks on her. Attempting to protect herself from Iles, Janet reported him to the police on several occasions, sought an injunction against him, went ex-directory five times, frequently changed her job and even put her house on the market so that she could move away from him.
None of these measures, however, had any effect and Iles continued to torment Janet. On one occasion he tried to cut her throat – she still bears the scars. Iles beat, kicked and punched Janet and burnt her with cigarettes. He pinned her to a chair for six hours, cut her with a knife and attempted to strangle her. On two occasions Janet had to have hospital treatment as a result of Iles’ violence. Despite neighbours having witnessed attacks, the police refused to get involved. Janet was virtually a prisoner in her own home – terrified to go out, she lived in fear of being seen by Iles. Such was Janet's shame over her situation that she hid the true facts from friends and family, sinking into a depression that led to a suicide attempt.
During the attack that resulted in Iles' death he grabbed Janet around the neck and started beating her head against the doorway of the kitchen. Janet grabbed a knife and stabbed him seven times. She said later: “I still feel guilty about what I did, but I had no choice. If I hadn't done what I did, he'd have killed me.”
At Janet's trial on November 20, 1991, the judge stressed to the jury that she had suffered severe provocation and she was thus cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter. Janet was sentenced to five years in prison. With the support of Justice for Women, on appeal the judges substituted a probation order and made the decision to release Janet on the grounds that the time she had already spent in prison was sufficient “to expiate in some measure the guilt she must feel for the rest of her life”. The judges emphasised, however, that their decision was made in the “exceptional circumstances of her case”. Janet Gardner was released on October 29, 1992.
For media coverage of Janet's case, please visit our press coverage page.