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Friday, November 20, 1998 Published at 16:17 GMT


'Provoked' woman wins appeal

A woman who says she suffered years of physical abuse from her lover has had her conviction for murdering him quashed by the Court of Appeal.

Diana Butler, 30, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, had said she was provoked into killing Roger Carlin.

Linda Duffin: "Campaigners hope the appeal could help to clarify the law on provocation"
She was jailed for life in December 1997 but women's rights campaigners claimed she was typical of women who kill their partners after extended periods of abuse.

Solicitor Harriet Wistrich: "There is a lack of understanding about violence against women"
Butler's solicitor Harriet Wistrich said many lawyers do not understand how to apply murder defences like self-defence, provocation, lack of intention and diminished responsibility to cases involving abused women.

"As in the case of Diana Butler, they end up being found guilty of murder because their defences don't seem to fit their experiences," she said.

The relationship between Butler and Mr Carlin was acknowledged as "stormy" and the couple reportedly fought for an hour on the night of the murder.

'Wrongful conviction'

The BBC's Mike McKay reports on Diana Butler's appeal
Butler claimed on the night of the stabbing, she was dragged round the house by her hair and had tins of food thrown at her by Mr Carlin after they returned from a club.

The jury was not persuaded by her defence and found her guilty.

Ms Wistrich said: "There is a huge amount of evidence that should have been put before the jury about the abuse she was suffering."

The civil rights group Women for Justice has spent the day demonstrating outside the Court of Appeal for a clarification of the law in abuse cases.

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