The mother of a nurse who was stabbed 71 times by her ex-boyfriend was moved to tears as Sir Keir Starmer pledged to increase sentences for rapists, stalkers and domestic abusers.

Jane Clough was killed in July 2010 in the staff car park at Blackpool Victoria Hospital as she arrived for her shift.

Miss Clough’s killer, Jonathan Vass, was on bail on charges of raping her and she had kept a diary that detailed his abuse and her fears he would take revenge.

But Sir Keir, in his first speech to Labour’s conference as leader, said under a Labour Government cases similar to Miss Clough’s would be fast-tracked, and that he would toughen up sentences for perpetrators.

Labour Party Conference 2021
Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer pledged to toughen up sentences for domestic abusers as part of his keynote speech at the Labour Party conference (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Speaking about meeting Miss Clough’s parents, Penny and John, when he was director of public prosecutions, Sir Keir said: “It was an incredibly emotional day for all of us as I listened to John and Penny tell me Jane’s story, I knew that a great injustice had been done.

“I made a promise to John and Penny at the end of that first meeting, that I would work with them to make sure that no other family went through what they had been forced to endure, and we rolled up our sleeves and we changed the law.”

In October 2010, ambulance technician and club bouncer Vass was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 30 years.

At the time, Sir Keir said he would welcome a change in the law to allow prosecutors to appeal against a judge’s bail decision.

Sir Keir said: “John and Penny taught me how to keep your dignity under severe pressure.”

And he added: “I honestly don’t know how I would cope if anything happened to one of our children. But I do know I am humbled by John, by Penny and by Doreen (mother of murder victim Stephen Lawrence).

“And that’s why, under my leadership, the fight against crime will always be a Labour issue. Labour will strengthen legal protections for victims of crime, we won’t walk around the problem. We’ll fix it.”

He said: “We will fast-track rape and serious sexual assault cases and we will toughen sentences for rapists, stalkers and domestic abusers.”