I Won't Give Up on Love; Mental Health Campaigner Jayne Zito Reveals the Heartache Behind the Break-Up of Her One Relationship since Her Husband's Murder

By Levin, Angela | Daily Mail (London), April 17, 2003 | Go to article overview

I Won't Give Up on Love; Mental Health Campaigner Jayne Zito Reveals the Heartache Behind the Break-Up of Her One Relationship since Her Husband's Murder


Levin, Angela, Daily Mail (London)


Byline: ANGELA LEVIN

JUST over ten years ago, Jayne Zito's husband, Jon, was brutally stabbed by a stranger as he waited on the platform at Finsbury Park Tube Station, North London. He died within hours.

The murderer was Christopher Clunis, 39, a paranoid schizophrenic who had been released from hospital under the Care In The Community programme.

He immediately confessed to his crime, and at his Old Bailey trial he was ordered to be detained indefinitely in Rampton top security hospital.

Later, an inquiry revealed that, despite his violent tendencies, Clunis had been discharged from nine psychiatric units in five years.

Nobody had taken responsibility for him.

Jayne and Jon, then both 27, had only known each other for six months when Jon was killed. It was a whirlwind, passionate romance and they married on September 17, 1992, three months after they met and exactly three months before he was killed.

Jayne was utterly devastated by his death, but became determined that something positive would come from it. In 1994, she set up the Zito Trust to highlight mental illness and the care of those affected by it.

She is now its patron.

She has since become a formidable force in the mental health world and was awarded an OBE in 2001 for her efforts.

At 38, Jayne is now mother to two boys, aged five and almost two. A six-year relationship with their father Carl, a company director, broke up a year ago.

Jayne is now coping on her own.

Jayne is neither vindictive nor self-pitying about Jon's death, but inevitably some of the effects still linger.

Despite her easy laughter, the strain is etched on her face. We originally met six years ago, just after she had met Carl. Full of hope, she said at the time: 'I call him Mr Patience. He is very understanding.' SADLY, she has been unable to find the happiness she deserves.

But she insists their break-up had nothing to do with Jon. 'Just because I've been through something bloody awful doesn't mean that everything I do is dependent on it,' she begins defiantly. 'Carl and I broke up because it just wasn't right.' But her choice of words suggest that their relationship was a task. 'I applied myself to the relationship as I do with everything,' she says 'but it just didn't work.

'In retrospect, we were unwise to begin our relationship when we did. We met through the Zito Trust when Jon had only been dead three years, and I was quite a different person.

'Since we split, I've been worried for the boys.

When you've been through a trauma like I have, it's easy to get overanxious.

Fortunately, Carl sees the boys regularly and they are lovely.' Did Carl find it difficult that her work revolved so much around Jon? 'Perhaps, but I no longer grieve for him as my husband. Instead, I grieve for a young man of 27 who died such a senseless death.

CARL must have found it hard to understand that the charity could still be part of my life without me grieving for him in the same way.

But I do still think about him every day and feel he is with me in a positive way.' We were talking at Jayne's modest semi in South London that she used to share with Carl. Despite the toys and children's videos, there is an overwhelming feeling of calm.

Born in Wales, Jayne studied art at Portsmouth University.

Ironically, she chose to work with the mentally ill. She had been deputy manager of a rehabilitation centre before giving in her notice in 1992 to join her father in Tuscany for the summer, where he ran art workshops.

The day after she arrived, she met Jon, an Italian musician.

She knew she had found her soulmate. After marrying at Casole d'Elsa, a tiny hamlet between Sienna and Florence, the happy couple moved to Crouch End, where Jayne returned to her old job and Jon tried to make contacts in the music world. …

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