Sally Challen: No fresh trial over husband murder

An abused woman will not face a retrial for murdering her husband with a hammer after prosecutors accepted her manslaughter plea.

Sally Challen, 65, was found guilty of murdering 61-year-old Richard in Surrey and jailed for life in 2011.

Her conviction was quashed in February and she was due to face a retrial for his murder next month.

She was jailed for nine years and four months for manslaughter but walked free due to time already served.

Speaking outside the Old Bailey, Mrs Challen said: “I just want to say how happy I am and want to thank my legal team and my family who have stood by me through all of this.”

‘Trapped and manipulated’

The lesser charge was accepted by prosecutors on the grounds of diminished responsibility after a psychiatric report concluded Mrs Challen was suffering an “adjustment disorder”.

Mr Justice Edis said the killing came after “years of controlling, isolating and humiliating conduct” with the added provocation of her husband’s “serial multiple infidelity”.

“You felt trapped and manipulated because you were trapped and manipulated,” he told Mrs Challen.

Her son David said the family were “overjoyed”, adding it had “brought an end to the suffering we have endured together for the past nine years”.

Mrs Challen, from Claygate, who never denied killing her husband, said she had suffered decades of emotional abuse from her former car dealer husband.

Her conviction for his murder was overturned by the Court of Appeal following a campaign led by her sons. who walked into court with her this morning.

Son James, in a statement read to court, said the brothers had “lost a father” and did not “seek to justify our mother’s actions,” but added she “does not deserve to be punished further”.

During February’s two-day appeal hearing, the court heard evidence relating to Mrs Challen’s state of mind at the time of the killing and the issue of “coercive control”.

Coercive control describes a pattern of behaviour by an abuser to harm, punish or frighten their victim and became a criminal offence in England and Wales in December 2015.

The couple, who separated in 2009, were attempting to reconcile in August 2010 when Mrs Challen attacked her husband as he ate lunch at the kitchen table in their former marital home in Claygate, her original trial heard.

After attacking him, she drove 70 miles to Beachy Head in East Sussex, where she admitted to chaplains trying to coax her away from the cliff edge that she had killed her husband of 31 years.



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