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Abused wife will not face murder retrial

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

Sally Challen, who was released on bail in April, walked into court
Sally Challen, who was released on bail in April, walked into court

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.

However, prosecutors at the Old Bailey accepted the lesser charge on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The guilty manslaughter plea was accepted following a psychiatric report that concluded Mrs Challen was suffering an “adjustment disorder”, Caroline Carberry QC said.

She will be sentenced for manslaughter later on Friday.

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

Sally and Richard Challen had two sons and had been married for 31 years
Sally and Richard Challen had two sons and had been married for 31 years

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.

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.

Sally Challen had been released on bail in April into the care of her sons James, left, and David
Sally Challen had been released on bail in April into the care of her sons James, left, and David

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. BBC News