A British woman who killed her husband with a hammer after suffering years of domestic abuse will not face a retrial, prosecutors said on Friday, a decision women’s rights groups hailed as a “landmark moment”.
Sally Challen, 65, had her conviction for murder overturned in February after an appeal found the trial had not factored in the effect of decades of abuse on her mental health.
She was to have faced a retrial, but prosecutors agreed to instead accept a guilty plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Challen was sentenced to nine years and four months, but will not return to prison as she had already served the full term, court officials confirmed.
She urged prosecutors to give more consideration to the impact of domestic abuse when dealing with victims in future.
“I just hope that the justice system will recognise that abuse happens and that they should take it more seriously,” said Challen at a press conference.
“I have met many women in prison who should not be there.”
Sally Challen was convicted of murdering her husband Richard in 2011 and sentenced to 22 years in jail, which was later reduced to 18.
Her supporters say she was a victim of coercive control by her husband for more than 40 years, which was a factor underlying the attack and its immediate trigger.
Britain introduced laws in 2015 making “coercive or controlling behaviour” a domestic violence offence carrying a penalty of up to five years in jail.
It was intended to close a loophole in the law that had previously allowed abusive partners to exert control with behaviour that stopped short of violence. Read more