Sally Challen: No retrial for killing abusive husband in hammer attack
A woman who spent nearly a decade behind bars for killing her abusive husband in a hammer attack will not face a retrial for murder.
Sally Challen, 65, claimed she suffered years of controlling and humiliating abuse before she killed 61-year-old Richard Challen in August 2010.
The mother-of-two had been jailed for life for the murder of the former car dealer following a trial in 2011.
But her conviction was quashed and a new trial ordered at the Court of Appeal in February, in light of new evidence about her mental state at the time.
Challen, of Claygate, Surrey, admitted manslaughter but pleaded not guilty to murdering her husband on 14 August 2010 and was due to face a fresh trial on 1 July.
And at a hearing at the Old Bailey on Friday, the prosecution announced her plea to the lesser charge had been accepted following a psychiatric report which concluded she was suffering an “adjustment disorder”.
Mrs Challen appeared relieved and tearful in the courtroom packed with family and well-wishers.
Her son David wrote on Twitter: “As a family we are overjoyed at today’s verdict and that it has brought an end to the suffering we have endured together for the past 9 years.
“Our story has become the landmark case society needs to recognise the true severity of coercive control. #SallyChallen #CoerciveControl”
In a victim impact statement read to court, her other son James said: “We have lost a father and we do not seek to justify our mother’s actions.”
But he said his mother “does not deserve to be punished further”.
At a previous hearing, Challen had been released on bail into the care of her sons, James and David, who have supported her throughout her legal ordeal.
She will be sentenced at the Old Bailey later.
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