Woman who killed husband after “decades of abuse” will be retried after winning appeal

A woman who killed her husband by beating him to death with a hammer after “decades of abuse” will have a retrial after her murder verdict was quashed.

Sally Challen, 65, of Claygate in Surrey, admitted killing 61-year-old Richard in August 2010 but denied murder. She appealed her conviction, which was heard and won on Thursday.

She was hoping to have been released from prison on the grounds that her husband, Richard, subjected her to decades of coercive and controlling behaviour in their 31-year marriage, which impacted her mental state.

However, Justice Lady Heather Hallett handed down the historic decision in a packed courtroom on Thursday afternoon, saying she won’t be released and will face a retrial.

Eight years after her conviction, the court heard Mrs Challen had been bullied, isolated from friends and family, and ‘gaslighted’, a form of abuse in which perpetrators manipulate victims into questioning their sanity. Mr Challen, it was claimed, cheated on Mrs Challen and lied to her, leading her to attempt suicide more than once. On one occasion, he raped her ‘as a punishment’.

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