Sally Challen walks free from court as murder retrial dropped


Sally Challen, who spent nearly a decade behind bars for killing her husband in a hammer attack, has walked free from court after a judge ordered she need not face a retrial.

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

After her conviction was quashed earlier this year, a judge at the Old Bailey told her that she will not face a further trial for his murder.

Prosecutor Caroline Carberry QC said a manslaughter plea was accepted following a psychiatric report which concluded Mrs Challen was suffering an “adjustment disorder” at the time of the attack.

Mrs Challen, whose real name is Georgina, admitted manslaughter in April and was released on bail.

She appeared relieved and tearful in the courtroom packed with family and well-wishers.

Prosecutors dropped the case against Sally Challen. (PA)

The mother-of-two claimed she suffered years of controlling and humiliating abuse before she killed her 61-year-old husband in August 2010.

She was jailed for life for the murder of the former car dealer following a trial at Guildford Crown Court in 2011.

Sally Challen is hugged by her brother Chris Jenney as she arrives at the Old Bailey (PA)

But her conviction was quashed and a new trial ordered at the Court of Appeal in London in February, in light of new evidence about her mental state at the time.

Mrs Challen, of Claygate, Surrey, admitted manslaughter but pleaded not guilty to murdering her husband on August 14, 2010 and was due to face a fresh trial on July 1.

Mrs Challen spent nearly a decade behind bars for killing her husband in a hammer attack (PA)

But at a hearing before Mr Justice Edis at the Old Bailey on Friday, the prosecution announced the Crown accepted her plea to the lesser charge.

At a previous hearing, Mrs Challen had been released on bail into the care of her sons, James and David, who have supported her throughout her legal ordeal.

Reunited: Sally Challen with her sons after she was granted bail in April (David Challen)

David Challen, who watched proceedings from the well of the court, said: “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.”

In a victim impact statement read to court, her other son James Challen 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”.

Mrs Challen had previously been held in custody at HMP Bronzefield.

She will be sentenced at the Old Bailey later today. She and her family are also due to hold a press conference later.



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