High life with millionaire ended in tragedy for Natalie Connolly
Natalie Connolly lived life to the limit – and appeared to have met her match in businessman John Broadhurst.
The pair enjoyed the high life, drank excessively and indulged their shared interest in extreme sex games.
But the former receptionist’s love of living on the edge led to her downfall – and Broadhurst is now facing a long term in jail after admitting her manslaughter.
The couple embarked on a secret affair after meeting at The Waggon and Horses pub in Bewdley in the summer of 2016.
She initially told her family she was working as the businessman’s PA and regaled them with stories about his wealth.
Broadhurst, said to be worth £15 million, arranged for them to meet up away from prying eyes in Scotland and Manchester before splitting from his fiancée, who was eight months pregnant with their second child at the time, and setting up home with Natalie and their children from previous relationships in a rented five-bedroomed detached house in Kinver.
The businessman, 14 years her senior, bought his new lover a BMW and gave her a ‘good allowance’.
They had been planning to spend Christmas in Dubai, with Ms Connolly due to fly out with her daughter on December 19 and the defendant following the next day.
The victim’s twin sister fought back tears as she recalled in court how ‘happy’ her sibling had seemed with her new life.
Gemma Kelsey Andrews said she had ‘never seen her sister so happy’.
She was aware the couple took cocaine and other drugs on a ‘recreational basis’ and were social binge drinkers but she said her sister was able to hold her alcohol, regularly drinking 10 pints of cider and blackcurrant on a night out without appearing intoxicated.
However both she and their mother were left ‘shocked’ by the sight of painful bruising caused by ‘rough sex’ sessions with Broadhurst, which prevented her from sitting down during a visit to her mother’s two weeks before her death.
Karen Whittington had asked her daughter: “Who does he think he is – Christian Grey?” referring to the main character in the erotic best-seller Fifty Shades of Grey.
But the 26-year-old laughed off her injuries.
Broadhurst boasted about their bedtime exploits, telling a friend that they would have to ‘calm down’ their sex lives on the trip to Dubai because her bruises would be seen in a bikini.
He spoke of how she ‘liked to be beaten and choked’.
On the day before she died, Ms Connolly and Broadhurst were wined and dined in an executive box during a game at West Bromwich Albion, where they were described as being ‘very touchy feely’ and acting like teenagers in love.
But the jury heard the victim had sent Snapchat messages to two ex-boyfriends in the days leading up to her death and had arranged to meet a man she befriended online, who lived in Dubai, after sending topless pictures to him.
It was suggested by the prosecution that Broadhurst had seen the messages and become angry but this was never proved.
Following The Hawthorns match the pair visited a Handsworth curry house with friends, staying only for the starter before being driven back to Kinver by Broadhurst’s chauffeur to continue the party alone.
They carried on drinking and also took ‘high levels’ of cocaine whilst indulging their sexual fantasies.
But Miss Connolly suffered severe blood loss from deep internal cuts which, if treated in hospital with stitches, would have stopped the bleeding, the jury heard.
Broadhurst admitted, as part of the manslaughter charge, failing in his duty of care as her partner to call the emergency services, and that it was this failure that led to her death.
Judge Julian Knowles warned Broadhurst he should be prepared for ‘a custodial sentence of some length’. Mr David Mason, QC, prosecuting, said it was felt this was the appropriate way of proceeding and it was also the wish of Ms Connolly’s family.
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