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Campaign group 'appalled' by millionaire killer's appeal against prison sentence

By Richard Guttridge | Staffordshire | Crime | Published:

Leaders of a campaign group set up after a mother was left to die by her millionaire partner say they are "appalled" by his decision to appeal his prison sentence.

John Broadhurst is appealing his sentence

John Broadhurst's 44-month sentence for the manslaughter of Natalie Connolly was criticised as "unduly lenient" amid calls for it to be extended at the time, with Labour's Harriet Harman among the most vocal critics. However, the property tycoon's sentence could now be cut.

The 41-year-old's case was due to be heard at the Court of Appeal today.

Broadhurst left Ms Connolly bleeding to death at their Kinver home after a "rough sex session" in December 2016.

The mother-of-one had sustained more than 40 injuries and a post-mortem showed she died from acute alcohol intoxication and blunt force injuries.

Natalie Connolly

Her death sparked a push for the law to be changed around women who are killed during violence the accused claimed they consented to - dubbed the 'Fifty Shades' defence.

Broadhurst was accused of beating Ms Connolly with his fists and causing a series of other injuries during the masochistic session.

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The campaign group We Can't Consent to This was launched following Ms Connolly's death and is backing a bid by former Labour deputy leader Ms Harman and Wyre Forest Parliamentary candidate Mark Garnier to amend the Domestic Abuse Bill.

Should Broadhurst's sentence be cut it could make him eligible for release within months.

Police outside the home where Natalie was found in Kenrose Mill, Kinver

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Fiona MaKenzie, from the group, said: "We set up We Can't Consent To This campaign in response to the short manslaughter sentence given to John Broadhurst. We are appalled but not surprised that he believes even that sentence is too long.

"We've found 59 uk women and girls killed and many more injured in violence that the men accused say they consented to - 12 women killed just since Natalie Connolly's death.

The additions to the law proposed by Harriet Harman and Mark Garnier to end these "Fifty Shades" defences are vital to make sure that "rough sex" claims are no longer useful to the men who rely on them."

Elizabeth Yardley, a criminologist at Birmingham City University, who is an expert in domestic violence killings, also hit out at the appeal.

John Broadhurst arriving at Birmingham Crown Court for the trial

She said: "This is abhorrent and testament to his narcissism. 'Poor me. Feel sorry for me. I don’t deserve this'. Makes me sick."

The charity Women's Aid said abusive men should not be "seen to be getting off lightly".

Lucy Hadley, campaigns and public affairs manager, said: “With domestic homicides at a five-year high, we need to see sentences that reflect the gravity and severity of this devastating crime, and those sentences need to be properly enforced.

"Every four days another woman is killed by her partner or ex-partner in England and Wales. We owe it to the women who have lost their lives, and their families, to ensure that their perpetrators face the full force of the law and are not seen to be getting off lightly. Light sentencing sends a dangerous message to perpetrators and makes our communities less safe.”

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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