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Campaigners hail 'rough sex' law change prompted by death of Kinver woman

By Richard Guttridge | Dudley | Crime | Published:

Campaigners and politicians have hailed a move by the Government to ban the so-called "rough sex defence" following a campaign prompted by the horrific death of a woman in Kinver.

Millionaire John Broadhurst was jailed for the manslaughter of Natalie Connolly - but cleared of murder

A new clause has been added to the Domestic Abuse Bill to stop "consent for sexual gratification" being used as defence for causing serious harm in court cases in England and Wales.

The move marks a victory for campaigners and politicians including former Labour frontbencher Harriet Harman, who has led calls for a change to the law.

The campaign was given fresh momentum following the death of Natalie Connolly in Kinver.

The 26-year-old was left to die in a pool of blood at the bottom of the stairs by her millionaire partner, John Broadhurst, during a drink-and-drugs-fuelled sex session at their home on Kenrose Mill in December 2016, in which she was subjected to violent abuse. Broadhurst was convicted of manslaughter and jailed for three years, eight months – but cleared of murder.

Her case was held up as a catalyst for change to stop men accusing of killing their partners using the "rough sex" defence in court, claiming they had consented.

Harriet Harman has led the push for change

Supporters labelled the change a watershed moment for the treatment of victims of abuse.

Ms Harman, who served as Labour deputy leader under Gordon Brown, said on Twitter: "Milestone moment in battle to challenge male violence against women. This will stop men literally getting away with murder by saying it's what she wanted."

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Ms Harman also thanked the campaign group We Can't Consent To This, which was set up in the wake of Ms Connolly's death, and her local MP Mark Garnier for their unwavering support.

She said: "Thank you to “We Can’t Consent To This”. You played key role by showing that Natalie Connolly case was not exception but that this macabre defence was being used routinely in homicide cases and serious assault."

Conservative MP for Wyre Forest Mr Garnier said: "Delighted that the Government have published the new clause banning the rough sex defence. All thanks to @HarrietHarmanfor her astonishing leadership with this."

We Can't Consent To This said: "This is amazing. We can call this a victory. All of you who supported and cheered us along on this can feel rightly proud of this."

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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