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MPs pay tribute to Kinver mother whose death sparked change in law

By Richard Guttridge | Dudley | Crime | Published:

Tributes have been paid to a mother from Kinver whose death sparked a campaign which has resulted in a change in the law over the use of the "rough sex" defence in court.

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

Labour's Jess Phillips delivered a stirring speech in Parliament and was among those to recognise the suffering of Natalie Connolly.

A ban on violent partners using the "rough sex" defence, and claiming the victim consented to the abuse they suffered, has become law after being backed by MPs.

Ms Connolly, 26, became the symbol of the campaign to have the defence outlawed after her death in December 2016 shocked the nation.

She was left to die in a pool of blood at the bottom of the stairs by her millionaire partner, John Broadhurst, at their home on Kenrose Mill, after being subjected to violent abuse during sex.

Broadhurst was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter and jailed for three years, eight months.

Birmingham MP Ms Phillips, who has been among the high-profile backers of the campaign alongside the likes of Harriet Harman, said: "Natalie Connolly’s name and story has rung out around this Chamber and been told in many newspapers, and the bravery of her family will see this law changed.

MP Jess Phillips paid tribute to Natalie Connolly in the Commons

"Today, I do not want to remember her for how she died or to allow a violent man to get to say what her story was. I simply want to remember Natalie, a brilliant, beautiful, bright mother, sister, daughter - a woman who had a story all of her own about the things she loved and cared for. I hope that now the story of Natalie Connolly can be that: one that centres her as a human, just like all of us, not the story that somebody else told."

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Ms Connolly's MP, the Conservative Mark Garnier, also played a key role in the cross-party campaign.

He read out comments sent to him by Ms Connolly's father, Alan Andrews.

Mr Garnier, MP for Wyre Forest, said: "The reality is that Natalie Connolly was the victim of abuse and of a flawed legal system.

"I received an email from Natalie’s father, Alan Andrews, a couple of days ago, talking about this. I will read out some parts of the email, which is incredibly moving.

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"He says: 'There is no way that a man should be able to bat away brutal sex violence as just an accident and pave the way to get away with it. To cope with her private life being explored in intricate detail on top of the grief of losing her has been unimaginably hard for the whole family. Natalie is no longer here to tell us what he did to her or why he left her where he did. One thing is for certain; Natalie didn’t fantasise about being killed or leaving her daughter without a mum that night'."

Mr Garnier continued: "When Natalie’s daughter, Maddison, gets a bit older and starts Googling her mother, we do not want her to find all these stories about her mother being described ​in this way. We want Maddison to look on her mother with immense pride and say: 'As a result of my mother’s death, thousands of women are now protected against this type of defence in the future'.

"That is why this is so incredibly important and I am so grateful to all the people who have been involved."

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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