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MP who led fight for law change on 'rough sex' defence speaks of pride

By Richard Guttridge | Dudley | Crime | Published:

An MP who helped lead the fight for a change in the law around the so-called "rough sex" defence in court following the horrific death of a young mother says he is proud of what he and his colleagues achieved.

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

Banning the use of the defence by killers and violent attackers was backed by MPs last month following a campaign sparked by the death of Natalie Connolly, 26, in Kinver, at the hands of millionaire businessman John Broadhurst.

Mr Garnier, the Conservative MP for Wyre Forest, led a cross-party campaign with Labour's Harriet Harman to stop attackers claiming victims consented to their injuries, and destroying the reputation of victims in court.

It was revealed this week by the Express & Star that Broadhurst is set to be released from prison less than half way into his 44-month sentence which was blasted as “unduly lenient” by figures such as Ms Harman.

Mark Garnier helped push for change

Mr Garnier told of his disappointment that Broadhurst, who was convicted of manslaughter but cleared of murder, would soon be free but said it did not take away from what had been achieved in Ms Connolly's name to protect future victims.

He said: "Natalie Connolly was a victim of domestic abuse and John Broadhurst dominated her life. There were classic tell-tale signs of domestic abuse throughout their relationship. And at the end of it he killed her.

"Her injuries were horrific. During his defence he had no qualms about completely destroying her reputation after death at a point she couldn't speak back against it. The idea he could do this is just abhorrent."

Mr Garner and Ms Harman, a former Labour deputy leader under Gordon Brown, tabled a series of amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill to stop victims being blamed.

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"I think we achieved everything we wanted to achieve," Mr Garnier said. "We put forward eight amendments and the Government settled on one which covered the whole issue.

"The Government worked very hard. It was one of those where the Government agreed with what we were trying to achieve."

Figures including Birmingham MP Jess Phillips paid tribute to Ms Connolly after MPs backed the changes to the law last month.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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