Sally Challen: ‘I wish I could turn the clock back’

The woman who had a murder conviction overturned after a landmark ruling on coercive control has said she wants to help other women who are in controlling relationships.

Sally Challen killed her husband Richard in 2010, after suffering years of mental and physical abuse from him.

She was tried and sentenced for murder, but earlier this year was freed after her murder conviction was quashed and she was instead found guilty of manslaughter.

Image: The Challens on their wedding day

Now the mother of two says she hopes to use her voice to fight for women who have found themselves in similar situations.

She told Sky News: "Mental abuse is most difficult thing to explain to people.


"I think that over years mine was like drip feed that came to a crescendo.

"It's something that makes you question your own mind.

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"He did rape me, he did drag me down the stairs, throw me out of the flat.

"You're so conditioned with being with that person you can't see a life without them."

On the night she killed him, Ms Challen suspected her husband of another affair.

Recalling the night, she said: "I gave him his food and I said to him 'am I going to see you tomorrow?'

"And he said 'don't question me'.

"And I grabbed a hammer that was in my bag and hit him.

"They say I hit him 18 times. I can't think I was capable of something like that, something just snapped inside me.

"I admit the hammer was in my bag but I don't remember putting it in there."

Sally Challen 'at home' with her sons James, left, and David. Pic: Twitter/David Challen
Image: Sally Challen 'at home' with her sons James, left, and David. Pic: Twitter/David Challen

After she killed him, Ms Challen covered his body and put a note on it, which read "I love you". The next day, she travelled to Beachy Head, where she had planned to take her own life.

She said the only reason she came back from behind the fence was when a police negotiator pointed out her sons would be left on their own.

Talking of her trial, Ms Challen said: "By the time my trial came up I had dropped considerably mentally.

"It was a blur.

"All I can remember is being asked questions and answering 'I suppose so'.

"Main thing I remember is my eldest son screaming at my sentence.

"I thought I would die in prison, I didn't think there was any hope."

Asked if she regretted what happened, she said: "Yes, I wish I could turn the clock back.

"He didn't deserve to die. I'm really sorry for what happened."

In February this year, Ms Challen won an appeal against her conviction for murdering her husband.

At a new trial, she pleaded guilty to manslaughter, which was accepted, and her sentence was reduced to nine years and four months, which she had already served.

Ms Challen said: "It wasRead More – Source

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