Wife whose conviction for husband’s murder was quashed arrives at court for fresh trial

A wife who served eight years in jail for killing her husband with a hammer before her conviction was quashed wept in the dock of the Old Bailey today after prosecutors dramatically announced she will not face a retrial. 

Georgina Challen, known as Sally, was jailed for life in 2011 for the murder of her car dealer husband Richard. But she has insisted the attack was the result of years of controlling and humiliating abuse he put her through.

The 65-year-old’s conviction was quashed and a new trial ordered in February after fresh evidence was put forward about her mental state at the time.

At a court hearing today, prosecutors announced they would not pursue a murder charge, meaning she is now expected to walk free having already served eight years.

Prosecutor Caroline Carberry QC said a manslaughter plea was accepted following a psychiatric report which concluded Mrs Challen was suffering an ‘adjustment disorder’.

Georgina Challen, known as Sally, arrives at the Old Bailey ahead of a hearing today

Georgina Challen, known as Sally, arrives at the Old Bailey ahead of a hearing today

She faces a retrial over the murder of her husband Richard Challen

She faces a retrial over the murder of her husband Richard Challen

Georgina Challen, known as Sally, arrives at the Old Bailey ahead of a hearing today. She faces a retrial over the murder of her husband Richard Challen (right)

Mrs Challen was supported by her son James, right, who has backed her case

Mrs Challen was supported by her son James, right, who has backed her case

Mrs Challen was supported by her son James, right, who has backed her case

The decision comes at the end of a long campaign by her two sons, James and David, who have supported her since she was first charged.

Mrs Challen lashed out at her husband Richard, 61, at their £1million Surrey home, bludgeoning him with a hammer more than 20 times.

At her trial in Guildford in 2011, the prosecution portrayed her as a jealous wife hell-bent on revenge and she was sentenced to life, with a minimum of 18 years.

But at her appeal, the mother-of-two’s legal team said that a 2015 change in the law that makes exerting ‘coercive or controlling behaviour’ a criminal offence should now be taken into consideration.

Mrs Challen was accompanied to the Old Bailey by her sons, James and David, as well as her brother, Chris Jenney.

Her son David previouslu described the history of abuse his mother had suffered in a TV interview. He said: ‘It’s important to state that my mother met my father when she was 15 and he was 22.

‘Her father died when she was five and her brothers were at university at the time. So the male influence in her life was initially from my father. And parameters were set early on with an infidelity.

‘I think 16 to 56 you’ve got a pressure cooker going of a world that’s built around him and she only knows one relationship. And she can’t diagnose it and I think a lot of people in the country are in a similar situation.’

Mrs Challen was hugged by her brother, Chris Jenney, as she arrived at the Old Bailey

Mrs Challen was hugged by her brother, Chris Jenney, as she arrived at the Old Bailey

Mrs Challen was hugged by her brother, Chris Jenney, as she arrived at the Old Bailey

Mrs Challen's other son David also accompanied her to court today for the new hearing

Mrs Challen's other son David also accompanied her to court today for the new hearing

Mrs Challen’s other son David also accompanied her to court today for the new hearing

 

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