Public outcry over man’s ’50 Shades of Grey’ defence for killing girlfriend

The case has sparked outrage across the UK.

There’s been widespread public outcry after multi-millionaire property developer John Broadhurst was last week convicted of manslaughter over the 2016 death of girlfriend Natalie Connolly during “rough sex”.

The UK father-of-three was sentenced to just over three years behind bars after the 26-year-old’s body was found at his home. The mother-of-one had suffered 40 seperate, horrific injuriesincluding a fractured eye socket, facial wounds, serious internal trauma and was bleeding heavily. A post-mortem found she died from acute alcohol intoxication and blunt force injuries.

The court heard that the couple had been drinking heavily and using drugs before engaging in BDSM-style sex. The next morning Broadhurst told a emergency operator that he had found Connolly “dead as a doughnut” after she fell asleep downstairs.

Prosecutors alleged that Broadhurst may have wanted to “teach Natalie a lesson” and “lost it” after finding out she had been speaking to two ex-boyfriends and another man. He was also accused of “[covering] his tracks” after he admitted to spraying her face with bleach “because I didn’t want her to… look a mess.”

Prosecutors told the jury that, “Whatever may have started willingly, there is no way that Natalie either consented to or was able to consent to what John Broadhurst did to her after that, leading to her untimely, unseemly and tragic death”.

Labour MP Harriet Harman labelled it the “50 Shades of Grey defence” as she slammed the sentencing. Harman has called for a formal review, questioning why the prosecution did not proceed with a murder charge.  

“We cannot have a situation where men kill women and blame them,” she told the BBC.

“No man will ever be accused of murder again if he can always say, ‘yes she’s injured, she wanted it’, she will never be able to say, ‘no I didn’t’ because he’s killed her and therefore she hasn’t got a voice.”

The attorney general has stated that he is reviewing the case after a seperate public submission and he has 28 days to decide whether to refer it to the Court of Appeal.

This article originally appeared on marie claire Australia

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