Millionaire who left girlfriend to die fails in prison sentence appeal
Justice has prevailed after a millionaire businessman who left his girlfriend to die at the bottom of the stairs failed in his bid to have his prison sentence cut, campaigners and politicians have declared.
John Broadhurst's decision to fight his 44-month sentence for the manslaughter of Natalie Connolly sparked outrage, particularly as the original sentence was criticised as being too short.
Labour's Harriet Harman was one of the most prominent critics of the sentence. She re-tweeted condemnation of the appeal on her Twitter account after it was revealed by the Express & Star this week.
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The appeal was dismissed by senior judges on Thursday. Broadhurst left Ms Connolly bleeding to death at their Kinver home after a drink-and-drugs-fuelled "rough sex session" in December 2016 and described her as "dead as a donut" to emergency services.
The 26-year-old mother-of-one had sustained more than 40 injuries and a post-mortem showed she died from acute alcohol intoxication and blunt force injuries.
Broadhurst, 41, was cleared of murder but admitted manslaughter. Part of the basis of his appeal was that he too drunk to help Ms Connolly but this was dismissed by Court of Appeal judges.
Her death sparked a push for the law to be changed around women who are killed during violence the accused claimed they consented to - dubbed the 'Fifty Shades' defence. Broadhurst was accused of beating Ms Connolly with his fists and causing a series of other injuries during the masochistic session.
Fiona Makenzie, from a campaign group set up following Ms Connolly's death, We Can't Consent to This, said she was incredibly relieved by the judges' decision.
She said: "This already appallingly-short sentence caused outrage last year, and this campaign was set up in response.
"It's telling that this man - who caused Natalie dreadful injury - believed himself still too harshly punished, but we are incredibly relieved that he has not succeeded today."
The group is backing a bid by former Labour deputy leader Ms Harman and Wyre Forest Parliamentary candidate Mark Garnier to amend the Domestic Abuse Bill, to stop the "Fifty Shades" defence and also prevent murder charges from being downgraded to manslaughter, unless approved by the Director for Public Prosecutions.
Mr Garnier said it would have been a "slap in the face" for Ms Connolly and her family if Broadhurst had been successful. It could have seen him eligible for release within months, as he has already served a year behind bars.
He said: "Justice prevails. It would have been incredibly depressing if he had won, so I'm delighted he stays in jail."
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