Landmark coercive control ruling: Survivor Sally Challen will not face a retrial


Sally Challen was convicted of murdering her husband Richard in 2011, following decades of emotional abuse. In light of a change in the law in 2015 recognising coercive control as a crime, Sally’s conviction was successfully appealed and overturned earlier this February; setting a precedent in terms of recognising the psychological impact of coercive control on victims.

On 7 June 2019, prosecutors accepted Sally’s manslaughter plea ahead of a second murder trial scheduled for next month. She has been sentenced to nine years and four months for manslaughter but has been released due to time served.

In response to the landmark coercive control ruling, Refuge’s CEO Sandra Horley said:

“Refuge is delighted that Sally Challen will no longer face a retrial for the murder of her husband. We strongly welcome the decision by prosecutors to accept her manslaughter plea on the grounds of diminished responsibility. Sally suffered decades of emotional abuse and coercive control by her husband before she killed him in 2010 and she has already served over eight years in prison following an earlier trial for murder.

“Eight out of 10 women supported by Refuge in 2017 had suffered psychological abuse, on average for a period of six years. The impact of non-physical abuse can be equally as devastating and long-lasting as physical abuse. Today’s ruling is a huge achievement on the part of her sons, David and James, who have tirelessly campaigned for the release of their mother.”

For more information, please email or call 0207 395 7731. Outside of working hours, please call 07970 894240.