United Kingdom

Tycoon, 41, whose 'rough sex' excuse led to legal defence being banned will be FREE within days

A millionaire businessmen whose 'rough sex' excuse for why he killed his girlfriend led to the legal defence being banned is set to be freed from jail within days. 

John Broadhurst is set to be released in early October - less than halfway through his sentence. 

The killer was sentenced to  three years and eight months in December 2018 over the death of Natalie Connolly.

The 26-year-old victim was left to die in a pool of blood at the bottom of a flight of stairs at their home in Kenrose Mill, Staffordshire, two years earlier.   

Broadhurst was jailed for three years and eight months after admitting manslaughter by gross negligence, but is set to walk free from jail within days 

Natalie Connolly, 26, (pictured left) was left to die in a pool of blood at the bottom of a flight of stairs in the home she shared with John Broadhurst (pictured right)

If he is freed as expected, he will have served just 22 months of the sentence.

Two separate sources confirmed to the Birmingham Mail they had been told multi-millionaire John Broadhurst would be released in early October. 

Birmingham Crown Court heard in December 2018 how Miss Connolly suffered more than 40 injuries, including a 'blow-out' fracture to her left eye, bruising and internal injuries.

During the trial the prosecution argued the injuries to her eye were consistent with 'punch or toe-poke kicks'. 

Mother-of-one Miss Connolly had also suffered horrific internal injuries which it was claimed were inflicted during a grisly sex game involving a bottle of 1001 Carpet Cleaner. 

Broadhurst admitted leaving Miss Connolly unsupervised and failing to contact the emergency services in circumstances where 'a risk of death as a result of her condition would have been obvious'.

He admitted a charge of manslaughter by gross negligence as he stood trial accused of murder and causing grievous bodily harm.

Miss Connolly's death attracted national attention and led to the 'rough sex defence', which claims that the victim consented to the injuries which caused their death, being banned

Miss Connolly was discovered in a pool of blood in the couple's £600,000 home in Kinver, Staffordshire after an S&M sex session (pictured)

Broadhurst claimed he had only hurt her 'within the boundaries of her masochistic desires'. 

He was cleared of murder on the direction of the judge following legal submissions. 

What is the 'rough sex defence' and how has it changed? 

The so-called 'rough sex defence', also known as the '50 shades of grey' defence, was seen in UK courts in cases of sexual violence. 

It was used in cases that end in murder or serious harm, to explain why the violence occurred. 

The defence was highlighted in the case of of 21-year-old Essex backpacker Grace Millane in New Zealand.

Her killer was eventually sentenced to life in prison but Louise Perry, who co-runs We Can't Consent To This, a group that raises awareness of the 'rough sex' defence, said sentencing is often reduced.

An amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill has prevented 'consensual rough sex' from being a defence to harming or killing a victim.

MPs voted in favour of the bill on July 6 2020 in the Commons - its final legislative hurdle. 

The new bill now rules out 'consent for sexual gratification' as a defence for causing a person any serious harm.

It now now prevents 'consensual rough sex' from being a defence to harming or killing a victim. 

The bill still needs to be debated in the House of Lords later this year, where it is widely expected to pass.

At the time, Broadhurst's sentence was blasted as 'unduly lenient' by prominent figures, including Labour MP Harriet Harman. 

Campaigners also held up Miss Connolly's death as an example of why the 'rough sex' defence should be banned.

The tragedy led to a change in the law with the scrapping of the so-called 'rough sex defence' - the claim the victim consented to injuries which caused their death. 

Wyre Forest MP, Mark Garnier, together with Labour MP Harriet Harman, championed the change.

The Government has since amended its Domestic Abuse Bill, which now prevents 'consensual rough sex' from being a defence to harming or killing a victim. 

Campaigners also supported Miss Connolly's family in trying to extend Broadhurst's sentence, but it has now emerged that he will soon go free. 

Mr Garnier - who was Miss Connolly's MP before she moved in with Broadhurst - previously said: 'Natalie's death is the stuff of nightmares.

'What we hope to achieve from it is a way to make sure that people take more responsibility for their actions, and that killers get the right sentences, whilst victims get justice.

'The case of my constituent Natalie Connolly, and the woeful under performance of the system with regards her killer John Broadhurst, highlighted a rising menace of justice game-playing by killers and abusers.'

He added: 'There is no justice in this. There never has been for Natalie. 

'She was deprived of her life and of her reputation by this man and he got 18 months for it.

'Natalie Connolly was not someone who was into rough sex. 

'This was Broadhurst using it. 

'She was a just a fairly normal, fun-loving mother who, like most people, wanted a nice, happy relationship with someone she loved.'

At the time of Broadhurst's sentencing, Miss Connolly's relatives said: 'Natalie was a loving and caring daughter, granddaughter, and sister, but above all she was a loving mother to her 10-year old daughter, who now has to grow up without her Mummy by her side.

'She will to have to live a life sentence without her Mummy. Natalie was, and still is at the centre of our world, and we will all try to rebuild our lives knowing we will no longer have the beauty, the joy and the happiness of having Natalie by our side.'

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