Conviction of Sally Challen for murder of husband quashed and retrial ordered

A woman who killed her husband in a hammer attack has won a landmark appeal against her murder conviction.

Georgina Challen, known as Sally, says she killed 61-year-old Richard Challen in August 2010 after 40 years of being controlled and humiliated by him.

She was found guilty of his murder at Guildford Crown Court in 2011 and jailed for life.

But her conviction was overturned by judges at the Court of Appeal on Thursday who said that the evidence of a psychiatrist, that Challen was suffering from two mental disorders at the time of the killing, undermined the safety of her conviction.

Richard Challen
Richard Challen (Surrey Police/PA)

Challen, 65, who attended the appeal over a video link from HMP Bronzefield in Ashford, Surrey, was visibly emotional as she was told the outcome and there were cheers and applause from relatives and supporters in the public gallery.

However, the panel of three leading judges refused to substitute a manslaughter verdict and ordered that Challen must face a retrial for murder.

Lady Justice Hallett, sitting with Mr Justice Sweeney and Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb, said: "The Court of Appeal heard that, in the opinion of a consultant forensic psychiatrist, the appellant was suffering from two mental disorders at the time of the killing.

"This evidence was not available at the time of the trial and and the court quashed the conviction and ordered a retrial."

The judges rejected an application by Challen's lawyers for her to be released on bail.

Georgina Challen appeal
Sally Challen's son, David Challen, outside the Royal Courts of Justice (Yui Mok/PA)

At her trial, Challen, of Claygate, Surrey, admitted killing the former car dealer but denied murder, claiming diminished responsibility.

The prosecution case was that it was the action of a jealous woman who suspected infidelity.

She was jailed for life with a minimum term of 22 years, later reduced on appeal by four years.

Scores of supporters attended Challen's appeal on Wednesday and Thursday.

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