Labour MP Harriet Harman has called on the Government’s top lawyer to review the ‘unduly lenient’ sentencing of a millionaire over the death of his girlfriend during ‘rough sex’.
Businessman John Broadhurst was jailed for three years and eight months over the death of Natalie Connolly following a drink and drug-fuelled sex session, after he left her bleeding and injured at the bottom of the stairs where she died.
He was cleared of murder and grievous bodily harm but convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of gross negligence.
Ms Harman said she was ‘horrified’ about the judge’s decision and the reference while sentencing to the fact the couple had been ‘happy together during their brief relationship’.
She said on Twitter: “A bit concerned about some extracts of the judges comments on sentencing.
“Of what relevance is it that they ‘had been happy during their brief relationship?’
“Who gave evidence of this ‘happy relationship?’ The offender? Not the victim, obviously, as he’d killed her.”
The MP later clarified: “I’ve read more about this judgment. Delete ‘a bit concerned’. Insert ‘horrified’.”
Ms Harman this morning asked Sir Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General, to consider whether the judge’s decision amounts to an unduly lenient sentencing.
She said: “He blames her for her own death, says she wanted his violence.
“She can’t give evidence as she’s dead. Men used to evade murder charge with ‘nagging & shagging’ defence.
“The 21st century version is the ’50 shades of grey’ defence. Cannot be allowed to stand.”
A paramedic told Broadhurst’s trial that the father-of-three appeared hungover and did not seem ‘unduly upset’ after finding his partner’s body at about 9.30am.
Miss Connolly 26, was pronounced dead on the morning of December 18 2016 after Broadhurst called paramedics to their home in Kenrose Mill, Kinver, near Stourbridge.
The court heard that Miss Connolly, who had suffered a “blow-out” fracture to her left eye, bruising and internal injuries, had told witnesses that she and the defendant had an interest in masochistic sex.
Passing sentence on Broadhurst on Monday at Birmingham Crown Court, Mr Justice Julian Knowles told the 40-year-old father-of-three: “You were capable of taking decisions and making choices. This was grossly irresponsible behaviour by you.
“You left that vulnerable young woman to die in the saddest and most avoidable of circumstances. You showed blatant disregard for a very drunk and injured woman.”