Sally Challen Has Been Released On Bail Ahead Of Coercive Control 'Murder' Retrial
Sally Challen was convicted of her husband's murder after striking him repeatedly with a hammer and was sentenced to 22 years behind bars following a trial at Guildford Crown Court in 2011, a charge she's always denied.
The 65-year-old's sentence was later reduced by four years following an appeal, and she has served eight years behind bars.
Last month, Sally's murder conviction was quashed in a landmark ruling by the Court of Appeal after they heard how she'd suffered 40 years of controlling and coercive behaviour from her husband, Richard Challen.
Today, Sally learned she would walk free from prison ahead of her retrial, after a long-awaited bail application hearing at the Old Baily.
The Challens had been married for 31 years when Sally hit Richard over the head 20 times with a hammer in the kitchen of their Surrey home in August 2010.
During her trial, Sally denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility, and her sons, David and James, have always maintained her innocence, claiming she was the victim as a result of decades of psychological and emotional abuse at the hands of their father, who wouldn't allow her to leave the house without him.
Since Sally's conviction, the concept of controlling or coercive behaviour has become recognised in law as both a crime and a form of defence.
Defending Sally is Harriet Wistrich, co-founder of Justice for Women, who blocked the release of 'black cab rapist' John Worboys, and has helped release Sara Thornton, Emma Humphries and other women who killed their abusive partners.
Wistrich said new psychiatric evidence shows how Controlling or Coercive Behaviour can provide a much clearer framework for understanding the events that took place in the Challens' Surrey home that day.
Speaking outside of court after the bail application hearing, Sally's son David Challen said: "Today we are overjoyed that bail has been granted for our mother and she will be now released back to us. Our mother now rejoins our family."
Sally's retrial is due to begin at the Old Baily on 1st July.
Featured Image Credit: Family handout