Misogyny At It’s Worst #HerNameWasNatalieConnolly

#HerNameWasNatalieConnolly
Natalie Connolly’s case has weighed heavy on my mind. My stomach turned when I read the injuries she suffered and the sentence that was handed out this week. I felt compelled to write to the Attorney General about this unduly lenient sentence and am sharing what I wrote below. There should be a national outcry about this case and the precedent that it sets.

May I ask that you please take five minutes out of your day to do the same. This could have been your daughter, sister or friend. E-mail uls.referrals@attorneygeneral.gov.uk 


Dear Attorney General,

I am writing to you regarding the sentencing of John Broadhurst at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday 17 December 2018. Justice Julian Knowles sentenced Broadhurst to 3 years and 8 months for the manslaughter of Natalie Connolly.

By way of introduction, I worked with Harriet Harman MP to implement the Domestic Homicide Reviews in 2004 and have sadly analysed hundreds of domestic violence murders on behalf of New Scotland Yard and the Home Office.

I am the Former Head of the Sexual Offences Section and Homicide Prevention Unit at New Scotland Yard and successfully spearheaded the Stalking and Domestic Violence Law Reform campaigns. I am the Founder of Paladin National Stalking Advocacy Service and have assisted and advised thousands of victims over my 22 year career.

I am extremely concerned about the unduly lenient sentence handed out after John Broadhurst admitted to killing Natalie Connolly and the message this sends out. This is not justice.

When Broadhurst called the police the next morning, he said Natalie was “as dead as a ‘doughnut.” This is not remorseful behaviour.

According to a paramedic and first responders, he showed no remorse at the scene for what he had done.

Despite the evidence that was presented at court, the fact that Natalie had received 40 separate injuries including some serious internal trauma, a ‘blow out” fractured eye socket, facial wounds and was bleeding heavily, the murder charge was reduced to manslaughter half way through the trial.

Yet Broadhurst was alleged to have inflicted blunt force trauma to her head, buttock and breast before spraying her with bleach.

He inserted a bottle into her vagina. It broke whist he was trying to remove it. What is more, he left her at the bottom of the stairs, bloodied and alone. He admitted that he knew she was bleeding. Regardless, he still went to bed and slept. He did not at any time attempt to seek a medical intervention.

It is unlikely she consented to any of the above and given her alcohol levels, it is even more unlikely. Women do not consent to being brutalised and murdered.

What evidence was presented that they were a happy couple in a “loving relationship”? This was his account and his narrative. The victim is not alive to tell us hers. However, the context and Natalie’s injuries reveal a narrative that is far more convincing and plausible and that is one of sexual violence, control and revenge. 

In fact, jurors were also told that Broadhurst wanted to “teach her a lesson” and ‘lost it” after she had been sending topless pictures of herself to another man. Her injuries are much more in keeping with this narrative.

Natalie could not and would not have consented to what he did to her.

Natalie’s death has been characterised and justified as ‘rough sex’ and a mistake by her partner due to a loss of control. This is sexual violence and it is not about loss of control, but rather him taking control. 

Natalie has been blamed in her own death, which is unconscionable, and this will open the door to other similar defences if the perpetrator says that the victim consented. The fact that Broadhurst was and is a millionaire living the “high life” should not be relevant but I believe this has played a part. This is misogyny at its worst and Natalie, her family and society deserve better than this.

I, along with many others, am counting on you to urgently review this sentence.

Respectfully,

Laura Richards

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