Landmark ruling as woman who killed husband with a hammer granted retrial

sally challen

Sarah Challen will face a new murder trial (Credit: Family Handout)

Sarah Challen, the woman who killed her husband with a hammer at their home in Surrey in 2010, will face a new murder trial a panel of judges has ruled.

The 65-year old has never denied killing husband, Richard Challen, 61, but denied murder claiming diminished responsibility.

She was convicted of murdering her car-dealer husband by striking him repeatedly over the head with a hammer. She hit him over twenty times before wrapping his body in a curtain.

Over the two-day hearing, the court heard from a psychiatrist that, at the time of the killing, Challen was suffering from two mental disorders.

Her lawyers argue that she would have faced the lesser charge of manslaughter had the coercive or controlling behaviour offence, as part of the Serious Crime Act 2015, been in place at the time of the trial in June 2011.

Lady Justice Hallett 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 not available at the time of the trial and the court quashed the conviction and ordered a retrial.”

Coercive control is a term of domestic abuse that aims to control a victim’s behaviour and restrict their liberty and freedom.

Justice for Women, who campaign on behalf of female victims of domestic abuse, worked with Challen for a retrial.

Her son, David, 31, has also been outspoken in his support for his mother and said:

“…a lot of good can come from this for my mother and for anyone else suffering from mental domestic abuse in reference to coercive control”

The court said the new murder charge must be put to Challen within the next two months.

She has already served eight years of her 22 year sentence.

Missed today’s headlines?

Liam Mackay and Emer Harrison have today’s front page round-up.

Read about Nicola Sturgeon’s £200,000 pledge.

 

Beating the boobie blues

Three local artists help to raise awareness of breast cancer

Left to right: Kathleen Moodie, Jennifer Colquhoun and Beth Lamont.

Step 1: Touch. Step 2: Look. Step 3: Check. T-L-C. While there is no definitive method for checking your breasts for signs and symptoms of breast cancer, UK charity Breast Cancer Now are asking you to try a little TLC. Early detection is crucial in treating and beating the disease – most cases of breast cancer are first found by women themselves.

This October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and fundraising events have been taking place across the country to support this issue. On 19th October, three Edinburgh-based artists got together at Custom Lane in Leith to raise money and awareness for a disease that one in eight women in the UK will develop in their lifetime.

The collaborative project, Boobzapalooza, headed by knitwear designer Kathleen Moodie is a ‘month-long celebration of all things breast’. Together with scientific illustrator Jennifer Colquhoun and ceramic jewellery designer Beth Lamont, they have designed limited-edition boob-related art that will be sold throughout the month with 40% of the proceeds going directly to Breast Cancer Now.

The Boob Arc Necklace, K.Boobs Booble Hat and The Boob Print are all for sale throughout October.

What made you choose this particular breast cancer charity?

Kathleen Moodie: “I have a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer at 24 and she’s an ambassador for Breast Cancer Now and she suggested to go for them. Partly because they are registered in Scotland as well, so the money is coming from Scotland and staying in Scotland, that for her is something that is really important. It was something that none of us had thought of. We just thought, ‘oh, yeah we’ll pick a breast cancer charity and it will be great’, and Victoria said, ‘you’ve got to make sure it’s a Scottish one’ and it makes so much sense.” 

Breast Cancer Now is the UK’s largest breast cancer charity.

The event is about making breast cancer less scary and approaches the disease in a fun and direct way. Why is that important?

Jennifer Colquhoun: “Last year, I found a lump in my own breast and I was terrified. I thought that was me because a few years ago my aunt died of breast cancer, so it was in the family. But it turns out mine was a fibroadenoma which is a benign tumour. It’s also commonly known as the breast mouse which I thought was hilarious. I really wanted to do a picture of the breast mouse but nobody really knew what I was talking about.”

A customer tries on Kathleen Moodie’s Booble Hat.

Why do you think the arts is a good way of talking about and addressing big issues such as breast cancer?

Beth Lamont: “I guess it just gives it a tangible thing. You can still donate money, but you get to take something away. The next time someone is wearing their pink necklace someone can be like, oh I like that’ and you can be like, ‘oh it was actually for this charity’ and you talk about it again. Though they are only on sale for the month that conversation will hopefully keep on going because of that product, that piece of art, that hat, is not going to go away.”

The Boobzapalooza event held at Custom Lane, Leith.

The limited-edition pieces are available throughout October and can be purchased online here.

 

Older people in Edinburgh face loneliness crisis this winter

Yesterday marked almost thirty years of the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons, and, in a few hours, Age Scotland will hold their 75th anniversary event at Holyrood, with a speech from Christina McKelvie, the Minister for Older People and Equalities.

According to local charity, Vintage Vibes, who tackle loneliness and isolation in the over 60s in Edinburgh, there are approximately 11,000 chronically lonely older people in the capital – less than 5% of these individuals are supported through programmes like the Vintage Vibes befriending project.

In Scotland, loneliness in older people is particularly pertinent. “We’re getting older, faster than the rest of the UK,” Age Scotland states. “Loneliness is a growing public health crisis and is as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.”

Earlier this year, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman, launched a national draft strategy to address the growing problem of loneliness and isolation. Freeman said: “We are leading the way when it comes to tackling this and will be the first country in the UK, and one of the first in the world, to develop a national strategy to address loneliness and isolation.”

However, nearly six months after the end of the consultation period, Age Scotland claims the project has become “sluggish”.

Today, Conservative MSP Jeremy Balfour, outlined what he believes happened: “I think the strategy was good on paper but has not been followed up properly by Scottish government. I think we need to now go out and actually put some meat onto the bones.

“We can have as many strategies as we want but unless we are actually implementing them in local communities then it won’t work. I think we need to take these ideas an engage people locally and then get on and do it.”

By Emer Harrison

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