A British millionaire’s light prison sentence over the death of his girlfriend, who was found at the bottom of a staircase in a pool of her own blood after a night of what has been called consensual “rough sex,” has inspired outrage in the country’s parliament.
Previously cleared of murder, businessman John Broadhurst, 40, last week pleaded guilty to manslaughter over the Dec. 2016 death of his girlfriend Natalie Connolly, and received a prison sentence of three years and eight months. Labour Member of Parliament Harriet Harman, who said she was "horrified" by the sentencing, has since called for a review of Broadhurst's punishment, according to Yahoo News UK.
Connolly, a 26-year-old receptionist, died in the Staffordshire home she shared with Broadhurst after suffering more than 40 separate injuries in the incident.. He reportedly told an emergency operator that he had found Connolly “dead as a doughnut,” according to the BBC.
Prosecutors claimed he "totally lost it" during their sex session, allegedly fueled by cocaine and alcohol. They said he left Connolly at the bottom of the stairs to die.
One prosecutor claimed Broadhurst attacked his girlfriend to "teach her a lesson" after he accused her of talking to other men, according to a November BBC report; Broadhurst admitted to spraying Connolly’s face with bleach after she died because he didn’t want her to “look a mess.”
However, prosecutors believed he was trying to cover up killing her. But the judge appeared to agree that it was manslaughter, not murder.
"You were capable of taking decisions and making choices,” a presiding judge said, the BBC reports. “This was grossly irresponsible behavior by you. You left that vulnerable young woman to die in the saddest and most avoidable of circumstances."
The judge noted that the couple appeared to be happy during their relationship.
Harman took to Twitter on Tuesday to express her outrage over the judge’s choice to give Broadhurst, a millionaire developer, just a few years behind bars for the woman’s death.
“Of what relevance is it that they ‘had been happy during their brief relationship?’” she asked. “Who gave evidence of this ‘happy relationship?’ The offender? Not the victim, obviously, as he’d killed her.”
Stephen Vullo, Broadhurst’s defense attorney, claimed his client didn’t know that Connolly would die despite the fact that she was bleeding after sex.
"He feels remorse for it and always has done," Vullo said in court last week, the BBC reports. "This case is about negligence and somebody losing a loved one."
[Photo Credit: Staffordshire Police]
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