Who is John Broadhurst? Tycoon whose rough sex excuse led to light sentence in girlfriend’s death may be freed
Natalie Connolly had suffered more than 40 injuries when she died at home in Kinver, Staffordshire, in 2016. These injuries included a 'blow-cut' fracture to her left eye, bruising and internal injuries. The mother-of-one sustained internal injuries that were later claimed to be inflicted during 'rough sex' that involved a bottle of 1001 Carpet Cleaner. The 26-year-old victim was left to die in a pool of blood at the bottom of a flight of stairs at their home two years earlier.
When her 41-year-old boyfriend John Broadhurst called emergency services, he told the 999 operator that he had found his partner "dead as a doughnut" at their home in December 2016. He had then claimed that the 26-year-old mother of one was injured as a result of consensual 'rough sex' fuelled by alcohol and drugs. He had admitted to leaving her unsupervised and failing to contact the emergency services in a situation where "a risk of death as a result of her condition would have been obvious." According to a BBC report, the couple had both been drinking heavily and had taken cocaine in the hours preceding her death. The level of alcohol in her blood was five times the legal limit for driving.
But now, after serving less than two years of his three years and eight-months sentence for the death of Natalie Connolly, the multi-millionaire could be released from prison in a matter of days. According to reports in Birmingham Live, two separate sources have revealed that they were told Broadhurst would be released in early October.
His case had changed the domestic abuse law. Broadhurst used the 'rough sex' excuse to explain the injuries on his girlfriend's body. His claim meant that the victim had consented to the injuries which led to her death. Following a campaign, this legal defense was banned.
If Broadhurst is freed from prison, he would have served only 22 months of his three years, eight months sentence. Many prominent leaders including Labour MP Harriet Harman, at the time, had criticized Broadhurst's sentence for being 'unduly lenient'. She along with Wyre Forest MP, Mark Garnier, championed the change in the law. The Government has since amended its Domestic Abuse Bill, which now prevents 'consensual rough sex' from being a defense to harming or killing a victim.
Garnier, who was Connolly's MP before she moved in with Broadhurst, had earlier reportedly said that her death is the "stuff of nightmares". "What we hope to achieve from it is a way to make sure that people take more responsibility for their actions, and that killers get the right sentences, whilst victims get justice," he had said according to a report in Birmingham Live. "The case of my constituent Natalie Connolly, and the woeful underperformance of the system with regards her killer John Broadhurst, highlighted a rising menace of justice game-playing by killers and abusers."
"There is no justice in this. There never has been for Natalie. She was deprived of her life and of her reputation by this man and he got 18 months for it," he added. "Natalie Connolly was not someone who was into rough sex. This was Broadhurst using it. She was a just a fairly normal, fun-loving mother who, like most people, wanted a nice, happy relationship with someone she loved."
According to a Daily Mail report, at the time of Broadhurst's sentencing, Connolly's family and relatives had said that she was "a loving and caring daughter, granddaughter, and sister, but above all she was a loving mother to her 10-year-old daughter, who now has to grow up without her mummy by her side."
"She will have to live a life sentence without her mummy. Natalie was, and still is at the center of our world, and we will all try to rebuild our lives knowing we will no longer have the beauty, the joy and the happiness of having Natalie by our side," they said.