A multi-millionaire property developer has been jailed for three years and eight months in the UK after leaving his bleeding and injured girlfriend to die after night of “rough sex.”
John Broadhurst, 40, was previously cleared of murder and causing grievous bodily harm at Birmingham Crown Court. He admitted and was sentenced to manslaughter by gross negligence after Natalie Connolly was left to die at the foot of the staircase in their home in Kinver, Staffordshire in December 2016.
The 26-year-old receptionist had suffered more than 40 injuries, including serious internal trauma, bruising, and a blow-out fracture to her left eye. She died of alcohol intoxication and blunt force injuries.
Broadhurst told a emergency operator that he had found Connolly “dead as a doughnut” after she fell asleep downstairs, and subsequently told paramedics that the two had drunk heavily, taken cocaine, and had “rough sex.” He told police that her injuries were the result of consensual sexual activity, and witnesses in court claimed that the couple were interested in BDSM.
Prosecutors alleged that Broadhurst had “totally lost it” on the night of Connolly’s death, and that he had attacked her to “teach her a lesson” after he may have discovered that she was speaking to two ex-boyfriends and another man. He was also accused of “[covering] his tracks” after he admitted to spraying her face with bleach “because I didn’t want her to… look a mess.”
The judge told Broadhurst during the sentencing on Monday: “You were capable of taking decisions and making choices. This was grossly irresponsible behaviour by you. You left that vulnerable young woman to die in the saddest and most avoidable of circumstances. You showed blatant disregard for a very drunk and injured woman."
Broadhurst's lawyer said in court: "He accepts he should have recognised the risk she was in and failed to do so. He feels remorse for it and always has done. This case is about negligence and somebody losing a loved one."
Connolly’s family said in a statement: “Our lives changed forever when we found out that Natalie had died. During the last five weeks we have had to endure hearing the most horrendous and harrowing evidence of how Broadhurst left Natalie at the bottom of the stairs bleeding and in clear need for medical help. Instead of getting Natalie the medical help she needed, Broadhurst chose to go to bed and sleep instead."
Adding, "It is now clear to us that the guilty admission made by Broadhurst shows the heartless way in which he left Natalie at the bottom of the stairs, without any concern for her dignity or wellbeing. He has demonstrated what a callous, disrespectful person he really is, and has never publicly apologized or shown any remorse for the cruel way in which he left my daughter."
There was widespread anger on social media as news of the sentencing broke, the Birmingham Mail reports. One Facebook user said: "He's laughing all the way there [to prison], will be out in 18 months easy."
Labour MP and Human Rights Committee chair Harriet Harman said on Twitter that she would write to the UK attorney general with a formal request to consider whether it was an "unduly lenient sentence."
“He blames her for her own death, says she wanted his violence,” Harman tweeted. “She can’t give evidence, as she’s dead. Men used to evade murder charge with ‘nagging & shagging’ defense. The 21st century version is the ‘50 shades of grey’ defense. Cannot be allowed to stand.”