September 15, 2019
Sally Challen and her victim. She has that innocent look in her eyes.
Women are never responsible for their actions, which is why we must have Equality and give them the same rights and pretend they’re independent.
The figure walking across the dark car park was one Sally Challen recognised immediately. Of course she did.
After 30 years of marriage she would have known that gait, that profile, anywhere. It was her husband Richard, locking his car and jauntily trotting across the road — straight through the doors of a well-known local brothel.
Sally’s heart was pounding as conflicting emotions ripped through her. Fury, that he was betraying her, his loyal wife. Disgust that he was paying prostitutes — women who were likely damaged and exploited — for sex. And triumph, that she’d ‘got’ him at last.
He couldn’t wriggle his way out of this one. Finally, he’d have to own up to his appalling behaviour.
An hour passed, and there he was again, returning to his car. ‘He saw me and legged it,’ she says.
A farcical scene ensued as they raced their cars through the Christmas-lit streets of suburban Surbiton, with Sally screeching to a halt outside the family home three miles away in Claygate, Surrey. But Richard had got there first.
‘I ran into the kitchen and found him calmly making a cup of tea,’ says Sally. ‘I shouted that I’d just seen him coming out of a brothel and he looked me straight in the eye and said, ‘what are you talking about, Sally? I’ve just been out selling someone a car. Honestly, I don’t know where you get these ideas. You’re bloody going mad.’
She’d caught him red-handed, but his indignant, flat denials were so convincing it left her thinking that perhaps she was going mad. In the face of such certainty and insouciance, who wouldn’t have been left doubting themselves?
If one incident sums up the devastating mind games that Sally Challen was subjected to during her marriage to Richard, it is surely this one.
…and that’s why Sally killed her husband with a hammer. Because he had sex with prostitutes and lied about it.
But the ‘brothel incident’, as Sally calls it, was just one in a huge, painful dossier of horrifically cruel and controlling behaviour she endured throughout her entire adult life at the hands of the man she still, to this day, describes as ‘the love of my life’.
Oh, wait, there’s more? Why start the story with the “brothel incident” if there are worse incidents that made her kill her husband?
There are worse incidents, right?
The torment Sally suffered left no bruises. No one had a clue what was truly going on until the day, in August 2010, when she finally snapped and killed Richard in a brutal hammer attack.
Driven to breaking point, she inflicted at least 18 blows as he sat eating a meal, before covering his body with blankets, changing out of her blood-spattered clothes and driving away with a plan to commit suicide.
Painted as a vengeful, jealous wife in court, Sally spent nine years in prison for murder.
But a change in the law in 2015, when coercive control finally became an offence, enabled Sally to appeal her conviction, which ultimately led to her charge being reduced to manslaughter.
Her legal team were able to argue that she was incapable of making a cold-blooded, premeditated decision to kill Richard, as all rational reasoning had been destroyed by the years of abuse she’d suffered.
Having been released from prison earlier this year, her case is now cited as one of the most shocking examples of coercive control the UK has seen. It has set people thinking about what goes on behind closed doors.
If you are mean to women, the law allows them to kill you.
Starting today, in a series of shattering exclusive interviews —Sally’s first — she describes the moment she ended the life of the man she never stopped loving.
She recalls how she was pressured into an abortion by him as a teenager, and the numerous times he raped her during their long marriage, as well as his constant lies and many affairs.
She tells how her sons, who only became aware of the full extent of her suffering after their father’s death, have stood by her, of surviving nine years in prison and how she is now rebuilding her life as a campaigner for other abused women.
How convenient that her husband isn’t alive to defend himself against these allegations. How suspicious that her sons were never aware of her suffering before she killed their father.
Sally Challen, the anti-abuse campaigner.
How predictable that she’s now a role model for abused women.
At 17, having had no sex education and with Richard not having instigated contraception either, the inevitable happened; she became pregnant.
Sally says her mother was horrified. When her brothers confronted Richard, he commented: ‘Well I wasn’t the first.’ It wasn’t true.
‘I didn’t think Richard would like it [the prospect of having a baby] so an abortion was the only option,’ says Sally.
Even at the outset, she knew he had a wandering eye, yet with no other experience of men, Sally had no template for what a healthy relationship should look like.
‘I just thought the way he treated me was normal. I didn’t know any better. I was always trying to please him because I thought if I didn’t, he’d leave me.’
…and that’s why women must take ALL the dicks in — so they can make an informed decision and pick the one they like the most.
How else are they supposed to know if they’re being abused?
The college experience is preventing women from killing their husbands with hammers.
Yet Sally never once thought she deserved more. ‘He was my better,’ she says simply. ‘Richard was good looking, charming and attentive when he wanted to be.
‘He was very popular. I felt he was a catch.’ But what about Richard’s feelings for Sally?
BUT HE TRICKED HER!!! He wasn’t really a catch! She was the catch all along!
The couple married in 1979. ‘On the day of my wedding, my mother said, ‘You don’t have to marry him, you know.’ Sally just thought she was being a snob.
After the wedding, Richard expected Sally to do all the housework, cooking and washing, even though she also had a full-time job with the Police Federation.
His business was also doing well, and with his good looks and charm, Richard was a brilliant salesman. He had a Ferrari and expensive suits. Sally was always immaculately dressed and coiffed.
But despite working, she had no financial independence. ‘I gave Richard my salary. He gave me cash to do the shopping with. That was the way he worked. We didn’t have a joint bank account.’
When the boys were born, the entire workload of child-rearing fell to Sally. She still strived to please Richard: the undercurrent of fear that he would leave her was always there.
No wonder she killed him.
Imagine trying to provide for your family to the best of your ability while expecting your wife to raise the kids — absolute domestic abuse!
Early in 2009, Sally had had enough, after seeing a news item where the brothel he had been to was raided and the police found the girls had been trafficked.
She’d started and stopped divorce proceedings five times —but this time she was serious.
They were on a family holiday in Malta when she blurted out: ‘I don’t love you any more. I want a divorce. He said: ‘Well, you know you won’t get anything.’
‘That was his reaction. He didn’t say, ‘please don’t leave me, I love you’. At first, I was euphoric, thinking, ‘I can start a new life’.’
She left Richard, bought a house nearby (with money inherited from her mother) and moved in with her younger son David who was, by now, in his early 20s and fully aware of his father’s shortcomings.
James stayed with Richard for a while, before moving out himself. It didn’t last. ‘I absolutely hated it,’ says Sally. ‘I couldn’t sleep, I was on my own. I couldn’t cope without him.’
That may seem strange given the horrors she’d endured, but Richard had defined her whole adult life. He was all she knew.
In one email, sent on April 6, 2010, she wrote: ‘I want to be with you, I am sorry I left. We are soulmates, we have been together so long, I can’t see a future without you. You are my life, I love you.’
Richard replied: ‘I will consider your return only on these terms . . . when we go out together it means together. This constant talking to strangers is rude and inconsiderate. We will agree to items in the home together. To give up smoking. To give up your constant interruptions when I am speaking.’
He also insisted that in any future divorce her settlement would be £200,000 — a fraction of what she was entitled to. Sally promised to obey all the rules.
To give up smoking? To stop interrupting him? To stop talking to random people and ignoring him when they are out together?
What a demanding monster!
On August 13, 2010, the day before she killed Richard, Sally went to a lawyer in Kingston upon Thames to go through the post-nuptial agreement.
The solicitor thought it was a terrible idea, but Sally ignored her. To mark their reconciliation, she and Richard were planning a six-month trip to Australia together.
The following day, she visited Richard at the marital home. They were clearing it out with a view to letting it while they were abroad. ‘He announced he wanted a cooked breakfast even though it was the afternoon,’ says Sally.
‘Sausage, egg and bacon. But he didn’t have anything in the house, so it meant going to Somerfield. It was pouring down, but even so, I was expected to go to the shops, which I did. I felt he wanted me out of the house and the breakfast was an excuse.’
When Sally returned just after 3pm, Richard was upstairs getting dressed. ‘I noticed that the phone handset was now on the sofa — it hadn’t been when I left — so I dialled 1471.’
Sally had a set of keys to the marital home and had been coming in and clandestinely checking his online activity and emails. She recognised the number as belonging to a woman Richard had met on a dating website.
Nothing had changed. Richard hadn’t changed. ‘I cooked the meal. He was upstairs on the computer. As soon as I went upstairs, he blanked the screen.
…and that’s why she killed him.
‘Then Richard came downstairs, sat down and I put his meal in front of him and I said, ‘Am I going to see you tomorrow?’
‘He said, ‘Don’t question me, Sally, don’t question me’.
‘And it was the way he said it, and it was what he used to say to me always, ‘Don’t question me, because you’re not going to get an answer, so don’t even bother going there.’ And that was it . . . I just flipped.’
Now THAT’s why she killed him.
For real this time.
Sally had brought a hammer with her to the house in her handbag — something the prosecution leaned on heavily during her trial.
‘When I moved out of the marital home someone had put together a toolbox for me so I would have one at the new house and it was the hammer in there,’ she explains.
Today, Sally swears she has no memory of putting it in her bag. ‘Although I must have done, because it was there, it was in my handbag.’
“It just happened.”
Then came the horrifying moment that changed her life for ever and ended her husband’s.
‘I went behind him as he sat at the table, eating his meal. I picked the hammer up and hit him over the head with it. I hit him and I hit him and hit him and hit him.
‘It was like an out-of-body experience, it wasn’t me doing it. I’d never hit him before. I’d never hit anyone before in my life — I don’t remember smacking James or David ever.
Of course it wasn’t you hitting him, Sally! It was him hitting himself in the back of the head with a hammer using your hands just like he used your body for his own sick pleasure so many times before! He did this to himself! He did it!
‘The prosecution say I hit him 18 times, which seems like a ridiculous amount. I can’t believe that — it didn’t feel like that.
‘It felt like I was on some sort of autopilot. Richard was on the floor. I knew that he was dead because I felt his skin. He wasn’t breathing. I rubbed his leg.
‘Then I went through to the garage and found some old blankets. I brought them over and I covered him up. I didn’t want David or anyone to find him like that, to see that . . . I wrote on a piece of paper: ‘I love you, Sally,’ and placed it on his body.‘
What a heart-warming love story.