21st December 2018

Recently John Broadhurst was sentenced to 3 years and 8 months imprisonment for the manslaughter of Natalie Connolly.  He had been on trial for murder and GBH, but entered a plea of guilty to the offence of manslaughter halfway through the trial. 

It was said by Broadhurst that Natalie, despite being very heavily intoxicated with both alcohol and cocaine, had not just consented but insisted that he beat her with a shoe and then insert a bottle of carpet cleaner into her vagina.  He had done so, and in the process ruptured a vaginal artery - an injury which she could have survived with emergency treatment, but which would inevitably kill her without that treatment.  When she passed out at the bottom of the stairs, he simply left her to die.   When emergency services attended the next day he told them she was "dead as a donut."  The judge accepted, notwithstanding that, that he was terribly remorseful.

There has been much said about the judge's sentencing remarks, which can be found here [LINK].  However, in the context of the sentencing guidelines [LINK],  little argument can be made.  The judge's job is to sentence "without fear or favour, affection or ill will" and however much ill will we as a society may bear Broadhurst for the entirely avoidable death of a woman, the judge cannot depart from the guidelines unless there are truly exceptional circumstances - and even then, would likely be appealed.  The only part at which a lawyer might raise an eyebrow is the full one third discount for a guilty plea when that plea came so late.

And yet there is no way that this sentence appears fair, just or proportionate.  A woman was brutally assaulted and died, due to a man's inactions in calling emergency services which could have saved her, and his actions which included not just beating her, but also inserting a bottle of carpet cleaner into her vagina, causing the ruptured artery when he broke it to get it out.  The judge noted that she was so drunk as to be staggering and talking 'gobbledygook' before passing out: the decision by the CPS to offer no evidence on the assault by penetration sits very uneasily with the comments on her state of intoxication.  The sentencing remarks appear to take Broadhurst's evidence of her desire for these activities at face value - her evidence, as always where a woman dies, is not available.  Would it be too much to assume that women never consent to death? 

Perhaps it is time for a separate sentencing guideline on male violence to women.  This could cover sexual violence and domestic abuse, from common assault to murder.  While women die at the hands of men at the rate of two a week, we cannot ignore this any longer, and we cannot pretend that just because an apparently lenient sentence is lawful, or even textbook in its application of the guidelines, that it is acceptable. Women deserve more. Natalie Connolly deserved more.

If you believe the brutal murder of a woman deserves more than 3 years, 8 months in prison, write to the Attorney General to demand an appeal. You have only 28 days to register this complaint. You can send a letter by post to:

Attorney General
Geoffrey Cox QC
5-8 The Sanctuary

or via e mail to:

If you need any help with wording, please cut, paste, amend and make the following your own and please share:

FAO Geoffrey Cox

I am writing to you to review the sentence of just 40 months of John Broadhurst at Birmingham Crown Court, following the brutal death of Natalie Connolly. Not only did she receive over 40 injuries, but she was callously left to die when medical intervention could have saved her life.

The so called mitigation of ‘rough sex gone wrong’ sets a dangerous precedent to excuse extreme violence against women. I therefore believe that this sentence is unduly lenient. I ask that this case is referred to the Court of Appeal.