On a Saturday morning in August 2010 my mother, Sally Challen, 56, killed my father, Richard Challen, 61, at the family home with a hammer to the head 20 times. The next day my mother drove me to work whilst my father’s body lay undiscovered on the family kitchen floor, I stepped out of the car and she made a point to tell me she loved me. Afterwards she drove to Beachy Head to end her life before she was arrested and convicted of murder.
In 2015 coercive control was made an offence, in turn it not only helped provide a deeper understanding of domestic abuse in acknowledging psychological and emotional violence it helped provide a language for what my brother and I witnessed . It gave my brother and I a voice to speak out.
We campaigned for over 2 years to bring to light a true understanding of the events that led to our father’s death and in February this year we successfully quashed our mother's murder conviction. In June our mother was released from prison on the grounds of diminished responsibility and returned to the family.