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Men who kill partners after 'rough sex' will now face even longer in jail, Justice Secretary tells LBC

14 February 2024, 00:03 | Updated: 14 February 2024, 01:44

The killers of Natalie Connolly (left) and Grace Millane (right) used 'rough sex' defences. Ms Connolly was killed in 2016 by John Broadhurst during acts of violent intercourse. Ms Millane was killed while travelling in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2018
The killers of Natalie Connolly (left) and Grace Millane (right) used 'rough sex' defences. Ms Connolly was killed in 2016 by John Broadhurst during acts of violent intercourse. Ms Millane was killed while travelling in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2018. Picture: Handout
Natasha Clark

By Natasha Clark

Men who kill their partners after 'rough sex' will face even longer in prison under new rules, the Justice Secretary has told LBC.

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Alex Chalk said that ministers would beef up rules around sentencing to make sure offenders are punished more for causing death through "abusive, degrading or dangerous sexual behaviour".

That will be a new aggravating factor which judges will have to take into account when giving criminals prison time.

He told LBC that those who want to perform abusive sex with their partners should know they will be severely punished if "it all goes wrong".

He said: "We have decided to change the law so that those who kill their partners through abusive, dangerous or degrading sexual behaviours can expect tougher sentences than ever before.

"We want the message to go out that those who literally take their partners life into their own hands for sexual graftication, they can expect to go to prison for longer, if it all goes wrong."

Natalie Connolly (pictured) was killed in 2016 by John Broadhurst during acts of violent sexual intercourse. Broadhurst was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence and relied on the ‘rough sex’ murder defence
Natalie Connolly (pictured) was killed in 2016 by John Broadhurst during acts of violent sexual intercourse. Broadhurst was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence and relied on the ‘rough sex’ murder defence. Picture: Handout

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It comes after MPs banned killers from using the so-called 'rough sex defence' to try and get less time behind bars back in 2020.

The Domestic Abuse Act meant killers could no longer say "consent for sexual gratification" was a defence for causing someone harm to try and get them off their charges, and could not consent to their own death.

Today's announcement will mean killers will be locked up for longer if they cause death after abuse or dangerous sexual behaviour - like saying they were engaging in rough sex.

It will apply to all manslaughter cases, and mean that courts can consider the context of abuse and control when sentencing someone.

The Government also announced a new independent adviser to the Rape Review - after the previous one quit last year.

Professor Katrin Hohl will take on the role as ministers launch a new campaign to promote their Victims Code to try and better support victims.

Brit Grace Millane was murdered while travelling in Auckland, New Zealand, in December 2018. Jesse Shane Kempson, was charged with her murder and initially claimed a case of consensual "rough sex" gone wrong
Brit Grace Millane was murdered while travelling in Auckland, New Zealand, in December 2018. Jesse Shane Kempson, was charged with her murder and initially claimed a case of consensual "rough sex" gone wrong. Picture: Handout

Former rape adviser Emily Hunt said myths about rape were being peddled at the highest levels of the civil service and police.

She said she was returning to America as she didn't feel safe in the UK - including reporting crimes to our cops.

New stats out today claim to show that adult rape prosecutions are approaching the highest levels seen at any point since 2014.

But tens of thousands are still waiting for their cases to come to court.

Mr Chalk insisted that the justice system was not broken, saying “more people are being prosecuted than in 2010, the conviction rate is higher.”

He stressed: “Every day of every week... up and down England and Wales, People are getting justice. People who have betrayed trust, robbed innocents and shattered lives are getting lengthy sentences.”

But he admitted: “Of course there are things we want to improve.”

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