England

Millionaire admits killing girlfriend in sex session

John Broadhurst Image copyright Staffordshire Police
Image caption John Broadhurst will be sentenced on Monday

A multi-millionaire businessman accused of murdering his girlfriend during "rough sex" has admitted manslaughter.

John Broadhurst, 40, was cleared of murdering Natalie Connolly on the directions of the judge at his trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

Prosecutors had alleged the property developer "totally lost it" during a drink and drug-fuelled sex session.

Broadhurst of Wolverley, Worcestershire, will be sentenced on Monday.

Miss Connolly, 26, was pronounced dead on 18 December 2016 after Broadhurst called paramedics to their rented home in Kinver, Staffordshire.

The couple, who had recently moved into the property, had been at a football match at the Hawthorns before her death.

Staffordshire Police said the mother-of-one was found with 40 separate injuries at the bottom of the stairs.

After calling emergency services to say he had found his partner dead following her falling asleep downstairs, Broadhurst told emergency services his girlfriend was "dead as a donut", the force said.

He claimed her injuries were a result of consensual sexual activity, police said, and the court heard Miss Connolly had told witnesses she and the defendant had an interest in masochistic sex.

But the prosecution told jurors Broadhurst attacked his girlfriend to "teach her a lesson" after he may have found out she was talking to two ex-boyfriends and a new man.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The couple had been drinking heavily at a West Brom game before Ms Connolly died

Broadhurst admitted manslaughter by gross negligence by leaving her unsupervised and failing to contact the emergency services in circumstances where "a risk of death as a result of her condition would have been obvious".

Explaining the prosecution's decision to accept Broadhurst's plea to a lesser charge, David Mason QC told the court Miss Connolly's family were "consulted and are entirely content with the view that the prosecution have taken".

Broadhurst, who is said to have a fortune of around £15m, was also cleared of causing Miss Connolly grievous bodily harm.

Image copyright PA
Image caption John Broadhurst admitted manslaughter by gross negligence

Adjourning the case, trial judge Mr Justice Julian Knowles told Broadhurst: "You should be prepared for a custodial sentence of some length."

Det Insp Victoria Downing said: "Natalie was callously and cold-heartedly left fatally injured at the bottom of the stairs by Broadhurst, yet he didn't call for help until 9.30am and then showed total disregard for what he had done when he spoke to the emergency services."

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