However on 28th February 2019 the Court of Appeal quashed her murder conviction and ruled she must be retried. Sally endured years of psychological abuse at the hands of her husband, Richard. At the original court hearing, she admitted killing her husband but denied murder, claiming diminished responsibility.
In 2011 when Sally was convicted , ‘coercive control’ was not a crime in England. It became a crime in 2015 under the Serious Crime Act (S 76) where it is defined as "controlling behaviour that has a "serious effect" on a partner, causing them to fear violence at least twice or causing them serious distress".
The announcement of Sally Challen's retrial is a watershed moment for 'coercive control' and domestic violence cases in England. It will be a landmark case as it will be the first time a court will hear "controlling and coervice behaviour" being used as a defence in a murder trial. If Sally is successful it is likely there will be an increase in such defences being used in murder cases together with an appreciation by the court of the gravity of psychological abuse.