Abused Wife Can Inherit Killed Husband’s Estate

A ruling has permitted Sally Challen, who killed her abusive husband, to inherit his estate.

Judge Paul Matthews has now ruled that Mrs Challen can inherit Richard Challen’s estate. He concluded that a rule barring people who kill from inheriting their victim’s estate should be waived in Mrs Challen’s case.

In 2011, Mrs Challen was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of killing her abusive husband with a hammer. However, Appeal Judges quashed that conviction in February 2019, with Mr Challen released from prison.

Mr Challen died intestate, and as the family home was the only major asset which was jointly shared, Judge Matthew’s decision meant that Mrs Challen would inherit as opposed to her son.

During the ruling, Judge Matthews said:

“I emphasise that the facts of this terrible case are so extraordinary, with such a fatal combination of conditions and events, that I would not expect them easily to be replicated in any other.”

With regards to the killing of her husband, Mrs Challen changed her plea to manslaughter which was accepted by the prosecution, on the grounds of diminished responsibility. This was revealed following a psychiatric assessment conducted on Mrs Challen.

Mr Justice Edis imposed a new sentence of nine years and four months for the lesser charge, but concluded that Mrs Challen had already served her time.

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