Wife who killed husband sent to jail for 22 years

A WOMAN tried to throw herself off Beachy Head after bludgeoning her husband to death with a hammer.

Fifty-seven-year-old Georgina Challen, known as Sally, admitted killing Richard Challen, 61, but denied murder claiming diminished responsibility.

She attacked him with a hammer, believing he was cheating on her, and drove to Beachy Head.

She told police, who - along with chaplains - talked her down from the edge, “If I can’t have him, no-one can.”

She also said, “I killed him with a hammer. I hit him lots of times. If I can’t have him, no one can.”

Challen was found guilty of murder and ordered to serve a minimum term of 22 years in jail.

The court heard she attacked the retired businessman in August 2010, as he ate lunch at the kitchen table of their former marital home in Claygate, Surrey, using a hammer she had brought in her handbag.

A post-mortem examination revealed the cause of death to be severe blunt force trauma to the head.

Police officers found his body on the kitchen floor covered with old curtains with a handwritten note from his wife placed on it saying, “I love you, Sally.”

When asked why she had killed her husband of 31 years, Challen told the court, “I don’t know. I just didn’t think that he wanted to be with me.”

The couple had been trying to patch up their marriage after separating and living apart, but Challen became enraged after discovering the former car dealer had phoned another woman.

Passing sentence, Judge Christopher Critchlow told the former Police Federation office manager, of Ashton Place, Claygate, “You found yourself being eaten up with jealousy at his friendships with other women.

“You didn’t want that and, as you have said, decided that if you could not have him, nobody would.”

Speaking after the verdict, Detective Chief Inspector Chris Raymer, of Surrey Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team, said, “This has been an extremely sad and difficult time for the family and friends of this couple, in particular their two sons, and our thoughts remain with them.”

In a statement their sons James and David said, “We would like to thank our family and friends for their continuing support during what has been an incredibly difficult time.

“We would now appreciate it if our privacy is respected.”