Millionaire who killed girlfriend after cocaine-fuelled ‘rough sex’ jailed

A multi-millionaire who admitted leaving his injured girlfriend to die after a drug and alcohol-fuelled session of "rough sex" has been jailed for three years and eight months.

Property tycoon John Broadhurst was cleared of murdering Natalie Connolly and causing her grievous bodily harm, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of gross negligence.

The 40-year-old, who was told to expect a jail sentence, carried a duffel bag as he arrived at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday morning.

Broadhurst – said during his trial to be worth up to £15m – left the injured and bleeding mum-of-one Miss Connolly, 26, to die at their home after she suffered more than 40 separate injuries.

Following an S&M sex session, he dialled 999 from the home in Kinver, West Midlands, and told the operator he had found his partner "dead as a doughnut" at the bottom of the stairs, his trial heard.

Members of Miss Connolly’s family, who wore pink roses in memory of her, wept with relief as Broadhurst was jailed.

Jailing Broadhurst, Mr Justice Julian Knowles accepted that the property developer and Miss Connolly had been happy together during their brief relationship.

But the judge told Broadhurst: "You were capable of taking decisions and making choices. This was grossly irresponsible behaviour by you.

"You left that vulnerable young woman to die in the saddest and most avoidable of circumstances. You showed blatant disregard for a very drunk and injured woman."

Miss Connolly, who was found in a pool of blood, was pronounced dead at the £600,000 home by a paramedic on the morning of December 18, 2016.

A post-mortem showed she had suffered more than 40 separate injuries, including serious internal trauma and blunt-force trauma to her head, buttocks and breast.

A blow-out fracture to her left eye was said by the prosecution to be consistent with "punch or toe-poke kicks".

Broadhurst, now of Blakeshall Farm, Wolverley, Worcestershire, denied battering her and claimed she was injured as a result of consensual sexual activity after both of them drank alcohol and took drugs, the trial heard.

The trial heard Miss Connolly, who had a daughter now aged 10, was killed after the couple had spent a day drinking alcohol and taking cocaine before engaging in "rough sex".

The jury was told how Miss Connolly called Broadhurst "the boss" and the pair would regularly enjoy S&M sex sessions during which he would smack her bottom with a belt.

Prosecutors had alleged Broadhurst "totally lost it" during the sex session and battered her with fists, kicks and weapons, before leaving Miss Connolly to die.

The jury heard Miss Connolly, a receptionist, had been sending another man photos of her wearing underwear and messaging her ex-boyfriend.

The prosecution alleged that he may have found out about this and killed her in a rage before spraying her face with bleach to clean off the blood.

The businessman had denied battering Miss Connolly to death and claimed he had only hurt her "within the boundaries of her masochistic desires".

He claimed Miss Connolly, his girlfriend of six months, has indicated that she wanted to have masochistic sex and he had found her dead at the foot of the stairs the following morning.

A paramedic told Broadhurst’s trial that the father-of-three appeared hungover and did not seem "unduly upset" after finding Miss Connolly’s body at about 9.30am.

The couple first started an affair while Broadhurst was in a relationship with his pregnant long-term partner before eventually getting together in July 2016, the court heard.

During the trial, the court listened to a 999 call made by Broadhurst on the morning of December 18, 2016, in which he said: "I think she’s probably dead.

"I woke up this morning, went downstairs. We had been drinking. She’s lying on the floor."

He repeatedly exclaimed "Oh my God" as he tried to perform CPR on her.

A post-mortem found Miss Connolly died from blunt force injuries in conjunction with acute alcohol intoxication. She was found to be more than five times the drink-drive limit.

During the trial, she was described by pals as "a free spirit" who was "full of fun" and "always the life and soul of the party."

The day before she was found dead, Miss Connolly and Broadhurst had spent the afternoon drinking after watching West Bromwich Albion play Manchester United before going for a curry.

They were taken home in a chauffeur-driven Range Rover, and consumed more alcohol and about two grams of cocaine.

After Monday’s hearing, Miss Connolly’s heartbroken family paid tribute to her in a statement released by Staffordshire Police.

Her family said in a statement: "Our lives changed forever when we found out that Natalie had died.

"During the last five weeks we have had to endure hearing the most horrendous and harrowing evidence of how Broadhurst left Natalie at the bottom of the stairs bleeding and in clear need for medical help.

"Instead of getting Natalie the medical help she needed, Broadhurst chose to go to bed and sleep instead.

"It is now clear to us that the guilty admission made by Broadhurst shows the heartless way in which he left Natalie at the bottom of the stairs, without any concern for her dignity or wellbeing.

"He has demonstrated what a callous, disrespectful person he really is, and has never publicly apologized or shown any remorse for the cruel way in which he left my daughter.

"Natalie was in the prime of her life and if Broadhurst had got the medical help from the emergency services at the time of this incident, Natalie may still be alive today.

"Natalie was a loving and caring daughter, granddaughter, and sister, but above all she was a loving mother to her 10 year old daughter, who now has to grow up without her Mummy by her side, through all those significant times in a young girl’s life.

"She will to have to live a life sentence without her Mummy Natalie was, and still is at the centre of our world, and we will all try to rebuild our lives knowing, we will no longer have the beauty, the joy and the happiness of having Natalie by our side.

"Our beautiful girl has gone forever, we will never forget Natalie she will remain in our hearts and souls forever."

The statement added: "As a family we all have to ensure that Natalie’s daughter grows up, knowing how much we all loved her Mummy and the very tragic and unnecessary way in which her life ended.

"Whilst we are all still trying to come to terms with Natalie’s death, please respect our privacy and allow us the time and space to try and rebuild all of our lives.

"As a family we would like to thank Staffordshire Police Major and Organized Crime Department and the whole prosecution team for their help and support during our sad loss.

"Finally we would like to thank everyone who has supported us throughout the last two years."

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