Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Woman faces court on murder charge

Richard Challen, 61, whose body was found at a property in Claygate on Sunday

A 56-year-old woman has been charged with the murder of her estranged husband who was found bludgeoned to death at his home.

The body of Richard Challen was found at the property in Claygate, near Esher, Surrey, on Sunday after he suffered "severe blunt force trauma to the head", Surrey Police said.

His wife, Sally Challen, was arrested after she drove to Beachy Head, East Sussex. She was persuaded to leave the edge of the clifftop by specialist police officers after three hours of negotiation.

Challen, an office manager of Coverts Road, Claygate, remains in police custody and will appear at Staines Magistrates' Court on Wednesday morning.

The body of 61-year-old Mr Challen, a retired owner of a car dealership, was formally identified earlier on Tuesday.

His two sons said in a statement released through police: "This is an incredibly difficult time for us and we would like to thank the family and friends who have come forward and offered their support over the last few days. There has been a lot of speculation as a result of our father's death which has caused us additional distress and we would ask that we are now left in private as we try to deal with what has happened."

A post-mortem examination carried out on Monday gave the cause of his death as severe blunt force trauma to the head, according to police.

The couple are understood to have split up around a year ago.

Mr Challen sold his car dealership, Westlake Garages in Richmond, south west London, when he retired in August 2008.

He received a 51-week prison term suspended for 18 months in 2006 when he crashed his Ferrari at a racetrack in Belgium, then invented a hit-and-run accident to claim £35,000 for repairs. The businessman tried the con because his wife had forgotten to send a fax to his insurers to get cover for the event, the Daily Telegraph reported at the time.

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