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Sons ‘overjoyed’ at release of mother accused of hammer attack murder

Georgina Challen, known as Sally, said she killed Richard Challen in August 2010 after years of being controlled and humiliated by him.

David Challen arrives at the Old Bailey for the bail application hearing of his mother, Georgina ‘Sally’ Challen, after her murder conviction for killing her husband was quashed (Jonathan Brady/PA)
David Challen arrives at the Old Bailey for the bail application hearing of his mother, Georgina ‘Sally’ Challen, after her murder conviction for killing her husband was quashed (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The family of a woman who killed her husband in a hammer attack said they were “overjoyed” as she prepared to walk free from prison after almost a decade behind bars.

Georgina Challen, known as Sally, said she killed 61-year-old Richard Challen in August 2010 after years of being controlled and humiliated by him.

She was jailed for life for the murder of the former car dealer following a trial at Guildford Crown Court in 2011.

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Richard Challen died in 2010 (Surrey Police/PA)

But her conviction was quashed and a new trial ordered at the Court of Appeal in London in February, in light of new evidence.

Challen, 65, of Claygate, Surrey, who has been held at HMP Bronzefield in Ashford, Surrey, appeared at the Old Bailey by video-link on Friday.

She wiped away tears as Mr Justice Edis granted her conditional bail ahead of her retrial in July.

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Georgina Challen, known as Sally, was granted bail (Surrey Police/PA)

Challen’s sons, David and James Challen, smiled and expressed relief that their mother would soon be freed.

Speaking outside court, David Challen said: “Today we are overjoyed that bail has been granted for our mother and she will be now released back to us. Our mother now rejoins our family.”

Asked what it will be like when she walks out of prison on Saturday, he said: “It’s a massive moment.”

He added: “It’s a happy day for us, we get to see her again.”

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David Challen speaks to reporters outside the Old Bailey after his mother, Georgina ‘Sally’ Challen was granted bail ahead of her retrial (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Mr Challen added that the family are looking forward to “being together again after so long”.

The defendant’s brother, Chris Jenney, said: “The family are all supporting Sally. We have done from day one. Our strength’s built and will build even further. This is a fantastic day for us.”

Earlier, Challen, wearing a black blouse, spoke to confirm her identity from custody.

She pleaded not guilty to murdering her husband on August 14 2010 but guilty to his manslaughter.

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David Challen, the son of Georgina ‘Sally’ Challen (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The judge granted Challen conditional bail following an application by defence lawyer Clare Wade QC.

He said the defendant should be released from custody on Saturday from 12 noon.

The judge confirmed the trial would be transferred to the Old Bailey as he set a timetable for the case.

Prosecutor Joel Smith pointed out the size of the public gallery in Court One, saying it was a better venue “given the attention this matter has attracted”.

Mr Justice Edis set a further hearing for June 7, and a trial on July 1 “if necessary”.

David Challen later posted on Twitter that his mother’s first words to him after being granted bail were: “I can’t believe this is happening.”

PA

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