More than 55,000 people have signed a petition calling for the government to ban the ‘rough sex defence’ as Boris Johnson promises his government will make it ‘inexcusable’.
Camberwell and Peckham MP Harriet Harman has led the parliamentary campaign to stop the so-called ‘fifty shades of grey’ defence from being used in court by killers to secure lesser charges.
According to the activists who set up the ‘We Can’t Consent To This’ campaign, 59 women in the UK have been killed by partners who, in court, claimed they died after consensual violent sex that went wrong.
This defence is becoming increasingly common in UK courts – including horrific cases such as that of Natalie Connolly, from Worcestershire, who died in 2016.
Her cause of death was vaginal arterial bleeding. Among her other 40 injuries were internal trauma, wounds to the face and a broken eye socket.
Connolly’s partner claimed she was into rough sex and her death was an accident. He was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced less than four years in prison.
Harman says the ‘rough sex defence’ being used in courts now is a modern-day version of men securing manslaughter convictions because their wives provoked them, cheated on them, or nagged them.
On June 3, Boris Johnson told MPs after being questioned on the issue: “We are committed to ensuring the law is made clear on this point and that defence is inexcusable,” but did not give a timeline for when or how it will be banned.
Sign the petition here.