Abusive wife convicted of murdering husband

|News, Domestic abuse

An abusive wife who subjected her husband to long-term physical abuse has been convicted of his murder today (20 March 2019).

Hannegret Donnelly, 54, called the emergency services on 31 March last year to say her husband, Christopher Donnelly, had died the previous night. When paramedics arrived at the Donnelly home in Berryfields near Aylesbury, they found Christopher Donnelly’s body in the bathroom. It was immediately obvious to them that he had a number of wounds to his head; wounds which his wife admitted she had inflicted with a rolling pin.

An examination of the 55-year-old victim by medical experts identified extensive injuries across his body including recent fractures to his back, neck and shoulder blades, as well as injuries to his ear, skull and voice box, and a further 78 visible injuries made up of cuts and bruises.

Blood spatters found on ceilings and walls in rooms around the house – some of which had been there for some time - were identified as the blood of Christopher Donnelly.
Senior Crown Prosecutor Emma Currie, from the CPS, said: “This is a horrendous case of domestic abuse that went on behind closed doors. Hannegret Donnelly inflicted so many injuries on her husband, they led to him suffering from poor health, which eventually led to his death.

“The medical evidence we presented in court showed the extent of Christopher Donnelly’s injuries, some of which were received within hours of his death. And the blood spatter evidence from the ceilings and walls indicated the severity of the attacks he endured over a sustained period of time.

“The jury were left in no doubt that Hannegret Donnelly intended really serious harm to her husband, and the suffering he experienced at the hands of his wife ultimately contributed to his death.”


Notes to editors

  • Emma Currie is a Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS Thames and Chiltern.
  • Hannegret Donnelly, DOB 20/3/1964, was convicted of murder at Kingston Crown Court on 20 March 2019.
  • A post mortem concluded that the cause of death was “sudden death of a 55-year-old man with bronchopneumonia who had been subjected to repeated episodes of significant blunt force injury”.

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