LONDON - A British woman who killed her husband with a hammer after suffering years of domestic abuse will not face a retrial, prosecutors said on Friday, a decision women's rights groups hailed as a "landmark moment".
Sally Challen, 65, had her conviction for murder overturned in February after an appeal found the trial had not factored in the effect of decades of abuse on her mental health.
She was to have faced a retrial, but prosecutors agreed to instead accept a guilty plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
"As a family we are overjoyed at today's verdict and that it has brought an end to the suffering we have endured together for the past 9 years," said her son David in a tweet.
"Our story has become the landmark case society needs to recognize the true severity of coercive control."
Britain introduced laws in 2015 making "coercive or controlling behavior" a domestic violence offence carrying a penalty of up to five years in jail.
It was intended to close a loophole in the law that had previously allowed abusive partners to exert control with behavior that stopped short of violence.
Sally Challen was convicted of murdering her husband Richard in 2011, with a 22-year jail sentence, later reduced to 18.
Her supporters say she was a victim of coercive control by her husband for more than 40 years, which was a factor underlying the attack and its immediate trigger.
Challen's legal team for the appeal argued the abuse had been poorly understood at the time of her murder trial and was not properly considered.
Domestic violence charity Women's Aid said the decision was "fantastic news"
The Women's Equality Party called it a "landmark moment for judicial understanding of #domestic abuse & #coercive control" in a statement on Twitter.
"But what she and others like her have been put through is unacceptable," it added.
About 2 million people, predominantly women, suffer domestic abuse every year in Britain, the government has said. It can take myriad forms, from beatings to rape, control of a partner's actions or limiting access to money, family and friends.
Domestic abuse costs England and Wales about 66 billion pounds ($84 billion) annually, mostly due to its physical and emotional impact on victims - as well as costs to police, health and support services, according to government research.