1. ITV Report

Woman who 'systematically abused' her husband is jailed for life for his murder

Hannegret Donnelly has been jailed for life for murdering her husband Photo: Thames Valley Police

A woman has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 16 years for murdering her husband in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire.

Hannegret Donnelly who's 55, systematically abused her husband Christopher.

The day after he died, Hannegret called 999 - later admitting that weeks earlier she had hit him over the head with a rolling pin.

Further interviews following her arrest started to reveal a picture of systematic abuse, which included regular assaults with a hairbrush, rolling pin. She also admitted punching him in the face and pushing him down the stairs.

Evidence was found throughout their home - including blood splatters on furniture and walls, which were later identified as being Christopher’s.

Just one of the rolling pins Hannegret Donnelly used to assault her husband Credit: Thames Valley Police
Hannegret Donnelly has been jailed for life for murdering her husband Credit: Thames Valley Police

At the time of his death, Christopher was found to have 78 visible injuries, including a cauliflower ear, wounds all over his head, as well as internal injuries including fractures to his scapula, spine, and neck, fractures to the cartilage in his voice box and other traumatic injuries.

These were found to have been caused by being hit with a fist or a blunt object.

Hannegret was charged with murder on the first day of her trial on 4th March this year. She was previously charged with one count of wounding with intent on 1st April 2018.

“Christopher was subjected to a prolonged period of domestic abuse.

“He was found with 78 visible injuries which he received in numerous ways including being hit with a rolling pin.

“He was coercively controlled by his wife on a daily basis. She told him what was acceptable and punished him when he did something that disagreed with her view; he suffered extreme injuries as a result of this systematic abuse.

“This case highlights the fact that domestic abuse affects men and women and the consequences can be catastrophic. I recognise that domestic abuse is complex, it is often difficult to recognise the ones you love are causing you harm. It is then even more challenging to seek help to make you safer. I want to encourage people to come forward and get help. If you suspect this pattern of behaviour please report it to the police.

“Thames Valley Police take all reports of this nature seriously and will thoroughly investigate. Coercive behaviour can be threats, humiliation or intimidation used by the abuser to harm, punish or frighten their victim.

“During the interview of Hannegret Donnelly it was clear to the investigators that the beatings she subjected Christopher to were to control him.”

– Senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Felicity Parker