Claygate's Sally Challen may inherit her husband's estate, a judge ruled on Wednesday (May 27).

Judge Paul Matthews, who reviewed the latest development in the story, ruled that a law preventing people who kill others from inheriting their estates should not apply to Challen's case.

Judge Matthews looked at arguments regarding Challen's inheritance claim at a High Court hearing in Bristol earlier this month, before announcing his decision on Wednesday.

"The deceased's behaviour during their relationship and their marriage was by turns contemptuous, belittling, aggressive or violent," said Judge Matthews in his ruling.

"His response to any suggestion that she would divorce him was that he would limit access to their children.

"He would ignore her complaints about his behaviour or insist that she was mistaken and that she had not seen what she said she had seen," he added.

Challen won an appeal battle last year allowing her to walk free from prison.

Challen had been given a life term after being convicted of murder following a trial at Guildford Crown Court in summer 2011.

She killed her abusive and controlling husband Richard Challen in 2010.

She was freed last year after he conviction was reduced to manslaughter with the judge ruling that her time had thus already been served.

Judge Matthews said the "justice of this case" required that he should "disapply" the rule barring killers from inheriting their victim's estate.

The judge said every case had to be decided on its merits and not all victims of coercive control would necessarily be able to inherit.

He added: "I emphasise that the facts of this terrible case are so extraordinary, with such a fatal combination of conditions and events, that I would not expect them easily to be replicated in any other."

Richard Challen had left no will and a major asset, the home the Challens shared, had been jointly owned.

The judge said his decision would mean that Sally Challen herself, not the couple's sons, would inherit.

The rulings means she will also be exempt from inheritance tax on the estate.