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11 December 2018, 14:21 | Updated: 11 December 2018, 14:24
A multi-millionaire businessman accused of murdering his girlfriend during "rough sex" has admitted manslaughter by gross negligence.
John Broadhurst was cleared of murdering Natalie Connolly and causing her grievous bodily harm on the directions of the judge following legal submissions part-way through his trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
But the 40-year-old admitted manslaughter by leaving Miss Connolly unsupervised and failing to contact the emergency services in circumstances where "a risk of death as a result of her condition would have been obvious".
Prosecutors had alleged that Broadhurst "totally lost it" during a drink and drug-fuelled sex session, leaving Miss Connolly to die at the foot of a staircase with more than 40 injuries.
Miss Connolly, aged 26, was pronounced dead on the morning of December 18 2016 after Broadhurst called paramedics to their home in Kenrose Mill, Kinver, near Stourbridge.
Explaining the Crown's decision to accept Broadhurst's plea to a lesser charge, prosecutor David Mason QC told the court: "The evidence in this case, which is an extremely unusual case, has been very complicated.
"The family (of the victim) have been consulted and are entirely content with the view that the prosecution have taken."
Broadhurst, a property developer said to have a fortune of around £15 million, had separated from a former partner, who was pregnant with their second child, around three months before Miss Connolly's death.
The court heard that Miss Connolly, who had suffered a "blow-out" fracture to her left eye, bruising and internal injuries, had told witnesses that she and the defendant had an interest in masochistic sex.
A paramedic told Broadhurst's trial that the father-of-three appeared hungover and did not seem "unduly upset" after finding his partner's body at about 9.30am.
Broadhurst, of Blakeshall Farm, Wolverley, will be sentenced next Monday after being granted bail.
Adjourning the case, trial judge Mr Justice Julian Knowles told Broadhurst: "You have pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
"Whilst it is not a charge of murder, it is nonetheless an exceptionally serious offence. All sentencing options remain open. You should be prepared for a custodial sentence of some length."