A police officer who strangled a mother of two after she exposed their affair to his wife has been jailed.
Timothy Brehmer killed nurse Claire Parry, 41, after they met in a pub car park in Dorset on 9 May. The two had been involved in a secret relationship for more than 10 years, a trial at Salisbury Crown Court heard.
Brehmer, 41, who admitted manslaughter and was acquitted of murder by a jury on Tuesday, has been jailed for 10 and a half years.
The trial heard Mrs Parry, who was married to another Dorset Police officer, met the defendant outside the Horns Inn in West Parley to confront him about another of his extra-marital affairs.
Mrs Parry took hold of his phone before sending a text to his wife, saying: “I am cheating on you.” Brehmer, of Hordle, Hampshire, said he had strangled Mrs Parry by accident during a “kerfuffle” in his car and that his arm “must have slipped in all the melee”. Mrs Parry, from Bournemouth, died in hospital the following day from a brain injury caused by compression of the neck.
Mr Justice Jacobs told Brehmer he was sentencing him “on the basis you lost your self-control following the sending of the text message to your wife where the affair was revealed, rather than on the basis that you had no intention to kill or cause really serious harm”. “I am sure that you did deliberately take Claire Parry by the neck applying significant force with your forearm or the crook of your elbow for a period of time while she struggled against you, thereby causing…severe neck injuries,” the judge added. “The evidence from the pathologist was that those injuries which she described as ‘severe’ on a scale of mild, moderate or severe resulted from the application of significant force to the neck for a period of a minimum 10 to 30 seconds and possibly longer. “She said it was difficult to envisage a situation where a struggle in the car imparted the necessary degree of force or could explain the extent and severity of the neck injuries.”
Brehmer told the trial he had left the car without realising Mrs Parry was “poorly”.
However, the judge said as a trained police officer “it must have been obvious” that Mrs Parry was not breathing. “Yet you did nothing to try to help Claire Parry,” Mr Justice Jacobs added. “You did not ask her how she was. That was because you knew how she was. “You could not possibly have thought, as you said in your police interview, that she was simply taking a breath. “You must have known that her body had gone limp after your assault on her. “Before you walked to the car park entrance you must have seen how she was – hanging half out of the car.”
Mrs Parry’s husband, Andrew, said he was “incredibly disappointed” with the verdict and branded Brehmer a “well-practised liar”. “He has shown himself – as the trial exposed – to be consistently dishonest, deceitful and devious,” he added.
“Claire was a caring nurse practitioner who helped many people in a career of over 20 years. She was a loving family member and a doting mother who leaves behind two young children. “Her energy and enthusiasm for life were infectious and our lives are poorer without her in them.”
Mr Parry previously told the court Brehmer was the “worst kind of thief” and described the pain of telling their children that their mother was dead. “It was like a physical weight crushing down on my chest,” he said.
Dorset Police said Brehmer had been sacked at a misconduct meeting held on 16 September. He was also placed on the national police barred list.
Chief Constable James Vaughan said for a serving officer “to take the life of another in this way is incomprehensible”.