Pc jailed for ten-and-a-half years after admitting killing lover who revealed affair

28 October 2020, 10:16 | Updated: 28 October 2020, 11:16

Dorset Police issued this image of Timothy Brehmer sobbing in the back of an ambulance during his arrest
Dorset Police issued this image of Timothy Brehmer sobbing in the back of an ambulance during his arrest. Picture: PA / Dorset Police

A police officer has been jailed for ten-and-a-half years after admitting killing his long-term lover during a row after she revealed their affair.

Married police officer Timothy Brehmer, 41, was cleared of murdering Claire Parry on Tuesday but admitted manslaughter.

He was sentenced at Salisbury Crown Court on Wednesday and will have to serve two-thirds of his sentence in prison before he could apply for parole.

Brehmer strangled nurse and mother-of-two Ms Parry after she sent a text message on the defendant's phone to his wife revealing their affair.

Ms Parry died during a "kerfuffle" in his car at a car park of the Horns Inn in West Parley, Dorset, on May 9 this year.

The court heard that while the pair were in the car, Mrs Parry had taken the Brehmer's phone and sent a message to his wife saying: "I am cheating on you."

Brehmer claimed she accidentally suffered the fatal injury while he was trying to push her out of the vehicle so he could drive away.

Nurse and mother-of-two Claire Parry
Nurse and mother-of-two Claire Parry. Picture: PA

He told the court he had planned to go and kill himself because of the consequences to his family of their affair being revealed.

Passing sentence on Brehmer, Mr Justice Jacobs said: "This is a case where I should sentence you 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," the judge said.

"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 the severe neck injuries which the pathologist described.

"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."

He added: "You were a trained and experienced police officer and your character witnesses described how you would help others.

"Yet you did nothing to try to help Claire Parry. You did not ask her how she was. That was because you knew how she was.

"You could not possibly 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.

"It must have been obvious to you as a trained police officer with extensive experience of casualties in traffic accidents that she was not breathing.

"In evidence you said you did not realise she was poorly. I consider that you appreciated that she was much worse than that."

The trial heard that in the days before her death, Mrs Parry had started to believe her marriage to Andrew Parry, also a Dorset Police officer, was coming to an end as well as her relationship with the defendant.

She had carried out research using an alias on Facebook into Brehmer and became convinced he had had at least two other affairs.

Mrs Parry was in contact with a police officer called Kate Rhodes, who told her she had an affair with Brehmer in late 2011, and this made her see him "in a very different light".

Detective Chief Inspector Richard Dixey, of Dorset Police, said: "Timothy Brehmer's criminal actions on May 9 have had a devastating impact on a number of people, particularly the family of Claire Parry and her loved ones.

"Our thoughts remain with all those affected and I would again like to thank Claire's family for their support throughout the investigation and trial process. I can only hope that the conclusion of the court proceedings is of some comfort to them.

"I would also like to again thank all those involved for the professional manner in which this case was investigated and brought to court."