A former police officer who strangled his lover after she revealed their affair to his wife has had his sentence for manslaughter increased by three years under a government appeal on the grounds of lenience.
Timothy Brehmer, 41, a former constable with Dorset police, was found not guilty last October of murdering Claire Parry in a pub car park, but admitted her manslaughter.
Salisbury crown court heard how Brehmer killed Perry after she sent a text message from his phone to his wife, saying “I am cheating on you”.
Parry died during what Brehmer described as a “kerfuffle” in his car in the car park of the Horns Inn in West Parley, Dorset, in May. Brehmer said the married nurse sustained the fatal injury accidentally while he was trying to push her out of the car so he could drive away.
Mr Justice Jacobs sentenced Brehmer to 10 and a half years for manslaughter. After a referral by the attorney general’s office under the unduly lenient sentence scheme, on Friday the court of appeal increased his sentence to 13 and half years.
The lord chief justice, Lord Burnett, said: “We have considered carefully the circumstances in which Claire Parry lost her life at the hands of this offender. With respect to the [sentencing] judge, we are satisfied that he gave too little weight to the aggravating factors he had identified.
“The extent of her injuries shows that she was under attack for some time and clearly a period which exceeded the 10 to 30 seconds or more that her neck was compressed. She struggled in a fruitless attempt to protect herself and must have been aware of what was going to happen.
“The offender’s conduct and lies after the attack were reprehensible and calculated to deflect attention from what he had done. These aggravating factors have the effect of moving above the starting point [for deciding the sentence] significantly before considering the mitigating factors.”
The court of appeal also found that Jacobs had given Brehmer too large a discount for his guilty plea to the charge of manslaughter. Burnett ruled that the plea did not “reduce the impact of the crime upon victims” or save witnesses from having to testify. He added: “We doubt that the effect of the offender’s plea … afforded the family of Claire Parry much solace or comfort.”
The attorney general, Michael Ellis QC, said: “Because of [Brehmers’] actions, Claire Parry’s family have lost a wife and mother and her community have lost a dedicated nurse. I greatly welcome the decision by the court of appeal today to increase Brehmer’s sentence.”