Police officer’s sentence for killing partner increased by Court of Appeal

Sam Tobin, PA
·3-min read

A womanising married police officer who strangled his long-term partner after she revealed their affair to his wife has had his sentence for her manslaughter increased to 13 and a half years by the Court of Appeal.

Former Dorset Police constable Timothy Brehmer, 41, killed mother-of-two Claire Parry after she sent a text message from his phone to his wife, saying: “I am cheating on you.”

Ms Parry, 41, died during what Brehmer described as a “kerfuffle” in his car in the car park of the Horns Inn in West Parley, Dorset, on May 9 last year.

Brehmer, of Hordle, Hampshire, claimed the married nurse accidentally suffered the fatal injury while he was trying to push her out of his Citroen car so he could drive away.

Claire Parry
Claire Parry (Dorset Police/PA)

He was cleared of murder by a jury following a trial at Salisbury Crown Court, but had previously admitted Ms Parry’s manslaughter, for which he was jailed for 10 and a half years in October.

Following a referral by the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) under the unduly lenient sentence scheme, the Court of Appeal increased his sentence by three years in a ruling on Friday.

The Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett said that the sentencing judge, Mr Justice Jacobs, “gave too little weight to the aggravating factors he had identified”.

Lord Burnett said: “We quash the sentence of 10 and a half years imprisonment and substitute a sentence of 13 and a half years imprisonment.”

The Court of Appeal also rejected a bid by Brehmer to have his sentence reduced.

Timothy Brehmer court case
Court artist sketch of Timothy Brehmer (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

In the ruling, 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 judge added: “The offender’s conduct and lies after the attack were reprehensible and calculated to deflect attention from what he had done.

Timothy Brehmer court case
Timothy Brehmer sobbing as he is arrested by police (Dorset Police/PA)

“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 Mr Justice Jacobs gave Brehmer too large a discount for his guilty plea to the charge of manslaughter.

Lord Burnett ruled that Brehmer’s guilty plea did not “reduce the impact of the crime upon victims” or save witnesses from having to testify.

The judge said: “We doubt that the effect of the offender’s plea in July 2020 afforded the family of Claire Parry much solace or comfort.”

After the ruling, acting Attorney General Michael Ellis QC said: “Because of his 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.”