FORMER Dorset Police officer Timothy Brehmer was sentenced to 10 years and six months in prison for the manslaughter of lover Claire Parry on October 28.

Brehmer, 41, of Hordle, New Forest, was acquitted for murdering nurse Mrs Parry at the Horns Inn pub car park on May 9 but admitted causing her death.

Following a two-week murder trial, a jury of 11 found him not guilty. Mr Justice Richard Jacobs then sentenced the “womaniser” for manslaughter.

But how did the jury reach their verdict and how did Judge Jacobs decide his sentence?

The prosecution’s case was that Brehmer took Mrs Parry by the neck with such force as to kill her after she sent a text to his wife revealing the affair, which had been going on for 11 years.

The defence’s case was Brehmer accidentally compressed Mrs Parry’s neck in a “kerfuffle” while trying to get her out the car.

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For the jury to return a verdict of guilty, they would have to have been absolutely sure, beyond reasonable doubt, that Brehmer intended to kill or cause Mrs Parry serious injury.

If they weren’t sure, they would have to return a verdict of not guilty.

If they were sure, however, they would then have to consider the partial defence of ‘loss of control’.

For loss of control to be considered, there has to have been a qualifying trigger, the text to Martha Brehmer revealing the affair in this case, and someone of the same sex and age as the defendant with a normal degree of tolerance would have reacted in the same way.

It is not known how the jury reached their verdict, but it is up to the judge to decide on what basis to pass sentence, whether it was ‘unlawful manslaughter’, or ‘loss of control’ manslaughter. Judge Jacobs decided on the latter.

Judge Jacobs said: “The only real basis for you considering that you had been seriously wronged by the sending of the text was that, if the affair were to be revealed, you should have been the person to tell your wife; the news should simply not come via a text message.

“I consider that this aspect of the qualifying trigger was only just met, bearing in mind that what your wife was told in the text message was true, you had received fair warning over the previous two days, in calls and text messages, that Claire Parry was going to tell your wife, you had had a full opportunity to tell your wife about the revelation that was coming, but your own cowardice led you not to do so but instead to try to dissuade Claire Parry from carrying through on what she had told you that she would do.”

Judge Jacobs said Brehmer’s actions were of high culpability because the trigger only just met the criteria.

This gave a sentencing range of 10 to 20 years, with a starting point of 14 years.

Aggravating factors considered by Judge Jacobs were the significant mental and physical suffering caused to Mrs Parry who “must have appreciated that her life was being taken from her”.​

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The second factor was the fact Brehmer blamed Mrs Parry for stabbing him at the scene, a lie he then changed the next day.

Judge Jacobs considered the mitigating factors that Brehmer had no previous convictions and was a “good policeman” who served for a number of years.

He said: “Bearing those aggravating and mitigating factors in mind, I consider that the appropriate sentence in your case, before taking into account your guilty plea, is 12 years six months imprisonment.

“I will reduce that sentence by just over 15 per cent because you did plead guilty, at effectively the first opportunity, albeit that that plea was on a basis (unlawful manslaughter) that I have not accepted.

“That reduces the sentence by 24 months; from 12 years six months to a sentence of 10 years and six months.”