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Police officer strangled his lover after she revealed affair in text to his wife, court hears

Horns Inn, Christchurch Road, West Parley (photo: Google)
Horns Inn, Christchurch Road, West Parley (photo: Google)

A POLICE officer strangled his lover of 10 years just minutes after she sent his wife a message from his phone saying “I’m cheating on you”, a court has heard.

PC Timothy Brehmer, from Hordle, strangled Claire Parry so hard he broke a neck bone, according to prosecutor Richard Smith.

Mr Smith told a jury at Salisbury Crown Court how Mrs Parry, who was married to a policeman, had confronted Brehmer after finding out he was a “womaniser” who’d had numerous affairs.

She had messaged Brehmer (41), of Woodcock Lane, who was stationed at Bournemouth International Airport, telling him she was going to tell his wife about their affair.

On the day she died on 9th May this year, Claire (41), a nurse and mum-of-two, had arranged to meet Brehmer in the car park of the Horns Inn in West Parley, near Christchurch.

According to Mr Smith, Mrs Parry’s husband Andrew had suspicions about the couple’s relationship and had even confronted Brehmer about it, although the defendant’s wife Martha had not.

Mr Smith said that in the days leading up to the meeting Mrs Parry had discovered through Facebook that Brehmer was “not the man she thought he was”.

Instead, he told the jury, she had found out about his affair with another policewoman several years before. The woman had told Mrs Parry that Brehmer was “somewhat of a womaniser” and that he’d had affairs with other women as well as her.

She last had sex with Brehmer on 6th May at her home in Bournemouth just three days before her death, the court was told.

The following day she had a marriage counselling session with her husband who told her he was thinking of leaving her.

Mr Smith said it was also now clear to Mrs Parry that Brehmer was “not a man who was likely to set up home with her” once her marriage was over.

As a result, he said, she became “very angry” and had begun “relentlessly messaging” Brehmer saying she was going to tell his wife about their affair.

Claire Parry
Claire Parry

Brehmer had told police after his arrest that on 9th May he had worked until 6.45am then gone home to bed. He was supposed to be having a family barbecue later but Mrs Parry demanded he meet her at the Horns Inn at 3pm.

Brehmer said he had told his wife he was going to work to get steaks for the barbecue. He then went to a Screwfix where he tried to buy a length of rope – telling police he was intending to kill himself.

Mr Smith said: “The prosecution say he had no intention of committing suicide and had every intention of returning to see his family once he had dealt with Claire Parry.”

The prosecutor said that after his arrest Brehmer had told police his lover was “very angry”, and that a neighbour living near the pub had heard an argument between a man and a woman.

At 3pm, Mr Smith said, Martha Brehmer received a text message from her husband’s phone saying: “I’m cheating on you.”

Brehmer told police that Mrs Parry had seized his phone and sent the message to his wife.

Mr Smith said: “In the coming minutes after that text was delivered, Claire Parry lost her life – her neck with a broken bone in it.”

He said Brehmer claimed to police the fracture happened when he tried to “pull and push” Claire out of his car.

Mr Smith said: “He said Claire was looking through his phone and he took his knife and plunged it in his arm to get her attention.

“He said he told her he was going to commit suicide.

“He saw her typing the message out of the corner of his eye and realised it had been sent to his wife.

“He wanted her to get out of the car because, effectively, all was lost. But he said she refused.

“He then said he got out of the car and went round to her side. He tried to pull her out of the passenger seat – she wouldn’t move.

“He then ‘piled in’ and pushed her over to the driver’s door. He was pushing, pulling, rolling and grabbing her.

“He said that during the pushing, pulling and grabbing that somehow she had got into a position where she was asphyxiated. He said, ‘I wasn’t strangling her’.”

“He said he thought she was ‘having a breather’ when he left her lying out of the car.”

Passers-by found Brehmer sitting and on a pavement outside the pub bleeding and called the emergency services. Efforts were made to save Mrs Parry’s life but she later died.

A post-mortem examination showed she had injuries consistent with being held in a headlock and strangled to death, said Mr Smith.

Brehmer, the prosecutor said, told people at the scene that he had been stabbed without telling them Mrs Parry was lying injured nearby.

He was sobbing, he told the jury, and claimed he did not remember what had happened. He also told one person: “I will never see my son again,” the prosecutor told the court.

Brehmer has pleaded guilty to manslaughter but not guilty to murder. The trial continues.

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