A police officer who strangled his long-term lover after she exposed their affair to his wife has been cleared of murder.
Timothy Brehmer, a constable with Dorset Police, killed nurse Claire Parry, 41, in a pub car park on 9 May.
The two had been having a secret relationship for more than 10 years, a trial at Salisbury Crown Court heard.
Brehmer, 41, of Hordle, Hampshire, had previously admitted manslaughter and said Mrs Parry’s death was an accident. He was jailed for 10 and a half years.
The trial heard mum-of-two Mrs Parry, who was married to another Dorset Police officer, had become angry after discovering Brehmer had had an affair with another woman while she was involved with him.
The defendant told jurors he agreed to meet her outside the Horns Inn in West Parley, Dorset, after she messaged him “relentlessly”.
Mrs Parry took his phone to look through his social media messages before sending a text to his wife revealing the affair, the court heard.
Brehmer said he strangled her by accident during a “kerfuffle” in his car.
He said when Mrs Parry refused to leave his car he tried to pull her out before he “bundled” into the vehicle in an attempt to push her.
The defendant said his arm “must have slipped up in all the melee” and that he left the car without realising Mrs Parry was “poorly”.
Mrs Parry, from Bournemouth, died in hospital the following day from a brain injury caused by compression of the neck.
Brehmer told his trial the affair with Mrs Parry had been “a little bubble of niceness” but he had rarely seen her during the coronavirus lockdown.
He said Mrs Parry’s husband called him in March after becoming suspicious the two were having an affair and she had sent him messages so they could keep their stories straight.
However, in the days before her death Mrs Parry started to believe that both her marriage and her relationship with Brehmer were coming to an end, the court heard.
She had carried out research into Brehmer using an alias on Facebook and became convinced he had conducted affairs with at least two other women.
Mrs Parry made 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”.
Ms Rhodes, a detective constable, told the court Brehmer used “grooming” techniques to exert “coercive and controlling behaviour” over women.
She had been mentored by Brehmer when she joined Dorset Police and was in a brief relationship with him which ended when she found out he was married.
She explained to the court how she was contacted on Facebook Messenger by Mrs Parry, who used the name Louisa Morgan, in the days before her death.
Ms Rhodes said they discussed “womaniser” Brehmer, whom she described as “Mr Smooth”, and how he had conducted affairs while married.
Mrs Parry’s husband, Andrew, told the court Brehmer was the “worst kind of thief” and described the pain of telling their children that their mother was dead.
“It was like a physical weight crushing down on my chest,” he said.
After the hearing, Det Ch Insp Richard Dixey said: “Our thoughts remain with the family of Mrs Parry and I would like to pay tribute to the dignified way in which they have conducted themselves throughout the investigation.”
Following Brehmer’s guilty plea to manslaughter on 8 July, Dorset Police commenced misconduct proceedings and, on 16 September, Chief Constable James Vaughan ruled the officer would be dismissed with immediate effect and would be placed on the national barred list.