A MAN who strangled a woman to death during an illicit sex session has been jailed for just under five years.

Sam Pybus pleaded guilty to manslaughter following the killing of Sophie Moss in February this year.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Pybus drove to his victim’s Darlington flat when his wife had gone to bed after he had spent the day drinking in the marital home.

The Northern Echo: Sophie MossSophie Moss

Richard Wright QC, prosecuting, told the court Pybus had applied ‘sustained pressure’ to the neck of the 33-year-old mother-of-two before she lost consciousness and died.

He said: “He reported to have little recollection of the circumstances of the sexual activity during which he killed her. He said he had suffered some memory loss and recalled coming to wearing boxer shorts and Sophie naked and unresponsive on the bed.

“He described his hands as hurting and believed he must have strangled her but didn’t remember doing so. He indicated he has left the flat and spent 15 minutes in his car considering his options, during which time he had not sought to render first aid to Sophie nor had he sought any emergency medical assistance for her."

The 32-year-old pleaded guilty to the offence maintaining that he had "no intention of harming her or causing her injury".

The defendant had drunk 24 bottles of lager before getting into his car and driving from Middleton St George to the flat of Miss Moss for sex, the court heard.

The Northern Echo: Sam PybusSam Pybus

The court heard that the pathologist’s report highlighted that there were no other signs of violence other than compression to the neck which could have lasted a number of minutes.

Pybus, of Water View, Middleton St. George, Darlington, was charged with murder but the Crown Prosecution Service has accepted his plea of guilty to manslaughter.

Miss Moss was found unresponsive by police at Glaisdale Court on Sunday, February 7 minutes after Pybus walked into Darlington police station to tell them what had happened.

Mr Wright said Pybus has sat in his car for 15 minutes before heading to the police station.

Her brother James gave a powerful victim impact statement as he told the court of the devastating loss his family had suffered at the hands of Pybus.

He said: “We will never be able to shake the belief that whatever the nature of their relationship, and her role in it, that she was a victim – taken advantage of and exploited - and was subjected to an entirely avoidable an infinitely tragic end.”

And her former partner Daniel Parkington told of the irreparable damage that had been caused to their two young children.

Sam Green QC, in mitigation, said his client had "shown disgust for what he had done" during interview.

Judge Paul Watson QC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, sentenced Pybus to four years and eight months

He said: "I find that this was a case in which you were voluntarily intoxicated, unable to judge the situation and perhaps to have stopped when it was obvious that you had gone too far."

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