PROSECUTORS have explained why a 32-year-old man who choked his lover to death while they had sex was not charged with murder.

Sam Pybus was jailed for four years and eight months at Teesside Crown Court for the manslaughter of Sophie Moss at her flat in Darlington in February.

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.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it did not merely accept Pybus’s word that he did not intend to cause the 33-year-old serious harm – there was insufficient evidence to prove it.

The Northern Echo: Sam PybusSam Pybus

After the hearing, Christopher Atkinson, of CPS North East, said: “While the defendant has always acknowledged the fatal consequences of his actions, he also claimed that it was never his intent to cause Sophie serious harm or, as was tragically the case, her death.

“We must make it very clear that the Crown Prosecution Service has not simply accepted the account put forward by the defendant, but that we have proactively determined that there was insufficient evidence capable of establishing beyond reasonable doubt that he intended the serious harm or death of Sophie Moss.

“In cases where death is caused by an unlawful act, but such intent cannot be proven, the appropriate charge to bring is one of manslaughter, for which we have built a robust case against the defendant.

“Our thoughts remain with the family of Sophie Moss and we sincerely hope that the sentencing today of Sam Pybus for her killing brings some measure of comfort at what must remain a very difficult time for them.”

The Northern Echo: Sophie MossSophie Moss

Outside court, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Reynolds, from Durham Constabulary, who led the investigation, said: “This was a difficult and complex investigation, and our thoughts remain with Sophie’s family and friends at this difficult time.

“Although nothing can ever bring Sophie back, I hope today’s result will offer them some comfort and help them to come to terms with their devastating loss.”

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