This is the fourth woman we remember in our #EveryThreeDays campaign – when we think of a woman killed by a man.
Previously, we remembered Sauzaane Pilley, Raheela Shariff, and sixteen-year-old Louise Smith, who was brutally murdered in a sex attack by her uncle. This series of articles are being written because we felt the focus of the Sarah Everard murder is being lost. Sarah, you will recall, was killed by a police officer – but she was not the first. We only have to look back to May 9th 2020, to find the case of Claire Parry, who was found left dying in a pub car park at The Horns, West Parley in Dorset.
Claire, 41, was married with two children but had been having an affair with Timothy Brehmer, a police officer, for around ten years. Evidence suggested that Claire’s marriage was all but over, but she then found out that Brehmer was a serial love cheat and confronted him about it.
An argument broke out, and in what was later described by Brehmer in court as a “kerfuffle” – Claire sustained severe neck injuries. Brehmer, however, drove off, saying he did not realise Claire was seriously injured. Brehmer did everything possible to cover his tracks, including a factory reset on his phone, but he was quickly traced and arrested. His fellow police officers did not accept Brehmer’s account of the incident, and on May 13th, 2020, he was charged with Claire’s murder.
In October last year, the case came to trial at Salisbury Crown Court, where very controversially, the jury concluded that Brehmer was not guilty of murder.
Brehmer had, however, agreed to plead guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to ten years six months by Mr Justice Jacobs, saying:
“I am sure that you did deliberately take Claire Parry by the neck, applying significant force with your forearm or the crook of your elbow for a period of time while she struggled against you, thereby causing the severe neck injuries which the pathologist described.
“The evidence from the pathologist was that those injuries which she described as ‘severe’ on a scale of mild, moderate, or severe and resulted from the application of significant force to the neck for a period of a minimum of 10 to 30 seconds and possibly longer.
“She said it was difficult to envisage a situation where a struggle in the car imparted the necessary degree of force or could explain the extent and severity of the neck injuries.”
He added: “You were a trained and experienced police officer and your character witnesses described how you would help others. “Yet you did nothing to try to help Claire Parry. You did not ask her how she was. That was because you knew how she was. You could not have possibly thought, as you said in your police interview, that she was taking a breath.
“You must have known that her body had gone limp after your assault on her. Before you walked to the car park entrance, you must have seen how she was – hanging half out of the car.”
Many, however, were outraged that Timothy Brehmer (if given parole) could be free to walk the streets by 2028. Consequently, in March 2021, at the Court of Appeal, his sentence was increased to thirteen and a half years.
In researching this tragic story, I started to ask many questions, and in many respects, this page is not the correct one to express them.
I will indeed leave them for another day.
But one thought I would leave with you is when does manslaughter become a case of murder?
Clearly, the jury accepted Brehmer’s version, that he initially had no intent to murder Claire. But then we hear what was said by My Justice Jacobs that Brehmer, a trained police officer, just walked away after inflicting very significant pressure on Claire’s neck – leaving her hanging out of her car.
Sarah had not died at the scene – she was found by paramedics and did not die until the following day. Timothy Brehmer left her – not even calling for an ambulance. Had he called for help – would Claire still be alive to be with her loved ones?
Was Claire murdered by intentional neglect?
Whatever your opinion Claire Parry died – her kids left without a mum.
Killed by an attack from a then serving police officer.
Claire Parry 1979 – 2020.
Authored by Steph. Twitter @PlaceSteph