A KILLER who strangled his lover to death during sex has been caged for four years.
Sam Pybus, 32, waited until his wife had gone to bed before texting his secret lover Sophie Moss, 33, to arrange to meet.
He went to her house where they had sex but during intercourse he strangled her for up to several minutes until she was dead.
He didn't bother giving first aid and instead sat in his car for 15 minutes deciding what to do, it was said.
He eventually drove to a police station and told staff he believed he had strangled her.
Officers raced to her flat where they found her unresponsive. She was rushed to hospital but doctors were unable to save her.
Pybus was yesterday jailed for four years and eight months but will be released after serving half.
He had been charged with murder but was allowed to plead guilty to the lesser manslaughter charge due to a lack of evidence that he intended to seriously harm her.
She had agreed for him to apply "mild pressure" to her neck during sex in the past, the court heard.
But campaigners still blasted the sentence as too lenient - and welcomed the closing of the "rough sex" loophole which has allowed abusers to get reduced sentences by claiming their victims consented to attacks.
Teresa Parker, of Women's Aid, said: "This low sentence shows exactly why it was so important to outlaw the so-called 'rough sex' defence.
"This defence has routinely been used by men who have killed women to secure a lower sentence.
"In 45 per cent of cases in which a man kills a woman during a sexual act and claims she gave her consent, the defence of 'consent for sexual gratification' succeeds, leading to lower sentences.
"Four years and eight months for a woman's life sends out a terrifying message to women living with violent and abusive partners.
"With on average three women being killed by current or former partners every fortnight in the UK, this recent change to the law could not be any more vital and this must be one of the last cases we see like this."
Pybus had been having a relationship with Sophie behind his wife's back for three years.
They would meet around six times a year for sex and in the early hours of February 7 this year he arranged to go to her home in Darlington, Co Durham, after he had downed 24 bottles of Amstel lager.
Prosecutor Richard Wright QC told Teesside crown court: "His wife had gone to bed at about 10.30 and the defendant remained downstairs.
"He made contact with Sophie Moss to travel to her flat to arrange to have sexual intercourse with her.
"At 4:47 in the early hours the defendant walked into Darlington police station having driven there in his car from Sophie's flat.
"He told them he believed he had strangled her but he was unsure she was breathing.
"Officers were immediately deployed and attended the flat. They found Sophie naked and entirely unresponsive.
"All efforts at the scene and at the hospital were unsuccessful and Sophie was declared dead in hospital."
Pybus, of Middleton St George, Darlington, told police he could not recall what happened but said his hands were sore, suggesting he had strangled her.
Sophie's brother James said in a victim impact statement: "She was joyous, vibrant and talented.
"Somehow we must come to terms with never knowing the full circumstances.
"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 and infinitely tragic end."
Sophie lived alone at the time she died. Daniel Parkington, the father of her two boys, aged five and six, said: "They have been given a life sentence.
"It's not fair and it never will be."
He added that one of them had asked to "Facetime his mummy from heaven".
Sam Green, mitigating, said Pybus had "emotions of self-disgust and the difficulties of living with that he had done.
Judge Paul Watson QC said no sentence could make up for the loss her family had suffered.
He told Pybus: "This was a case in which at the time you were voluntarily intoxicated, unable to judge the situation and perhaps to have stopped when it was obvious that you had gone too far."
"It was obviously dangerous conduct, whether consensual or otherwise.
"Dangerous in the sense that any compression of the neck creates an obvious risk of brain damage or worse as this case so tragically demonstrates."
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