Oxford

RAF Benson pilot sentenced for attacking girlfriend

Flt Lt Timothy Barry Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Flt Lt Timothy Barry admitted assault at a previous hearing

An RAF pilot who held his hands around his girlfriend's neck following an argument has been sentenced to a community order.

Flt Lt Timothy Barry, 31, attacked Sqn Ldr Sarah Seddon, 40, after a night out in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, in 2018.

Both were pilots based at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire at the time.

Barry was cleared of attempted murder and grievous bodily harm with intent during a trial at Oxford Crown Court in November, but admitted assault.

He has been given an 18-month community order.

Judge Ian Pringle QC told him: "[You] placed your hands around her neck, one of the most vulnerable parts of the human body.

"I cannot ignore that that is potentially very serious and a potential fatal attack."

He said there were several migrating factors, including his good character and the fact he had "done two tours of duty where you have risked your life on behalf of this country", which meant he could pass a community sentence.

'Wholly unusual'

During the trial Barry, of Mill View, Cuxham, said he felt like an "absolute monster" after he put his hands around his girlfriend's neck and had tried to kill himself afterwards.

He said the couple drank a lot of alcohol to celebrate Sqn Ldr Seddon's return from deployment but they argued on a night out and when they got home.

The court heard he told police he "felt paralysed" during the assault, that it was "like an out of body kind of thing", and that he held her neck for "about a minute".

During a 999 call following the assault, the jury was told Barry said: "I have tried to kill my girlfriend by strangulation."

Lisa Wilding QC, defending, said Barry had shown "significant contrition and remorse" for his actions.

"He was clearly very emotionally disturbed at the time... there is no evidence of serious injury in this case," she said.

She told the court the case was "wholly unusual".

As part of his sentence, Barry was ordered to undertake better relationships and rehabilitation courses.

The court heard he had been grounded by the RAF and was performing a different role for the force.

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