Sophie Moss killer: his wife condemns the decision not to increase the sentence | Conviction
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Women’s groups have called for a further revision of the law after the Court of Appeal refused to increase the sentence of a man imprisoned for less than five years after suffocating a woman to death during sex.
Sam Pybus’s wife called the decision “extremely disappointing” and “blaming the victim”.
Pybus admitted the manslaughter of Sophie Moss after putting “prolonged” pressure on her neck at her Darlington home in the early hours of February 7. The 32-year-old told police Moss would encourage him to strangle him during sex, Teesside Crown Court has learned.
The sentencing judge admitted that the accused did not intend to kill the 33-year-old man and that his remorse was genuine, and sentenced him to four years and eight months in prison.
On Friday, in the court of appeal, three judges rejected an attempt by Attorney General Suella Braverman to increase Pybus’s sentence.
Lady Justice Macur, sitting with Lady Justice Carr and Mr. Justice Murray, said: “Considering all the circumstances of this case, we are not convinced that the judge was wrong in the categorization, was wrong in the categorization. the elevation he applied … or got it wrong. in the element of remission he granted for mitigation and then for his guilty plea. “
Pybus’s ex-wife Louise Howitt, who was sleeping upstairs in their bedroom when he snuck up to meet Moss for sex, had backed the demand for a harsher sentence.
After Friday’s hearing, she said: “It is extremely disappointing. This does not reflect the life of grief he inflicted on Sophie’s family. It sends a very clear message to both men and women that the brutal sexual defense is valid and works, even though the Domestic Abuse Law was supposed to abolish it.
“I think it was a very lenient sentence and it puts the blame on Sophie, which to me is a blame for the victim and that shouldn’t be happening.”
Fiona Mackenzie, of the campaign group We Can’t Consent to This (WCCTT), said “sexual practice”, although this has never been tested in court, and although this is strongly refuted by the former partner of longtime Sophie and by the ex-wife of Sam Pybus.
Along with the Center for Women’s Justice (CWJ), the WCCTT attempted to intervene in the appeal, Mackenzie said, “proving that strangulation is an essential part of domestic and sexual violence and that claims of ‘consent’ strangulation were too easily accepted by the courts with lighter sentences and lighter burdens. This was rejected by Lady Macur who agreed with the Pybus defense team that Sophie’s strangulation was consensual and therefore our proof did not apply.
“It couldn’t be a clearer case to show that the law (what it says and how it works) needs to change. Sophie Moss deserves better, and Parliament must come back to it.
Harriet Wistrich, Director of the CWJ, said: “We believe that in addition to reviewing the law, there needs to be a change of approach in prosecuting such cases so that proper scrutiny from those around all of them. evidence is taken into account before conceding the defendant’s account. This case also demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the nature of domestic violence and violent male delinquency. “
Last July, the Minister of the Interior, Priti Patel, tweeted: “We have published a clause to end the so-called ‘defense against brutal sex’, which allows abusers to escape justice by claiming that their victims have consented to brutal sex.
But lawyers argue that it was never a real defense and all that really happened was that the Crown Prosecution Service guidelines were updated to reiterate that “a person is incapable of consent to harm resulting in ABH. [actual bodily harm] or any other more serious injury, with the aim of obtaining sexual gratification … Thus, an accused cannot rely on the consent of a victim to inflict such damage in the context of any defense known as “violent sex”. », And will remain responsible for prosecution for ABH or GBH [grievous bodily harm]. “
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