AN RAF pilot strangled his squadron leader girlfriend as her three-year-old son slept in the next room, a court has heard.

Timothy Barry rang 999 and told the call handler he had 'tried to kill' Sarah Seddon, Oxford Crown Court heard today, after an alcohol-fuelled argument during which she threatened to leave him.

Barry, 31, of Mill View in Cuxham, denies attempted murder but admits a lesser offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Jurors were told how the flight lieutenant strangled his partner in the early hours of January 14, 2018, at the cottage they shared in the small South Oxfordshire village.

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Opening the trial, prosecutor Jane Davies said: “They had an argument, she said she was leaving, and he pushed her shoulders onto the bed, had his hands around her neck and was strangling her.

“The prosecution’s case is that he was intending to kill her.

“You may well feel that he simply lost his temper - that he was in a rage, that he’s a man who demands to be in control and on this night he thought she was going to leave him.”

Barry appeared in court wearing a suit and a poppy for Armistice Day, having already pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and not guilty to an alternative count of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm.

The court heard a 999 call, made by Barry, in which he repeatedly says ‘I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry’ and ‘stay with me, stay with me’. 

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He said at the start of the call: “I’ve, er, tried to kill my girlfriend by strangulation.

“She’s unconscious but she’s breathing.”

He told the call handler that Ms Seddon was 38-years-old and they were both based at RAF Benson.

He added that she had a three-year-old son who was 'absolutely fine and asleep.' 

Body-worn camera footage from police revealed that the boy's room was mere metres from the bedroom in which his mother lay unconscious.

An officer, who checked on the little boy in bed, told him not to be frightened and to stay in his room, the footage recorded.

A babysitter had been looking after the child until his mum and Barry returned home from a night in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, shortly after midnight.

Oxford Mail:

Part of the main road running through Cuxham, close to where the alleged attempted murder happened. Picture: Google Maps

Her evidence reported that Ms Seddon had recently returned from a three-month tour in Afghanistan, and that 'welcome home' balloons were still decorating the house.

She said Barry went upstairs upon his return and did not seem to want to chat.

A taxi driver who drove the couple back from Marlow told police that Barry appeared 'aggressive' towards his partner and spoke in 'harsh' tones. 

He added that he could smell alcohol and Ms Seddon appeared 'upset' and 'staggered' as she exited the car.

Barry told the 999 caller that the pair had a 'massive argument' before he strangled her. 

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He disconnected the call several times and the handler had to ring back until he answered again, according to the recording played to jurors.

At one point the call handler told Barry she was concerned at noises she could hear in the background, and repeatedly asked what he was doing.

Upon arrival, police and paramedics found him 'covered in blood', the court heard, as he had self-harmed by slashing his arms.

He had also taken an overdose of tablets including paracetamol, and told officers at the scene he 'just wanted to die'.

Body-worn video camera footage from emergency service personnel recorded Barry sobbing as he sat handcuffed on the arm of a sofa.

He was also recorded telling an officer that he and Ms Seddon were living together, and that she had a husband in the Army. 

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The court heard Ms Seddon was initially unable to speak when she regained consciousness, and when she did she sounded ‘raspy’ and ‘very confused’.

A paramedic described her as being ‘pale and cold to the touch’ with ‘two noticeably red marks’ on her neck.

She was placed in a neck brace and stretchered into an ambulance, before being taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

Barry was arrested at the scene and, as the officer said 'on suspicion of', he interjected by saying 'attempted murder'.

During interview two days later, Barry told police he had only used those words as he had ‘jumped to the worst possible conclusion’.

Prosecutor Ms Davies said: “He said he felt paralysed, like it was an outer-body like thing.

“He said by strangling her he wanted her to see that the situation meant a lot to him.

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“The issue the jury has to decide is what the defendant was intending when he put his hands around her throat.”

A jury of seven men and five women was sworn in this afternoon, and told the trial is expected to last up to six days.

Ms Davies told them: “The prosecution’s case is that in the moments immediately after he strangled her, in a brief window of genuine remorse, he was candid and contrite about what he had done.

“You may conclude that as time passed, his initial remorse was starting to shift to self-preservation.”

The trial continues, but will not sit tomorrow.