AN RAF pilot who went on trial accused of trying to strangle his partner to death has been cleared.

Helicopter pilot Timothy Barry showed visible relief as the jury handed down unanimous not guilty verdicts to the two counts he faced yesterday.

The 31-year-old of Mill View, Cuxham, had already admitted one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in relation to the incident but had denied two more serious charges.

Prosecutors had claimed that the RAF flight lieutenant attempted to kill his partner by strangulation in the early hours of January 14, 2018, at the cottage they shared in Cuxham.

Jurors at Oxford Crown Court took three hours and eight minutes to find Barry not guilty of attempted murder and of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm yesterday.

He will be sentenced for the single count of assault on December 19 at the same court.

After the verdicts had been handed down Barry left the dock and hugged emotional friends in the public gallery.

Agreeing to adjourn his sentencing presiding Judge Ian Pringle QC said he would order a pre-sentence report from the National Probation Service.

He said: "You must understand that all options are open and the fact I am adjourning for sentence doesn't give you any indication of what sentence you are likely to receive."

Turning to the jury he thanked them for their 'care and attention' in trying the 'difficult case.'

During the trial prosecutor Jane Davies told jurors of the incident: “They had an argument, [his partner] 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.”

A 999 call played to the court heard Barry repeatedly say 'I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry’ and ‘stay with me, stay with me’.

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.”

Barry gave evidence during the trial and from the witness box he said he still loved the woman, an RAF squadron leader, and he denied trying to murder her.

Speaking of the night he said the pair had drunk bottles of champagne before going out for a meal and then to a bar to celebrate her return from a tour abroad.

They ended the night with an argument, he said, and when they returned home Barry tried to reconcile with her.

He told jurors he was 'really, really drunk' and described his mental state as 'at my emotional capacity'.

Detailing the alleged attack that followed he said he pushed the woman on to a bed but could not recall how his hands came to her neck.

Asked about the aftermath he said: "I felt like my life was over. That I had ruined everything, that I was a monster.

"I love her and nothing has ever changed, I always have."

Barry remains on bail to await sentencing for assault.