AN RAF pilot who strangled his partner in a 'potentially fatal' drunken attack has been handed a community penalty.

Prosecutors had claimed that Timothy Barry had tried to kill his partner after a row at the home they shared but a jury found him not guilty.

He was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court today for one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm which he had already admitted.

The 31-year-old of Mill View, Cuxham's defence team told the court that any jail term -suspended or not - could hinder his career with the RAF.

Sentencing, presiding Judge Ian Pringle QC stayed his hand from ordering a jail term and instead made Barry subject to a community order.

He told Barry:"What you actually did was place you hands around her neck.

"One of the most vulnerable parts of the human body and I can't ignore the fact that that is potentially a very serious and potentially fatal attack on another person.

"Of your character, I heard during the course of the trial from quite a number of witnesses, those who you worked with at the RAF.

"Everyone spoke extraordinarily highly."

Barry had admitted one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm but denied the more serious charges of attempted murder and attempting to cause grievous bodily harm.

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.

READ AGAIN: Timothy Barry's trial opens in RAF attempted murder case.

Prosecutor Jane Davies told jurors of the incident at the trial: “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.”

READ AGAIN: RAF pilot on trial for attempted murder says he felt like 'absolute monster'.

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 attack 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."

At the end of his trial at Oxford Crown Court last month jurors found him not guilty to both counts after three hours and eight minutes and he was sentenced for the assault at the same court yesterday.

In mitigation at the hearing his defence barrister Lisa Wilding QC said: "He has shown very significant contrition and remorse for the events of that night.

"There is no suggestion in this case that any incident of this type had ever occurred before."

She went on to say that the physical injuries sustained were 'the most minor' in the spectrum for assaults occasioning actual bodily harm.

She also spoke of Barry's previous good character and the court heard of positive references from his work colleagues.

Ms Wilding said: "There is no guarantee that he will be able to keep employment in the RAF going forward.

"If your honour considers it commensurate with your public duty to pass a non custodial sentence that would obviously afford him a far greater opportunity to retain his position in the RAF than if your honour passes a custodial sentence, even a suspended one."

Ultimately, Barry was handed a community order for 18 months.

As part of that sentence he must take part in 30 days of the Building Better Relationships programme to tackle his offending and 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

He must also pay a victim surcharge.