Killer felt more remorse for his dog than victim, says estranged wife

Man who strangled woman to death during sex was more concerned about fate of his pet dog and should serve longer in prison, says estranged wife who he also strangled in bed

  • Sam Pybus, 32, killed Sophie Moss by applying pressure to her neck during sex
  • His estranged wife Louise Pybus, 29, says he sent letters to her from prison cell
  • She says letters ‘reek of self pity’ and do not express genuine remorse for actions

A man who strangled a woman to death during sex is more concerned about not seeing his pet dog than showing remorse for his victim, his estranged wife has said.

Sam Pybus, 32, was jailed last month for killing Sophie Moss, a vulnerable 33-year-old mother of two, by applying pressure to her neck during sex and then claiming it was consensual.

The Crown Prosecution Service accepted a guilty plea for manslaughter after determining there was insufficient evidence to charge him with murder.

At Teeside Crown Court, Judge Paul Watson QC jailed Pybus for four years and eight months after giving him credit for his guilty plea and determining he was remorseful.


Sam Pybus (right) who strangled Sophie Moss to death during sex is more concerned about not seeing his pet dog than showing remorse for his victim, his wife Louise Pybus (left) has said

But his estranged wife Louise Pybus has said the killer has sent her letters from prison which show he is more concerned about never seeing his Staffordshire terrier than expressing remorse for Sophie and her family.

The 29-year-old, who says she told police Pybus had strangled her during sex but that he stopped when she said she did not like it, said his lack of remorse was an ‘insult’ to Sophie’s family. 

Ms Pybus, who has backed calls for his sentence to be extended, told Times Radio: ‘Although he’s sent letters where he was saying sorry – “I’m sorry for upsetting your family and I’m sorry for betraying you and everything” – he never actually said in the letters, “I am sorry for killing Sophie”.

Ms Pybus, who is awaiting the finalisation of their divorce, said in one letter which ‘reeked of self-pity’, he expressed concern that he would never see his pet dog again.

She added: ‘It’s a massive insult to Sophie and her family that he is writing letters like this saying that he’s struggling when there’s two kids out there that have lost their mum.’ 

Teesside Crown Court heard how Pybus had drunk 24 bottles of lager when he applied pressure to her neck for tens of seconds or even minutes at her flat in Darlington in February.


 Pybus (left) admitted killing Sophie Moss, 33, (right) who was found in a critical condition after an incident at a property in Darlington and has been jailed for four years and eight months

What is the unduly lenient sentence scheme?

The Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme provides for the public to ask the Attorney General to refer a sentence to the Court of Appeal for being too low.

The Attorney General’s Office can review very low sentences given by the Crown Court in England and Wales, if asked to do so.

Only sentences for specific offences can be reviewed, including murder, manslaughter and rape. 

To meet the criteria to be judged as ‘unduly lenient’, the law states that the given sentence must ‘fall outside the range of sentences which the judge, applying his mind to all the relevant factors, could reasonably consider appropriate.’

Anyone can request for a sentence to be reviewed – even if they are not directly involved in the case.

If the Attorney General decides to send the case to the Court of Appeal, they will then decide whether to leave the sentence as it is, find it to be unduly lenient and increase it or refuse to hear the appeal.

Pybus woke up and found Ms Moss naked and unresponsive but did not dial 999, waiting in his car for 15 minutes before driving to a police station to raise the alarm, the court heard.

A post-mortem examination revealed he had applied enough pressure to her neck for long enough to kill. There was no evidence of any other injuries or violence.

The 32-year-old claimed to have little recollection of what happened but said Sophie had ‘encouraged and enjoyed’ having pressure applied to her neck. 

The Crown Prosecution Service said there was not sufficient evidence to support a charge of murder as there was nothing to suggest he intended to kill her or cause serious harm.

Married Pybus told police he and Ms Moss had been in a casual relationship for three years, and that she encouraged him to strangle her during consensual sex.

The court heard Ms Moss’s long-term partner, not named in court, said likewise.

Louise Pybus has previously criticised the investigators’ decision to look into Sophie’s sexual history and not her husband’s.

She told ITV: ‘I think if the CPS and the police had really looked into some of his past, they would have uncovered a history of sexual violence and emotional abuse. And more than anything, a complete lack of respect for women, and misogyny.

“Instead, what they did was go out and find evidence to support what Sam said.’ 

Last week, it was confirmed the sentence had been referred to the Court of Appeal by the Attorney General under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme, a move supported by Louise Pybus.

The appeal could see Pybus’s jail term extended if the court sees fit to find the original sentence unduly lenient.

A spokesman from the Attorney General’s Office said: ‘I can confirm that the Attorney General has referred Sam Pybus’s sentence to the Court of Appeal as she agrees that it appears unduly lenient. 

‘It is now for the court to decide whether to increase the sentence.’

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