Man pleads guilty to killing lover by choking her to death

Man pleads guilty to killing lover by choking her to death saying it was a rough sex game that went wrong as prosecutor agrees not to continue with murder charge

  • Sam Pybus, 31, admitted killing Sophie Moss, 33, in Darlington in February
  • Miss Moss was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later
  • Pybus was charged with murder but plead not guilty, which was accepted 
  • Instead, he admitted ‘unlawful killing’ and pleaded guilty to manslaughter

A man has pleaded guilty to killing his lover by choking her to death in what he claims was a rough sex game that went wrong. 

Sam Pybus, 31, admitted killing Sophie Moss, 33, who was found in a critical condition following an incident at a property in Darlington in February. 

Miss Moss was taken to hospital but was tragically pronounced dead a short time later. 


 Sam Pybus, 31, (left) admitted killing Sophie Moss, 33, (right) who was found in a critical condition following an incident at a property in Darlington in February

‘Fifty Shades defence’ to be banned

Killers can no longer use the ‘Fifty Shades defence’ to counter murder charges after a new law was passed.

An amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill prevents ‘consensual rough sex’ from being a defence to harming or killing a victim in jury trials.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) tabled the amendment in July last year amid pressure from campaigners for legislation to stop abusers who kill their partners from claiming their victims were a willing participant in a ‘sex game gone wrong’. 

Pybus was charged with murder but entered a not guilty plea, which was accepted by the prosecution at Teesside Crown Court today.

Instead, he admitted ‘unlawful killing’ and pleaded guilty to manslaughter during his court appearance, wearing a grey suit and white shirt.

Pybus said he ‘applied hand pressure’ to Miss Moss’s neck and agreed that this action is what killed her.

But he said this was with her consent during sex, and said they had engaged in this sexual activity previously. 

Sam Green QC, representing Pybus, said: ‘The defendant has informed his legal team that he will plead guilty on the basis of – One: he accepts that he applied hand pressure to the neck of Sophie Moss. 

‘She consented to that hand pressure as part of the sexual activity that she and Sam Pybus were engaging in and she had done so previously.

‘Two: he accepts that the pressure applied to her neck on this occasion caused her death.

‘Three: he had no intention of harming her or causing her injury.’

Pybus, of Darlington, will be sentenced on September 7.

He was remanded in custody.


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Pybus was charged with murder but entered a not guilty plea, which was accepted by the prosecution at Teesside Crown Court (pictured) today

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