Beds, Herts & Bucks

Terry Fryatt jailed for choking drinking partner

Terry Fryatt Image copyright Hertfordshire Police
Image caption Terry Fryatt was initially charged with his friend's murder but has been jailed for manslaughter

A man who accidentally choked his drinking partner to death, then sent a text to his friend saying "Please call me, I've killed Phil", has been jailed.

Terry Fryatt initially acted in self defence when Philip Barry came at him in a Hertford woodland, a court heard.

But Fryatt held on to Mr Barry, 28, for too long, applying too much pressure to his neck and he died, the jury heard.

Fryatt, 30, of Horns Close, Hertford, admitted manslaughter and was jailed earlier for five-and-a-half years.

St Albans Crown Court heard the pair, both known to drink and take drugs, had spent a large amount of time together in the weeks leading up to the death on 26 May.

The two men were in a wooded area off of Hornsmill Road and Brickenden Lane when the altercation occurred at about 20:45 BST.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Police were called to reports of concern for the welfare of a man in woodland

Prosecutor Alan Blake told the court Fryatt called his father, with whom he lived, and told him in a panic, "I've knocked him out and he is not responding". He then asked his father to come to the woods, which he refused to do.

Next Fryatt sent a text to his friend asking for help saying, "I've killed Phil."

The court heard Fryatt then returned home and told his father: "I think I've killed him. I don't know what to do."

In his confused state Fryatt ran back and forth between the body and his home, once telling a passerby "my mate's dead".

Fryatt then called police and led them to Mr Barry's body. In his police statement Fryatt said his friend had become angry when he refused to buy him anymore beer, prompting Mr Barry to attack him.

As Fryatt tried to restrain Mr Barry, the latter's body suddenly went limp, the court heard.

He said he tried chest compressions to revive his friend, but was unable to.

Graham Trembath QC, defending, said: "This is a tragic case. Had these two men not been drinking and taking drugs, the likelihood is we would not be here today."

Fryatt was initially charged with murder but Judge Michael Kay QC said it was accepted now that Fryatt had held on to Mr Barry for too long as he tried to restrain him.

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