Former Lancashire Police officer strangled ex-girlfriend in 'jealous rage' after she decided to leave him

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A police officer brutally attacked his ex-girlfriend in a “jealous rage” after he learned she was planning to start a new relationship, a court has heard.

James Riley, 28, strangled his ex-girlfriend and left her unconscious on a Manchester city centre hotel room floor as he phoned for an ambulance.

His victim was rushed to hospital and placed in an induced coma before she regained consciousness the following day.

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On Friday, Riley, from Preston was jailed at Manchester Crown Court for 16 years after he pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to attempted murder.

James Riley brutally attacked his ex-girlfriend in a "jealous rage" (Credit: GMP/ PA Wire)James Riley brutally attacked his ex-girlfriend in a "jealous rage" (Credit: GMP/ PA Wire)
James Riley brutally attacked his ex-girlfriend in a "jealous rage" (Credit: GMP/ PA Wire) | GMP/PA Wire

Riley, who was off-duty at the time of the incident on November 10 2022, was dismissed by his employers, Lancashire Constabulary, last year.

The couple had been in a relationship for several years and bought a house together in 2021, but it was effectively at an end by the date of the offence.

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Sentencing the defendant, Judge Patrick Field KC told him: "The relationship had become an unhappy one, characterised by jealousy and possessive behaviour on your part.

"Nevertheless, you and she had plans earlier to attend a concert in Manchester on November 10 and she was persuaded to come and stay at a hotel. A decision that I am sure she will forever regret.

"I note the observations in the pre-sentence report that you may well have interpreted her willingness to attend the concert as a hope for reconciliation.

"It is clear that she had no intention whatsoever of reconciling with you. She was intent on forming a new relationship with another man.

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"As a result of that you became consumed by uncontrollable anger and a jealous rage, and you attacked her with murderous intent.”

He said that Miss Moxham had no memory of the assault, but it was "clear" that Riley "gripped her throat and strangled her with such force over a significant period that her brain was starved of oxygen".

This caused her to lose consciousness, he said, and to suffer profound injuries which has led to continuing cognitive difficulties.

Judge Field went on: "To your discredit – once you realised Miss Moxham was indeed very seriously injured and in need of expert medical assistance – your first reaction seems to have been to call your parents to speak to them for about 11 minutes before, almost as an afterthought, calling for an ambulance.

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"You also abandoned Miss Moxham at the scene in an effort to save your own skin.

"While I accept this was not a pre-meditated attack and you acted spontaneously, this was nevertheless a brutal and determined attempt to kill your former partner."

Lancashire's Deputy Chief Constable Sacha Hatchett condemned Riley's actions, saying it was "utterly abhorrent that a police officer should act in this way."

"Riley's behaviour clearly fell very far short of what we demand of our officers and staff, both on and off duty," she added.

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"The vast majority of our staff are honest, hard-working people who just want to serve their communities, but when our employees fall below the standards we and the public expect and erode the trust we depend upon to police effectively and with legitimacy we will always act."