Police officer jailed after trying to murder girlfriend in Manchester hotel

12012024 - James Riley - Granada
James Riley was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on Friday Credit: MEN Media

A police officer has been jailed for brutally attacking his ex-girlfriend in a “jealous rage” after he learned she was planning to start a new relationship.

James Riley, 28, strangled PhD student Ellie Moxham and left her unconscious on a Manchester city centre hotel room floor as he phoned for an ambulance.

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

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

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.

James Riley strangled Ellie Moxham for about two minutes

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.

“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.

“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.”