A bodyguard pictured with Prince Harry and Meghan is a former Met Police officer convicted of strangling his wife leaving her ‘seconds away from death’, MailOnline can reveal.
Pere Daobry, 51, was pictured driving the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in a Range Rover on September 5 as they left Frogmore cottage on their way to London’s Euston station.
Despite his important role protecting the high-profile couple Daobry was convicted at Colchester Magistrates Court in September 2016 of attacking his wife, Sarah Jay, a former Essex Police sergeant, after she declared that she no longer loved him.
The 6ft 7in bodybuilder only escaped imprisonment because he called 999 and confessed to his crime – while his wife committed suicide in 2019 after describing him as a ‘lunatic’.
The revelation will raise eyebrows as Meghan has long championed women’s rights – especially gender-based violence.
Pere Daobry, 51, was pictured driving the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in a Range Rover as they left Frogmore cottage on their way to London’s Euston station
Pere Daobry was convicted at Colchester Magistrates Court in September 2016 of attacking his wife, Sarah Jay (the couple, pictured together), a former Essex Police sergeant, after she declared that she no longer loved him
In a traumatic interview after his conviction, Mrs Jay (pictured, her injuries) said: ‘For any man to do this is terrible – for a policeman to do what he did is outrageous. He nearly killed me. All he got is a slap on the wrists. What deterrent is that for other men ?’
The couple were driven out of Frogmore Cottage on September 5 by two bodyguards who MailOnline can reveal are both former Met Police officers including Dave Langdown (right in front of a smiling Harry) and Pere Daobry (left)
The Duchess of Sussex smiled back as they headed to the north-west for her speech on gender equality while Pere Daobry sat in the front
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are seen arriving at Euston Station on a train from Manchester, having attended the One Young World summit on September 5
During the couple’s tour to South Africa in 2019 Meghan said in an ActionAid speech that men and boys should be held accountable for their actions.
A source said: ‘When you consider how outspoken Meghan is on women’s issues it’s quite amazing that a bodyguard with that sort of background has been employed.
‘His wife Sarah went through a really traumatic time with him and I’m sure if Meghan and Harry knew the full story they wouldn’t be at all comfortable with him being employed as their bodyguard.
‘It was such a shock when I saw the picture and recognised Pere instantly – he is quite tall and distinctive and he has significant scarring on his face so he’s quite recognisable.
‘Pere treated Sarah appallingly and she had to escape through a window twice to get away from him. I really don’t think Harry and Meghan would want someone like him guarding them.’
In a traumatic interview after his conviction, Mrs Jay said: ‘I suffered at the hands of this lunatic for two years. I am devastated he isn’t behind bars. He deserves to be.
‘For any man to do this is terrible – for a policeman to do what he did is outrageous. He nearly killed me. All he got is a slap on the wrists. What deterrent is that for other men ?’
She added:’ When I met him I was a strong, confident, capable woman. I could never have imagine being a victim of domestic violence. I was terrified, isolated and had no one to turn to.’
During his time at the Met, Pere Daobry (pictured with Sarah Jay) served as a firearms officer in close protection and diplomatic protection
Mrs Jay – who had a daughter through a previous relationship when she met him -then chillingly revealed: ‘I was only seconds away from death – that terrifies me.’
Recalling the incident in December 2015, which started after a row in their bedroom, she said: ‘I suggested he go to the gym to calm down and moved away to get away from him.
‘He grabbed me. The next thing I remember was being on my back. I was struggling to breathe. I could feel his rage. He had his hands around my neck and was choking me.
‘All I could concentrate on was staying alive. I was gasping for breath but couldn’t get any in. I realised I had to lay still, not struggle and breathe through my nose. Tryting to do that was the last thing I remember.’
At his trial Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard how the ex-officer, who worked for the Met for 12 years, told the 999-call handler: ‘I want to report an assault and I am the perpetrator. I have assaulted my wife.’
When asked by the operator if his wife needed an ambulance, the dad-of-four responded: ‘Yeah, I tried to strangle her.’ In the attack Mrs Jay also suffered scratches and pain to her neck, scratches on her back and swelling on her forehead.
Sarah Jay, a former Essex Police sergeant, later committed suicide after describing him as a ‘lunatic’
News of Daobry’s conviction will come as an embarrassment to Harry and Meghan who have campaigned to raise awareness on domestic violence through their Archewell Foundation.
Last year it emerged the foundation had donated to the Dallas based domestic violence charity Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support after it had been affected by storms.
Domestic abuse campaigner David Challen said: ‘Pere Daobry is a violent convicted domestic abuser who should be in jail, not be bodyguarding Harry and Meghan.
‘Daobry strangled his ex-wife, Sarah Jay, leaving her seconds from death after a two-year campaign of mental and physical torture, from which he served no custodial sentence.
‘That Sarah has since lost her battle with PTSD and depression to suicide, Daobry’s new role as a trusted protection officer to the Susssexes is nothing short of an insult to Sarah Jay’s memory.
‘The security team who hired Daobry should be aware of his history and that entrusting him is in stark contrast to women’s rights and domestic abuse issues the Sussexes courageously campaign on.
‘I sincerely hope that the Sussexes are made aware and that for Sarah’s family this man is removed from his role immediately.’
Daobry was married to Mrs Jay for two years before he strangled her. He later denied the assault but was found guilty after a trial
Daobry was married to Mrs Jay for two years before he strangled her. He later denied the assault but was found guilty after a trial.
During the hearing, Daobry claimed to have used a police-approved choke hold to stop Mrs Jay from taking an overdose of prescribed tablets at their home in the pretty Essex village of Thorpe-le-Soken.
But magistrates rejected his evidence ‘entirely’ and found him guilty of assault. The offence was serious enough that he could have been jailed but he was instead handed a 12-week suspended prison sentence.
Explaining why the sentencing was suspended, Alix Mason, chair of the bench at Colchester Magistrates’ Court, said: ‘This was a very unpleasant assault on Mrs Jay, and she was clearly terrified.
‘There is no credit for an early guilty plea. Having said that, we do take note you have no previous convictions, and you had the decency to ring 999.’
The defendant was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and handed a year-long restraining order.
The defendant (pictured Pere Daobry with Sarah Jay) was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and handed a year-long restraining order
During the hearing, Daobry claimed to have used a police-approved choke hold to stop Mrs Jay from taking an overdose of prescribed tablets at their home in the pretty Essex village of Thorpe-le-Soken
He was also ordered to pay a total of £1,665, including £930 in compensation to Mrs Jay and £620 in court costs.
After leaving the Met, Daobry worked as a security guard for a number of VIPs and wealthy individuals in Australia, around Europe and also formerly protected a member of the UAE royal family.
During his time at the Met, he served as a firearms officer in close protection and diplomatic protection.
His Linkedin profile states: ‘My experience and skill set. I am a Close Protection Operative and Surveillance [….] I have previously looked after clients in Sydney Australia and Dubai and around Europe.’
He describes himself as a ‘Security Consultant/Security Driver, surveillance Operative, [and] Physical Penetration Operative.’
He has four children through two previous relationships but had none with Mrs Jay.
During his trial, the court heard that after leaving the Met Daobry went to work in close protection in Australia and returned to live in the marital home in December 2015.
Mrs Jay told the court: ‘When he came back, I didn’t recognise him as being the same person. I told him I didn’t love him and I did not recognise him as the person I married.’ S
he said he got angry and began shouting and came towards her as she was on a bed – she tried to get away.
She added: ‘He grabbed me, and I don’t know if I was pushed or I fell, but the next thing I remember I was on my back between the bed and the wall.
‘My feet were in the air, and I was being held by my throat. I was struggling to breathe.’
Daobry was pictured driving Harry and Meghan’s Range Rover alongside his former Met colleague Dave Langdown who was given an honour by the Queen – the Royal Victorian Medal – for services to the Royal Family.
Daobry was pictured driving Harry and Meghan’s (pictured, the couple earlier this month at Windsor Castle in Berkshire following the death of Queen Elizabeth II) Range Rover alongside his former Met colleague Dave Langdown who was given an honour by the Queen – the Royal Victorian Medal – for services to the Royal Family
Harry and Meghan are believed to be paying for Mr Langdown and Daobry’s services after they were told that they would not be provided with taxpayer funded official armed police bodyguards. Pictured: The Sussexes’ UK residence of Frogmore Cottage
In the past, he accompanied Meghan to New York for her baby shower and travelled with Harry on his trip to Las Vegas where the royal infamously played naked billiards with a stripper.
Mr Langdown – who works for US firm Broadstone Risks whose clients include Beyonce and Jay z – also accompanied the couple on their royal engagements in the UK.
Harry and Meghan are believed to be paying for Mr Langdown and Daobry’s services after they were told that they would not be provided with taxpayer funded official armed police bodyguards.
When MailOnline showed Daobry’s parents who live in north London, pictures of him with Harry and Meghan, they confirmed it was their son but added: ‘He never tells us about his work. We didn’t know he was guarding them but we are very proud of him.’