independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Video: Catherine Gowing's killer told he may never be freed

Emma Gowing, sister of vet Catherine Gowing, with her husband Shay Maguire, arriving at court in Mold, Wales

THE man who admitted murdering vet Catherine Gowing has been warned by a judge he may never be released from jail.

Clive Sharp (46) pleaded guilty to the murder of the Offaly woman, who was living and working in north Wales.

Only some of her remains have been recovered by police – the remainder are believed to have been dumped into the River Dee.

Sharp entered the secure dock at Mold Crown Court and admitted her murder.

Sentence was adjourned but he was told by a judge that he may never be released.

Members of Ms Gowing's family attended court, supported by a family liaison officer.

Her sister Emma Gowing sat feet from the killer and looked intently at him for most of the hearing. They declined to comment afterwards.

The defendant, originally from Sealand on Deeside but with an address at Coed y Parc Industrial Estate, Bethesda, Gwynedd, north Wales, was remanded in custody pending sentence by Mr Justice Griffith-Williams.

He will be sentenced on February 25.

But the judge told Sharp: "There is only one sentence I can pass on you for this offence, as you will know. I have to work out what the minimum term you will serve is before the Parole Board considers you for release – if you are ever to be released."

Ms Gowing (37) lived with a work colleague at the village of New Brighton, near the market town of Mold, and worked at a local veterinary centre.

Her murder is said to have taken place some time between October 11 and October 17 last year.

The judge said that he would not need pre-sentence or psychiatric reports and said that clearly there could only be one sentence, life imprisonment.

"There are a number of concerns about this case which lead me to the view that I should have time to reflect upon it," he said.

He said that he appreciated that the delay would add to the upset and tension of the family and loved ones, but careful assessment would have to be made.

He asked for a complete factual picture of the defendant's previous convictions and previous reports "where he expresses his fantasies".

Sharp said nothing during the eight-minute hearing apart from confirming his name. When the charge was put to him he pleaded guilty.

Elwen Evans QC, defending, said that the defendant pleaded guilty without any basis of plea.

Ms Gowing had not been seen since a sighting of her on CCTV at the Asda supermarket in Queensferry on Friday October 12.

North Wales Police found her burnt-out car close to a disused quarry at Alltami, less than two miles from her home.

An extensive search of the area around the quarry and its pool was carried out by specialist police teams including divers. But her remains were found in two separate areas, at Sealand and at the River Dee close to Chester. Her remains were buried in her home town.

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