THE heartbroken mother of murdered vet Catherine Gowing says the pain of losing her daughter is now more "unbearable" than ever.
The Gowing family will this week hold a memorial service to mark the first anniversary of their loved one's brutal murder. The dismembered remains of the tragic vet were discovered in two separate locations in the Welsh town of Mold, last October.
Her murderer, Clive Sharp, is serving 37 years in prison after being convicted in February for the "callous murder" of the 37-year-old.
Sharp, who previously raped a 15-year-old girl, admitted strangling and raping Mrs Gowing before chopping up her body. The communities of Mold and Kinnity, in Offaly, were united in their condemnation of Catherine's horrific murder.
Her mother, Maureen Gowing, says the family's grief is as raw as ever as they prepare for Catherine's anniversary.
"It's just as raw – maybe even worse because we were anaesthetised at the beginning," she told 'Wales Online'.
"The shock was unreal. It did (sink in), but it wasn't as real as it is now."
In an emotional tribute to her late daughter, Mrs Gowing described her as "everything I would have loved to be".
"All our friends in Wales and Ireland, I would say, have got me through. The beautiful letters and the poems – the caring nature of them.
"People who knew Catherine and loved her (have written letters). I think the love the people had for Catherine – I felt it. They almost knew her as I know her – a perfect human being."
Sharp was already a convicted rapist and sex attacker when he killed Catherine.
His attack and murder of Catherine had a "high level of planning and premeditation", according to the judge, who told Sharp in February he committed the gruesome crime "to gratify your perverted sexual desires".
During a prison programme for sex offenders, Sharp told how he had long-standing fantasies about raping and murdering a woman.
But because his convictions for sexual offences, including one for raping a teenage girl, pre-dated the creation of the sex offenders' register, he did not have to report to any authority after his release, and no authority had to alert the public to his sick past.
Sharp had been in a relationship with Catherine's colleague and housemate, Jane Doyle, but it was when Jane was on a visit to Ireland that he had a row with another woman he was involved with and drove to New Brighton to target Catherine.
Catherine was last seen alive on an Asda supermarket's CCTV at 8.35pm on Friday, October 12, last year, after finishing work at the Esmor Evans veterinary clinic in Mold.
The precise details of what happened during the attack are not known and the cause of Catherine's death has not been determined.