Sister stares down Sharp in court
CATHERINE Gowing's sister Emma emerged from Mold Crown Court to face the assembled cameras on a grim day in north Wales.
She had sat face-to-face with Catherine's killer Clive Sharp across court number one for the previous hour.
She had listened to the most distressing details of the terrible ordeal he inflicted on her sister in her final hours.
But she was composed and determined in court, accompanied by her husband Shay Maguire as they stared intently at the convicted sex-offender, and now convicted murderer, facing a minimum 37-year stretch in prison.
And Emma remained composed as she read her statement outside in the bitter cold.
Her victim impact statement, extracts of which were read in court, described the "unimaginable pain, suffering and grief" that Sharp had caused her family with "the recurring nightmare of what he did to her before she died".
Outside, Emma said: "The truth is the truth, the facts are facts. Catherine was brutally murdered, that is a fact. Catherine conducted her life with love, with kindness with compassion, with integrity.
"That is the truth."
She said that the life sentence imposed by Mr Justice John Griffith-Williams "means that today our world is a slightly safer place. No other woman will be harmed by the man who murdered my sister."
She added: "That is a good thing."
Emma said her sister – who had been fulfilling her life's ambition working as a vet – was "a beautiful light", adding: "She shone very brightly, she enriched the lives of all she encountered, all God's creatures.
"Her light is gone from our mortal world. She now shines elsewhere."
And she thanked Welsh police on behalf of her elderly parents John and Maureen, for their "dedication" and "professionalism".
It had been a harrowing period for the north Wales police force.
In October, when Catherine disappeared, some of the teams that scoured the countryside for her body had also been helping in the search for missing five-year-old April Jones, who vanished two weeks earlier.
As Emma spoke of her family's grief over losing Catherine, the case of Mark Bridger, the man who denies April Jones's murder, was due to start in the very same courtroom.