Saturday 7 December 2019

Video: Catherine’s family in court as Sharp admits her murder

Clive Sharp
Catherine Gowing

Elwyn Roberts

A MAN has admitted murdering vet Catherine Gowing – and been warned by a judge he may never be released from prison.

The sentencing of Clive Sharp was adjourned this afternoon but he was told by a judge that he may never be released.

Ms Gowing (37), originally from Co Offaly but who lived with a work colleague at the village of New Brighton in Wales, worked at a local veterinary centre.

Her murder is said to have taken place sometime between October 11 and October 17 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 (46) entered the secure dock at Mold Crown Court this afternoon and admitted her murder.

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

He will be sentenced on February 25.

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

But the minimum term that he would have to serve was an important consideration upon which he needed time to reflect.

“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.

The judge said that he appreciated that the delay would add to the upset and tension of the family and loved ones but he said that 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”.

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 consider you for release – if you are ever to be released.”

Sharp, dressed in a grey top and trousers, 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.

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

Her sister Ms Emma Gowing sat feet from the killer and looked intently at him for most of the hearing.

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, which were buried in her home town.

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