'If only I had heard a scream, maybe I could have done something' – neighbour

Conor Feehan

CATHERINE Gowing's next-door neighbour has revealed his sorrow that he never heard any scream that could have alerted him to the vet's plight.

Alan Garside regrets that Clive Sharp could carry out such a depraved crime in a quiet neighbourhood and nobody noticed.

"I still can't believe that it happened just a few brick-lengths from me. If only I had heard her scream or some noise maybe I could have done something about it, but we did not hear a thing," he told the Herald.

Asked about his reaction to Sharp's sentence, Mr Garside said: "He escaped true justice. I still think he should've got the rope."

As news spread of Sharp's horrendous crimes of sex and violence towards women, Mr Garside spoke of how Catherine always had a smile on her face and a warm demeanour.

"You would hardly know they were living next door they were that quiet," he told the Herald.

"She was there for 18 months, and although they kept to themselves, she would always have a cheery hello, and always a smile.

"I remember last summer I was out doing the front garden and she came out and said 'I suppose I better do my postage stamp as well' because there was so little grass in their garden," he recalled.

"Then when she had finished cutting the grass she said 'I'm going to have a glass of wine now' and I saw her later sitting out the back, chatting to the other girl, and they were sipping wine in the sunshine. I had to smile to myself," Alan added.

Mr Garside said he knew Clive Sharp to see, and always had his suspicions about him. "He was always unshaven and a bit dirty, and he wouldn't look you straight in the eye," he said.

"I would sometimes be in the garden and he would come out of the house and pass me to get into his car, but he would never look at me. He was odd."

Speaking about the weekend that Catherine was killed, Alan's face grew long.

His house is attached to the house Catherine lived in.


Mr Garside also said that the laws need to be changed so that violent sex offenders such as Sharp are not allowed pose a risk to the community.

"If I had known he was the sort of person he is I could have warned the girls. If they had known they would've steered clear of him," he explained.

"He'll probably be claiming his human rights are being infringed now with this sentence, but that poor girl will never be able to have her human rights again. Her life is ended and her family's life is destroyed," he added.