Kerri McAuley’s killer Joe Storey delays sentencing by telling prison bosses he did not need to attend hearing in person
PUBLISHED: 12:02 16 June 2017 | UPDATED: 08:49 17 June 2017
The sentencing of a man convicted of the brutal murder of a Norwich mother of two has had to be adjourned because the killer told prison bosses he did not need to attend the hearing in person.
The body of Kerri McAuley, 32, was found at Southalls Way, Norwich, on Sunday, January 8.
Norwich Crown Court heard the mother-of-two suffered 19 separate injuries to her face, including fractured eye sockets, cheek bones and jaw following a sustained attack.
MORE: Don’t let this happen to you - family of murdered Norwich mum Kerri McAuley issue heartfelt plea after her brutal death
Her on-off partner Storey, 27, formerly of Murrells Court,Norwich, had gone on trial after having denied murder although he had admitted manslaughter.
Storey was due to be sentenced at Norwich Crown Court this morning after a jury of seven men and five women yesterday took less than an hour to find him guilty of murder.
But the hearing has had to be put off until Monday because Storey was still at Bedford Prison.
MORE: Mother of Kerri McAuley speaks out as Norwich man Joe Storey is found guilty of her daughter’s murder
The court has heard that Storey told officials at the prison that he need not be here and they believed him.
It means that despite a prison van being sent to the prison this morning he was not put on it.
Revealing news of the delay to family and friends of Ms McAuley, who had attended court for the hearing, Judge Stephen Holt said: “Once again Joe Storey has manipulated the court process.”
MORE: Severe blows to Kerri McAuley would be “hardest punch you could deliver”, pathologist tells murder trial
Judge Holt said one of the reasons there were delays during the course of the trial, when the court could not sit, was Storey had said he was ill and did not appear.
He said: “I understand he told the staff at Bedford Prison where he’s being held because it’s unsafe to hold him in Norwich, that he wasn’t required and could do it by videolink and for some reason they believed him.”
Judge Holt had made enquiries had about bringing Storey to court with a police escort provided by officers from Norfolk.
But he was told there was not the resources either at Bedford to accompany him or in Norfolk where officers would need to be brought in off rest days due to the Take That concert taking place at Carrow Road.
Although he made enquiries to see whether Storey could appear via videolink at 2pm he was informed that it was Ms McAuley’s family felt “very strongly” that he should be here in person.
Reluctantly Judge Holt said he had “no option” but to adjourn sentence until Monday but insisted Storey would be “physically put” on transport if necessary so he would be here to be sentenced in person.
Simon Spence QC, prosecuting, said he was in “utter disbelief” that the prison had “accepted the word of a prisoner”, particularly one who had just been convicted of murder.
He said he was “flabbergasted” at the “level of incompetence” shown by those who made the decision at HMP Bedford.
Speaking after the adjournment Steven Roberts, Ms McAuley’s uncle who was speaking on behalf of the family, said they too were “angry” that Storey had not appeared as his word had been believed by prison bosses.
He said it only served to “increase the stress” being felt by the family at this horrific time.
A two-week trial had heard how Ms McAuley had been out in Norwich with Storey on the evening of Saturday, January 7.
They had been to the Riverside complex where they played ten pin bowling and had gone for something to eat at Coast to Coast before visiting a couple of other pubs, The Artichoke and The Blueberry.
At approximately 10.40pm on the following day (Sunday, January 8), officers were alerted by ambulance crews to reports of a woman who had been found dead in Southalls Way.
A post mortem examination revealed Ms McAuley had been the subject of a severe blunt force trauma to the face consistent with a serious violent assault.
Following the discovery, police arrested Storey at 1.18am the following morning (Monday, January 9) at a friend’s house in Vanguard Close, off Dereham Road.
A number of forensic seizures were made including a blood stained t-shirt, which was later identified to contain the DNA profile of Kerri McAuley.
Storey was taken to Aylsham Police Investigation Centre (PIC) and was charged with murder on January 11.
Speaking after the case Ms McAuley’s mother Lesley which stated: “My life will never now be whole without Kerri to complete it, as a family we are forever broken. My heart bears the deepest break from which it will never heal.”