Man who killed wife told children 'what he'd done to mummy'
- Credit: Archant
A "pure evil" killer stabbed his estranged wife 20 times - then went home and told the children "what he had done to Mummy".
The detail emerged in the victim impact statements of the family of Gemma Cowey, who released the statements and had them read in court.
In the statements, they said they were "utterly destroyed" by her death at the hands of Michael Cowey, 49.
And they told how Gemma was stabbed to death when she had "finally found the strength" to leave her husband after seven years of coercive control and threats of violence.
Gemma’s mother Linda Smith, who wrote the statement on behalf of Gemma’s daughter and her sisters Joanne and Kimberley, said: “Gemma was the epitome of love and kindness and our lives are utterly devastated.”
She said Gemma had “finally found the strength to leave her abusive marriage” when she was killed.
Miss Smith said: “We had our lovely girl and her children back in our lives."
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She said Gemma had “finally crossed the line of no return to her awful life with him” and had only gone to meet him to pick up her son.
Miss Smith said: “Gem went to collect him and never came home.
“She was mutilated by being stabbed more than 20 times. The pure evil of what he did compounds my mind every day.
“Gemma fought for her life, we know this because she had defence wounds.
“Knowing this causes utter pain in my mind and heart. I see Gemma screaming for her life, I see the fear and pain in her face when she sees the knives.
"It is believed that she was screaming for her babies and my heart twists in agony when I think of this.
"My natural instinct as a parent is to protect my children, I am utterly destroyed that I wasn’t able to protect her in the final minutes of her life.”
She added: “I feel tremendous guilt and will never get these out of my head. He has wrecked so many lives and the effect of this will cascade through many generations as lives move forward.
"My daughters Joanne and Kimberley and Gemma’s children now have the rest of their lives without their sister and mother.”
She said Cowey had returned to the house after the murder and told the children “what he had done to mummy”.
She described how over the past seven years Cowey had “destroyed our Gemma” to the point they did not recognise who she was.
She said: “She was enslaved into his pathetic world of abuse.
“I want all who knew Gemma to remember her as the kind, loving, devoted and strong woman she was.”
Meanwhile Gemma’s sister Joanne said her “whole world fell apart” on the day of the murder.
She said she was excited to have her “beautiful sister” back in her life and they had “talked about plans for the future as we had seven years to catch up on”.
She said her final moments where she was “lured to her death” keep playing on her mind and was a “nightmare that will never go away”.
“I will live with guilt for the rest of my life that I could not protect her from the monster but I will do all I can to protect her children.
"She was brave right to the end and will never be forgotten. I miss her so much, my heart aches every second of every day. Life will never be the same without my big sis in it but I will make sure her legacy lives on.“
Her other sister Kimberley said she wakes up with a “physical pain in my heart” and described the “unimaginable horror as being like a living nightmare”.
She said her heart was shattered and her mind traumatised and told how the “anger and disbelief is beyond measure”.
She added: “You are stolen from my life but will never be stolen from my heart".
Gemma’s father Eric Marjoram also provided a statement about Gemma’s death and the day “life as we knew it changed forever” and how “all that is left is pain”.
He said he relives every night what his daughter must have gone through, stating “none of us believe that we will ever know peaceful sleep again. Our dreams are all nightmares".
Mr Marjoram said the “horrific details” of how Gemma lost her life were imprinted on their souls.
He said: “The hardest thing for us, apart from the obvious pain of it all and never seeing her again, is mourning the life she’ll never live.
“She will never see her children get married, never be a grandmother. She won’t be there for the milestones in their lives. Christmas and birthdays will forever be tinged with sadness because of her ever-present absence.
“This isn’t how it’s meant to be, she had plans and a whole life ahead of her. She was beautiful, kind, funny, and just the best daughter, sister mother and human being anyone could wish to meet.
“We are so incredibly proud of her and we will continue to love her always and forever. That is the only easy part of this mindless tragedy.”