Man admits murdering devoted mother of three

Michael Cowey. PIC: Norfolk Police.

Michael Cowey. PIC: Norfolk Police. - Credit: Archant

A man has admitted the murder of his wife who was found stabbed to death at a derelict former Victorian mental health hospital near Norwich.

Gemma Lynne Marjoram was stabbed to death in Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Gemma Lynne Marjoram was stabbed to death in Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary - Credit: Archant

Police were called to the site at Northside House, Norvic Clinic, Thorpe St Andrew at around 12.45pm on Friday, June 19 following reports that a woman, later identified as mother-of-three Gemma Cowey, had been found with serious injuries.

Emergency services attended the site off Yarmouth Road but despite treatment the 38-year-old died at the scene.

Her husband, Michael Cowey, 49, was arrested in the Warwickshire area later the same day and later charged with her murder.

Cowey had lured his wife to the area having told her he wanted to meet to talk with her but instead confronted her about relationship issues which caused the pair to argue.

Flowers left near the scene of where Gemma Cowey was found stabbed to death in Thorpe St Andrew. PIC

Flowers left near the scene of where Gemma Cowey was found stabbed to death in Thorpe St Andrew. PIC: Peter Walsh. - Credit: Archant

During the argument Cowey used two knives that he had hidden in his socks, and stabbed her more than 20 times in her back and neck before running off.


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Cowey, of Dragoon Close, Thorpe St Andrew, appeared at Norwich Crown Court on Friday November 6 via videolink from Norwich Prison.

He pleaded guilty to murder and to possession of a black handled kitchen knife and a grey handled kitchen knife on June 19 this year.

The pleas were entered after Cowey, who had previously been deemed unfit to enter pleas, had undergone a psychiatric report which concluded he was able to enter pleas.

Police at the the scene of where Gemma Cowey was found stabbed to death in Thorpe St Andrew. Picture

Police at the the scene of where Gemma Cowey was found stabbed to death in Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: East Anglian News Service - Credit: East Anglian News Service

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Judge Anthony Bate adjourned the case until December 11 when a high court judge will pass sentence on Cowey.

Ms Cowey, also known as Gemma Lynne Marjoram, had been employed as a customer service advisor and had lived in the Heartsease area of Norwich.

A Home Office post mortem examination established she died as a result of hypovolemic shock and stab wounds to the neck and chest.

Following Ms Cowey’s death her family paid an emotional tribute to her.

Police at the the scene of where Gemma Cowey was found stabbed to death in Thorpe St Andrew. Picture

Police at the the scene of where Gemma Cowey was found stabbed to death in Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: East Anglian News Service - Credit: East Anglian News Service

In a statement released through Norfolk Police they said: “Our beautiful girl, Gemma Lynne Marjoram, was cruelly taken from our lives on Friday, June 19.

“Gemma, a devoted mummy to three children, Kacie, Callum and Abigail. Loving big sister to Joanne and Kimberley. We are beyond heartbroken. We have no more words.”

A school friend launched a crowdfunding appeal to help pay for her funeral and it reached its £5,000 target within just three days.

The derelict hospital where Ms Cowey was found was first known as the Norfolk County Asylum, opened in 1814 and operated as a mental health facility until it closed in 1998.

Police at the derelict site of the former St Andrew's Hospital where a woman died in Thorpe St Andre

Police at the derelict site of the former St Andrew's Hospital where a woman died in Thorpe St Andrew. Picture: East Anglian News Service - Credit: East Anglian News Service

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