‘No sentence will ever be enough’ - Heartbroken mum speaks as man admits murdering her daughter
- Credit: Archant
The heartbroken mum of a woman brutally murdered by her husband said she hopes he gets the “maximum sentence possible” for the horror he had caused them all.
Police were called to Northside House, a derelict former mental health hospital at 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.
Despite treatment, the 38-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.
Her husband, Michael Cowey, 49, was charged with her murder after being arrested in Warwickshire later the same day.
Cowey, of Dragoon Close, Thorpe St Andrew, appeared at Norwich Crown Court on Friday November 6 via videolink from Norwich Prison when he pleaded guilty to murder.
He also admitted possession of a black handled kitchen knife and a grey handled kitchen knife and will be sentenced on December 11.
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.
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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.
Linda Smith, Ms Cowey’s mum, who was in court to see the guilty pleas entered, supported by officers from Norfolk and Suffolk’s Major Investigation Team (MIT).
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Speaking after the hearing, she said: “We, Gemma’s family, state that today’s guilty plea hearing in the Norwich Crown Court is the outcome that we were hoping for.
“We are now gearing up for the maximum sentence possible which will go some way to help us with the horror of what happened to our Gemma. No sentence will ever be enough.”
Det Insp Lewis Craske from the Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team (MIT) who was also at court on Friday, said: “It was a cowardly attack which was planned by the fact he took two knives to the scene.
“Although Cowey has saved the family the trauma of a trial his plea has been forced upon him due to the thorough investigation in to the circumstances of this offence and his previous relationships.”
The statement issued by Ms Cowey’s mum follows an earlier statement issued by Norfolk Police on behalf of the family, in tribute to Ms Cowey over the summer.
It 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.”
The guilty pleas were entered by Cowey, who had previously been deemed unfit to enter pleas, after he had undergone a psychiatric report which concluded he was able to do so.
Cowey, who was represented by Claire Matthews, was told by Judge Anthony Bate that he will be sentenced by a high court judge next month.
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.
Sophie Baldwin, a former school friend of Ms Cowey, launched a crowdfunding appeal to help pay for her funeral.
It reached its £5,000 target within three days and saw a total of £6,787 raised.
Miss Baldwin was “amazed” by the number of people who had donated.
She said: “Thank you for your help and support – we have done a fantastic job in raising this much. Please, please keep sharing.”
The former friend had hoped to exceed the target so that any money left over after the funeral can go to Ms Cowey’s children.
A single bunch of flowers were left near to the former mental health hospital where Ms Cowey was found stabbed to death.
After Ms Cowey’s body was discovered the scene was sealed off as forensic officers in white suits searched the area, while a separate section of Northside, the road that leads to St Andrew’s Business Park and the former Archant print works, was cordoned off around a black bicycle that had been left at the roadside.
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.