Man who stabbed wife to death at derelict mental health hospital jailed for 23 years

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A “persistent domestic abuser” who knifed his wife to death at a derelict former mental health hospital has been jailed for 23 years for her murder.

Michael Cowey told Gemma Cowey he wanted to meet to talk with her but confronted her about relationship issues which led to an argument.

The 49-year-old took two knives he had hidden in his socks and stabbed her 20 times in the back and neck.

The defendant fled the scene in Thorpe St Andrew, Norfolk, on June 19 this year and was arrested later that day in the Warwickshire area.

Cowey, of Dragoon Close, Thorpe St Andrew, admitted at an earlier hearing at Norwich Crown Court to murdering his 38-year-old wife.

He also admitted to possession of two knives in a public place.

Cowey was sentenced to 23 years in prison today, Norfolk Police said.

Detective Inspector Lewis Craske said: “The murder of Gemma Cowey was a cowardly attack by a man who could no longer control his victim.

“The investigation into the circumstances of this killing, the relationship with not only Gemma but also past partners established that Cowey was a persistent domestic abuser who has devastated the lives of many women.

“This selfish act has seen a family torn to shreds.

“I hope that the sentence today brings some closure not only to Gemma’s family but also to those whose lives have been damaged by his actions.”

Speaking after Cowey was jailed, his victim’s mother Linda Smith said: “No sentence will ever be enough for what the evil perpetrator did to our Gemma.

“We have nightmares about the pain and fear she went through in the final minutes of her life.

“On behalf of our family we wish to express our huge thanks and appreciation to everyone that tried to save our Gemma’s life.

“We can only imagine how utterly shocking it was to find Gemma and see such devastation to a young woman’s body.”

Ms Cowey’s father Eric Marjoram said she was “beautiful, kind, funny and loving”.

He added: “We will never recover from her loss, we can only learn to live with it and our lives are now forever tinged with utter sadness and emptiness.”