Feb 28 2013 Dave Goodban and Elwyn Roberts
‘CALLOUS’ killer Clive Sharp was jailed for life this week for the horrific murder of Mold vet Catherine Gowing.
Judge Mr Justice Griffith-Williams said the former Deeside High School pupil raped and dismembered Miss Gowing to satisfy his ‘perverted sexual desires’ – and ruled he should serve a minimum of 37 years behind bars.
Sharp, 46, sat with his head bowed for most of the hour-long sentencing hearing on Monday, and was told he might never be released.
Mold Crown Court heard the production manager had a string of previous convictions against women – including raping a 15-year-old girl – and had fantasised about tying up, raping and murdering a woman.
The victim’s sister Emma and brother-in-law Shay sat feet away from Sharp as the court heard details of what happened in the early hours of Saturday, October 13.
Earlier on the Friday night, Sharp – who was in a relationship with Miss Gowing’s housemate Jane Doyle – had left another woman he had been seeing tied naked to a bed in Gwynedd when she refused to give in to his sexual demands.
He then drove to New Brighton and entered Miss Gowing’s home at Cae Isa shortly before 3am on the Saturday – knowing Miss Doyle was back in her native Ireland for the weekend.
Andrew Thomas QC, prosecuting, said the victim, who was 37, had been tied to the bed with material taken from the factory where Sharp worked in Bethesda, Gwynedd.
She was raped and sexually abused before being murdered.
Sharp used her Renault Clio to remove her body and cut her up using a hacksaw before dumping her dismembered corpse, the majority of which has never been found.
The car was later found burnt-out in a quarry off Pinfold Lane, Alltami, two miles from her home.
A police underwater search team found her right hand and foot in a shallow pool in Sealand, close to the house where Sharp had been brought up, on October 31.
Two days later an off-duty police officer found her torso floating in a plastic bag in the River Dee at Higher Ferry, and forensic tests revealed Sharp’s DNA on her body.
The judge described Sharp as ‘a very serious danger to women’.
Only Sharp knew exactly what happened during the four-hour period he was in her house, Mr Justice Griffith-Williams added.
The court heard Miss Gowing had been raped more than once, and it was likely she had been gagged to prevent her crying out for help.
Sharp then set about disposing of the body and set a false trail, initially by using Miss Gowing’s mobile phone and cash card to try and give the impression she was still alive.
He also bought bleach, a hacksaw and blades, black bin bags, tape, a screwdriver, a petrol can and a Hallowe’en mask from Asda Queensferry and Charlies in Shotton.
Sharp spent the Sunday with family, who described him as ‘happy and chatty, his normal self’.
But the judge said the murder was ‘carefully premeditated’.
Sharp had then dismembered and disposed of her body in an attempt to conceal his crime – which Mr Justice Griffith-Williams described as a callous act ‘which added immeasurably to the grief of her family’.
He stressed the 37-year jail term was the minimum Sharp would serve behind bars.
He added: “You will not be released until the parole board says you are no longer a danger – and that may never be so.”
After the hearing Detective Superintendent Mark Pierce praised the ‘tremendous strength and dignity’ shown by Miss Gowing’s family.
He added: “Clive Sharp has been convicted of a cowardly, premeditated and devastating attack on Catherine – a person who had done him no wrong and had absolutely everything to live for.
“Sharp pleaded guilty not through remorse, but only when faced with overwhelming evidence.
“He now faces life imprisonment and I doubt a tear will be shed if he is never released.”
Emmalyne Downing from the Crown Prosecution Service said: “Only Clive Sharp can truly know what motivated him to commit such a distressing and brutal act.
“What is beyond doubt is that the effects of his actions will continue to be felt by Catherine’s family and friends for years to come. Our thought are with them.”