Murderer must serve at least 37 years
Clive Sharp, the man who murdered and dismembered Offaly woman Catherine Gowing in Wales last October, will serve a minimum term of 37 years in jail and may never be released, he was told yesterday.
Sentencing the 46-year-old man, Mr Justice Griffith-Williams told Mold Crown Court in north Wales that Sharp had killed the Irish woman at her home in a “horrific cold-hearted murder carried out to gratify your perverted sexual desires”.
Sentenced for a string of sex offences during the 1980s and 1990s, Sharp had told parole officers then that he fantasised about kidnapping and raping women, where he had the power to hold women for as long as he wanted for his sexual gratification.
He had entered Ms Gowing’s house in the early hours of Saturday, October 13th, knowing that Ms Gowing would be alone for the weekend because his girlfriend, Irish woman Jane Doyle, who was also Ms Gowing’s housemate, had returned home to Ireland to visit family.
There, he had tied Ms Gowing up and raped her, prosecuting counsel Andrew Thomas said.
On Friday evening, Sharp had gone to the home of a woman in Gwynedd, who agreed to his demands for submissive sex, but he left her tied to the bed when she refused to participate in anal sex, the court was told.
Having driven across north Wales, he broke into Ms Gowing’s home shortly before 3am after he had abandoned an attempt earlier before midnight because she was still up.
“He killed her, then mutilated her body by cutting it into pieces and disposing of it in and near to the river Dee,” the court was told.
He went to hardware stores and bought a heavy-duty hacksaw and replacement blades, bleach, plastic bin-bags and “a Halloween mask”.
He used Ms Gowing’s private car, a Renault Clio, to take away her body. He is suspected of dismembering her in an open field, before he torched the car near a quarry. Later, he returned to his own car and slept overnight.
A text message from Ms Gowing’s mobile sent to a friend on Saturday, along with a number of attempts to withdraw money from her account via a cash machine, had been efforts to lay a false trial, said the prosecuting counsel.
Under suspicion within 24 hours of Ms Gowing’s disappearance, Sharp repeatedly denied involvement, although his story changed repeatedly under questioning, particularly after police began to recover some of Ms Gowing’s body.
His semen was recovered from some of the remains.
Sharp has a catalogue of previous convictions. In 1982, he was convicted of making indecent telephone calls and sending indecent letters, while a year later he was sentenced to three years for raping a 15-year-old girl, whom he subdued by holding a piece of glass to her neck.
In 1994, he attacked the wife of a close friend, who rejected his sexual advances. He forced a ligature around her neck, bound and gagged her before sexually assaulting her. He was given three years for this offence.
Released early, he was jailed for eight years in 1996 after he brought a woman, whom he had paid for sex, to his bedsit. There, he tied her with tape and threatened her. She was wounded as she made an attempt to escape.