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Husband, 48, appears in court charged with murder of mum-of-three, 38, knifed to death near derelict hospital in Norfolk

A HUSBAND has appeared in court accused of murdering a “devoted” mum-of-three stabbed to death near a derelict hospital in Norfolk.

Gemma Cowey, 38, was found dead on Friday afternoon beside the ruins of St Andrew’s Hospital in Thorpe St Andrew near Norwich.

Michael Cowey, 48, of Dragoon Close, Norwich, appeared at Norwich Magistrates’ Court today charged with her murder.

He spoke only to confirm his name and was remanded in custody to appear at Norwich Crown Court tomorrow.

Gemma who was also known as Gemma Marjoram, was described as “a beautiful girl” and “devoted” mother by her heartbroken family.

Police were called at around 12.45pm on Friday to reports that a woman had been found with serious injuries.

Paramedics battled to save her life after emergency services, including an air ambulance attended, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.


A post mortem by a Home Office pathologist on Saturday morning found that she had died from stab wounds.

Detective Inspector Lewis Craske, from the Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team, said: “Our thoughts are with Gemma’s family and friends at this time.

“I am keen to hear from anyone who was in the area of the old hospital in Thorpe St Andrew between 11am and 1pm on Friday 19 June, particularly anyone who may have seen a male and female walking near to the site.

“We know this incident will have caused concern among local residents. Officers will be carrying out reassurance patrols in the area over the coming days and anyone with concerns is encouraged to speak to them.”

Ms Cowey’s family said in a statement: “Our beautiful girl, Gemma Lynne Marjoram, was cruelly taken from our lives on Friday 19th June.

“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.”

“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.”

Family statement about the death of Gemma Cowey

Ms Cowey who is believed to have been a shop worker is thought to have been stabbed in the area of a former mortuary, obscured by trees and bushes at the old hospital site.

Police set up portable floodlights beside the derelict single-storey building, indicating that police hunting for clues had been working at the scene overnight.

A separate cordon around 200 yards from the old hospital site was set up around a black bicycle abandoned at the side of a road leading to the site.

The derelict hospital site is next door to the current Northside House mental health clinic run by the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation NHS Trust.

Sources confirmed that the killing was not linked to the clinic.

St Andrew’s Hospital which was originally known as the Norfolk County Asylum dates back to the early 19th century.

It was closed in April 1998, and some of the original Grade II listed buildings were converted into private housing.

The main building St Andrews House was used as offices by the Norfolk Primary Care Trust until 2007, and put up for sale in January 2011

Thorpe St Andrew mayor John Fisher said: “This is most unusual in such a low-crime area. I’ve lived here for 37 years and I don’t think I’ve heard of anything quite like this ever before.

“My thoughts are with the family and I hope that the authorities are able to give them the support they will need at this very difficult time.”

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith said: “This is obviously very shocking and worrying. I would urge local residents to contact police if they have any information or insight into what happened.

“Whatever the circumstances, my thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim.”

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