Husband, 48, appears in court charged with wife’s murder after mother-of-three, 38, was stabbed to death outside former Victorian mental hospital

Michael Cowey, 48, is accused of the murder of mother-of-three Gemma Cowey, 38, who was found stabbed in Thorpe St Andrew on Friday afternoon and died at the scene.

He appeared today before Norwich magistrates in a five minute hearing when he spoke only to confirm his date of birth and address.

Cowey, who was wearing a dark blue sweat shirt, appeared via video link from the police investigation centre in Wymondham, Norfolk.

He did not enter a plea and was remanded in custody to appear at Norwich Crown Court tomorrow.

Cowey gave his address as Dragoon Close, Thorpe St Andrew, just a few hundred yards from the site of the former St Andrew’s Hospital where his wife was found on Friday.

He is also charged with possessing a black-handled kitchen knife and a grey-handled kitchen knife in the Northside, Thorpe St Andrew.

Prosecutor Josephine Jones said that the two knife charges were linked to the murder.

Ian Fisher, defending, made no application for bail.

He said: 'I understand that there will be a hearing tomorrow at the crown court and I imagine that will be another video link.

The family of Ms Cowey, also known as Gemma Marjoram, said in a statement released through Norfolk Police: '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.'

It's understood Ms Cowey was attacked on wasteland next to the derelict remains of St Andrew's Hospital in Thorpe St Andrew near Norwich, Norfolk on Friday.

Police say she was walking with a man before she was murdered and police were called at around 12.45pm.

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

Michael Cowey was brought back to Norfolk for questioning on Saturday afternoon and was quizzed by detectives at the Wymondham Police Investigation Centre. 

He is expected to appear at Norwich Magistrate's Court today.

Police cordoned off a separate area around 200 yards from where Ms Cowey was found, around a black bicycle abandoned at the side of a road leading to the old hospital site.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Gray, from the Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Unit, said: 'A number of police resources, including armed units and a helicopter, were deployed to the scene to help in the search for the suspect.'

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.

'Officers have established that Gemma and the suspect were known to each other and whilst we do believe this is an isolated incident, our investigations are ongoing to identify the exact circumstances leading up to her death.

'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.'

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

But sources suggested that the killing of the woman was not linked to the clinic.

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

The site was closed as an NHS hospital in April 1998 and some of the original grade II listed buildings from 1814 on the south of the site were later converted into private housing.

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

Plans have been mooted to turn the site into a business park, but it has been left to slowly decay in recent years.

The area is close to the St Andrew's Business Park and next to the print works of the Archant local newspaper group.

It is a popular spot for joggers and dog walkers.

The main derelict redbrick building has also been targeted in recent years by urban explorers looking around inside.

Anyone with information should contact the Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team on 101.

Daily Mail

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