Murderer sentenced to life imprisonment for killing retired Portsmouth policeman

JAILED Stephen Cowdrey
JAILED Stephen Cowdrey
Police Car / Incident Stock Pic (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150519-172740001

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A MAN who strangled an 87-year-old retired policeman in a botched burglary was jailed for life today.

Officers found widower Stanley Carter dead at his home in Greenwood Avenue, Cosham, after killer Stephen Cowdrey handed himself in to police and confessed to his crime.

Stanley Carter

Stanley Carter

Today at Winchester Crown Court, Cowdrey, 49, of St Augustine Road, Southsea was jailed for life with a minimum term of 20 years after pleading guilty to murdering Mr Carter in September.

Police found Mr Carter at his home in Greenwood Avenue, Cosham, shortly before 10pm on September 15.

Cowdrey was arrested at Portsmouth Central police station shortly after 11pm the same evening and later charged with murdering Mr Carter between September 11 and September 15. The court heard plasterer Cowdrey, who was out of work and in debt, tricked his way into Mr Carter’s home by claiming relatives had asked him to check leaking pipes.

When Mr Carter became suspicious and challenged him, Cowdrey killed him.

Lindsay Pennell, senior crown prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service in Wessex said: ‘The defendant was described by his friends as someone having permanent financial difficulties and who was drinking away his money.

‘In the week before the murder, his partner of two years had been pressing the defendant about the money he owed to her and his lack of contribution to the household bills.

‘Feeling this pressure on him he found in Mr Carter a solution to his problems. On Friday 13 September, Stephen Cowdrey visited Mr Carter’s house in Greenwood Avenue and gained entry by pretending he was there to examine leaking pipes with the intention of stealing money from him.

‘Stephen Cowdrey was later to tell police that he charged at his victim and knocked him to the ground in a rugby-type tackle when Mr Carter became suspicious about his reasons for being at the address. He then sat on Mr Carter’s chest and strangled him before stealing Mr Carter’s bank card.

‘On Sunday 15 September, Stephen Cowdrey handed himself in to Portsmouth Central police station telling officers that he had killed Mr Carter.

‘This is a tragic case where a vulnerable elderly person was violently killed in his own home solely as a result of the defendant’s desire to solve his own financial problems.

‘We would like to thank Mr Carter’s family for supporting this prosecution and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.’