Kerri McAuley murder: Domestic abuser Joe Storey jailed for life

image copyrightNorfolk Police
image captionJoe Storey, 27, pleaded not guilty to murdering Kerri McAuley but admitted manslaughter

A murderer with a history of violence against women has been jailed for life for killing his ex-partner.

Joe Storey, 27, was last week found guilty of murdering Kerri McAuley and will serve a minimum of 24 years.

Judge Stephen Holt revealed Storey had 11 previous convictions, eight of those for offences against four women, and had been subject to restraining orders.

He described Ms McAuley's death as one of the worst cases of domestic violence Norwich Crown Court had seen.

Ms McAuley was found dead at her flat in Southalls Way, Norwich, on 8 January 2017.

Storey initially managed to delay his sentencing after convincing prison staff he did not need to return to court for a hearing.

media captionWARNING: This clip contains graphic descriptions of injuries

Simon Spence, prosecuting, said Storey had a "history of violence towards Kerri" and a restraining order had been made in October 2016.

Judge Stephen Holt, jailing Storey for life with a minimum term of 24 years, said it was "one of the worst cases of domestic violence" the court had seen.

He told Storey: "You preyed on a warm-hearted and kind woman.

"She was posting pictures of her injured face on Facebook for all to see but you pressed your way back into her life," said Judge Holt. "It's a deeply sad feature of this case."

Statement from Kerri's mother Lesley McAuley

My heart bears the deepest break from which it will never heal.

I can no longer look at a photo of Kerri or even think about her in happy times as all my mind sees is that image of my beautiful girl lying on the floor, hair matted with blood, face distorted and swollen.

I can't imagine the fear and pain that my daughter endured that night at the hands of that monster, the man who claimed to love her.

I don't know how to accept that this nightmare I am now living will never end.

There have been times when all I want is to be with Kerri and when I look at the faces of Kerri's sons I see her face looking back at me and my heart breaks all over again.

She had so much to live for, so much unfulfilled promise.

Storey had been in a relationship with Ms McAuley for eight weeks before the violence began, and each time she tried to leave him he "plagued her and pestered her" with texts to keep the relationship going.

The court heard Storey had also been made subject to restraining orders in respect of four other former partners, and had been convicted for violence, including punching a pregnant ex-girlfriend in the stomach.

Andrew Oliver, mitigating, said the murder of Ms McAuley was not premeditated and that Storey had admitted manslaughter before he was found guilty of murder.

Storey, formerly of Murrells Court, Norwich, nodded to the judge as the sentence was read out, and there was a shout of "bye" from the public gallery.

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