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Tuesday, 2 July, 2002, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Convict finally admits he killed wife
Michael Bowen
Michael Bowen admitted causing his wife's death
A man who pleaded his innocence when convicted of murdering his wife has admitted killing her.

Michael Bowen was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1998 after his 54-year-old wife Sandie - whose body has never been found - went missing from their Monmouthshire home five years ago.

Sandie Bowen
Sandie Bowen went missing in 1997
Bowen continued to deny any involvement in her disappearance but police believed that the forestry worker had killed her and buried her body in woods near their home.

But now Bowen has admitted he was responsible for his wife's death - although he has still not revealed where her body is.

Detective Chief Inspector Terry Hapgood of Gwent Police said: "It has been confirmed that Michael Bowen has accepted responsibility for the death of Sandie Bowen.

"However, circumstances are still under investigation. Gwent Police are still making all efforts to recover the body and put the matter to rest and will not rest until we reach a conclusion.

"I would welcome the opportunity to speak to Michael Bowen on this matter," he said.


It has been confirmed that Michael Bowen has accepted responsibility for the death of Sandie Bowen

Det Chief Insp Terry Hapgood, Gwent Police
Mrs Bowen was supposed to be on her way to visit her daughter, Anita Coombes, in Kent on the day she went disappeared.

Bowen told police that he had given her a lift from their home in Llandogo, Monmouthshire, to catch the train at Newport station.

But traces of his blood were found on her pillow while samples of her blood were present on his shirts.

Forensic officers also found the burned remains of some of her belongings in the fireplace.

Crucially, Mrs Bowen's dentures were also discovered in the waste bin.

The Bowens' marriage was in trouble, and Bowen discovered that his wife was having an affair with the boss of the guesthouse where she worked as a catering assistant.

Police searching for Sandie Bowen's body
Mrs Bowen's body may be buried in local woodlands
He had also had an affair 18 months before his wife disappeared.

At the time, he told the police that his wife's relationship with her boss gave him the excuse to "get out of a bad marriage" and was not upset by it.

However, during his trial at Newport Crown Court the prosecution claimed that it had made him "angry and resentful".

Two years after Mrs Bowen disappeared, her family held a service of thanksgiving at the church in Folkestone, Kent, where she used to sing in the choir before she married Bowen in 1993.

Relatives are hopeful that Bowen will finally reveal the location of her body so they can hold a proper funeral service to lay her remains to rest.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales' Nick Palit
"Police believe she is buried in Wentwood Forest"
See also:

01 Jul 02 | UK
08 Apr 02 | England
22 Jan 02 | England
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