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Man found guilty of murder in Hartcliffe

Added on 22 June 2018 at 16:01

There are 2 related updates to this story

A man was today convicted of murder after stabbing his neighbour to death in her home in Hartcliffe.

Steven Jones, aged 36, of Rowan House, Bishport Avenue, was found guilty of the murder of 52-year-old Tracy Bowen on November 25 last year.

It follows a two week trial at Bristol Crown Court in which Jones admitted, two days before court proceedings began, that he had killed Ms Bowen but claimed his actions were in self-defence.

The jury took only a few hours to decide that Jones was guilty of murder.

Rebecca Kerr, aged 35, also of Rowan House, was found guilty of assisting an offender.

The pair are due to be sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on Monday (June 25).

Ms Bowen was discovered at her flat with a fatal stab wound to the neck at around 9.30am the morning of Saturday November 25 2017.

Ms Bowen was found by a friend who was dropping off groceries.

During the trial the court was told how Jones and Kerr, a couple who lived three floors above Ms Bowen in Rowan House, would frequently visit her flat and their visits would often coincide with Ms Bowen being paid.

When initially questioned by police officers, Jones and Kerr admitted being at Ms Bowen’s flat on the night of November 24. However, the couple tried to distance themselves from involvement in the crime by saying they had left Ms Bowen’s flat at 10.30pm and gone home to bed.

But detectives analysed CCTV in the lift and lobby area of the flats which showed Jones and Kerr, in very distinctive clothing and footwear, coming and going from the seventh floor where Ms Bowen lived up until 3.30am on the morning of Saturday November 25. It is estimated that Ms Bowen was killed at 4am.

Neither Jones nor Kerr were seen again on CCTV until 11am – around six hours after Ms Bowen’s death - when Jones is captured on camera leaving the flats wearing a black backpack. The prosecution believed that Jones was disposing of the distinctive clothing that he and Kerr were wearing at the time of Ms Bowen’s murder, as the items they were seen wearing in CCTV footage were never recovered.

The prosecution told the court that following the murder Jones and Kerr deliberately took the stairs back to their 10th floor flat to avoid being caught on CCTV leaving Ms Bowen’s around the time of her death.

Jones did admit that he was responsible for a break in at Ms Bowen’s flat several days after her death in which alcohol was stolen. Jones later attempted to sell the alcohol on social media.

Andy Mott, officer in charge of the investigation, said: “Jones and Kerr latched on to Tracy Bowen and used her for access to money to fund their drug addictions.

“After Jones killed Ms Bowen, both he and Kerr went to great lengths to cover it up, changing their story several times and implicating other people living in Rowan House.

“Only when he realised the evidence against him was overwhelming did Jones admit that he was responsible for Ms Bowen’s death.  

“Jones and Kerr acted as parasites in Ms Bowen’s life and also in her death.

“Knowing he had murdered Ms Bowen in her own home, only a few days earlier, Jones broke into her flat and stole alcohol to sell for his own profit.

“This was a complex investigation that involved piecing together the movements of two people with chaotic lifestyles.

“At every opportunity Jones and Kerr tried to deny their involvement, changing their stories again and again and neither have shown any remorse for their actions.

“Thankfully the jury have seen through Jones’ attempt to claim, at the eleventh hour, that his actions were in self-defence. As a result he has today been found guilty of murder while Kerr has been convicted of helping him to cover it up.

“Our thoughts are with Ms Bowen’s family who had to go through the ordeal of a trial in order to get justice.”