THE brutal murder of a young mother and the hunt for her killer were featured on television last night.
The Crime and Investigation Network programme “When Life Means Life” detailed the investigation into the murder of 23-year-old Clare Sabear Benson-Jowry from Lancaster, who was strangled with a shoelace tightened with a fork.
Police found evidence of a sexual assault and a home made bat found at the scene had hair from Clare’s head on it, indicating she had been beaten with it.
The film included powerful testimony from surviving victims and also included expert analysis from a renowned criminal psychologist and an eminent forensic scientist, who examined and dissected the killer’s motives and methods.
Clare, the mother of a four-year-old boy called Jaydon, went missing from her home in Morecambe on June 20, 2004, after saying she was going to see friends on Ryelands.
Weeks later, neighbours noticed a strange smell from a flat on Austwick Road and notified police.
Clare’s body was found inside but it was so badly decomposed that she could only be identified by dental records.
Her mum Irene said at the time that nobody could comprehend why Clare was killed as she was such a lovable young woman.
Clare was attacked by Paul Culshaw, a serial offender against women, whose many previous attacks were detailed by the investigating officers, as they built a picture of Culshaw’s propensity for extreme violence.
After the murder in his flat, he fled to Penrith and survived living rough, breaking into a baker’s for food. It was during one of these break-ins that he was arrested.
Paul Culshaw was found guilty in 2005 of the sexually-motivated murder.
The jury at Preston Crown Court heard that Culshaw allowed drug users to frequent his flat and that Ms Benson-Jowry had been a visitor and casual acquaintance.
Mr Culshaw had a previous conviction for rape, carried out when he was 18, and was also jailed for 10 years for the attempted murder and indecent assault of a woman in Skelmersdale.
He was told by the judge that he will spend the rest of his life behind bars. His trial was the first ever court case where Lancashire Police had been allowed to submit evidence about an offender’s previous crimes.
DS Colin Forsyth of Lancashire Constabulary, said: “He is one of the most dangerous men I’ve ever encountered.”
DS Steve Brunskill of Lancashire Constabulary, who led the murder investigation, said: “It was a particularly nasty and sadistic murder of a young lady who really caused no harm to anyone.”