A Norwich man who battered his girlfriend to death has had his “severe” sentence backed by top judges today.
Joe Storey inflicted 19 injuries on mother-of-two Kerri McAuley, choking her and smashing her face in the “sustained and brutal assault” in January 2017.
The 27-year-old left his victim’s face “battered virtually beyond all recognition”, Mrs Justice Simler told London’s Appeal Court today. He then left her dying in her own home, after taking a final sick selfie of his own “blood-smeared face”.
Storey, of St John Street, Norwich, failed to call an ambulance and Ms McAuley’s death was only discovered when her family went to her flat and stumbled on her body.
Storey admitted manslaughter over his girlfriend’s death, but denied murder. But he was convicted of the murder charge by jurors at Norwich Crown Court, receiving a life sentence in June.
He was ordered to serve at least 24 years behind bars before he could even apply for parole. Storey’s legal team challenged that minimum term today, arguing it was far too tough. They disputed the intent to kill and “element of sadism” found by the judge who sentenced Storey.
But Mrs Justice Simler, sitting with Lady Justice Macur and Judge Peter Collier QC, threw out the killer's complaints. The judge noted Storey’s appalling history of violence against three other women.
Storey had assaulted Ms McAuley on five occasions during their on-off 18-month relationship.
Dismissing Storey’s appeal, Mrs Justice Simler said: “This was a callous and brutal murder of a young, defenceless woman murdered in her own home where she should have been safe.
“He behaved in a callous way, leaving her to die. Although this was a severe sentence it was intentionally so. The judge had proper regard to the aggravating and mitigating factors, and passed a sentence which cannot be described as manifestly excessive.”