Ms Gowing's body has never been fully recovered, although remains were found at two rural locations near her home in Flintshire, North Wales, and near Chester.
Clive Sharp, 47, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to her murder at Mold Crown Court last month.
Mr Justice Griffith Williams ordered that he serve a minimum 37 years behind bars before he can be considered for parole.
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The Police Federation chairman said officers were often "letting someone off with a warning and hoping for the best".
A total of 21 are also injured by a blaze which ripped through the upmarket 22-storey hotel on the Black Sea coast.