Daughter of murdered mum tied to sink and thrown in reservoir bravely speaks out

The daughter of a woman murdered by her husband more than 20 years ago has called it a "miracle" her mum's body was found tied to sink in a reservoir.

Sandie Bowen, 54, was killed by her husband Mike, who kept the location of his wife's body a secret after the murder, in August 1997.

Mrs Bowen's remains were discovered at the side of the Wentwood Reservoir in Gwent, Wales, which had been drained for the first time in 100 years, in 2017, Kent Live reports.

Anita Giles, Mrs Bowen's only daughter, has now bravely spoken out about her strong backing for Helen's Law, a bill set to restrict killers from being considered for release until they reveal the location of their victim's corpse.

"It's too late for me, but at the time my mum's murderer was released the law wasn't put through, he was able to walk free from prison," said mum-of-three Anita, who lives in Folkestone, Kent.

"We weren't aware of where my mum was, it was after he has been released and by some luck that the reservoir had been leaking, and was drained.

"I was extremely fortunate, it was an absolute miracle.

"Mum being found gave us the closure we needed, Marie McCourt still doesn't have her daughter, and there are lots of families suffering.

"I can't understand how a parole board can allow a convicted murderer to be released from prison without revealing the whereabouts of a body.

"They haven't accepted what they have done."


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Anita, who has three adult sons and is a grandmother herself, said she spent 20 years with her mum's murder constantly on her mind.

Despite repeatedly asking Bowen to reveal the location of her mum's body, the killer repeatedly refused.

She questioned whether an offender can really prove they have learned from their wrongdoing by withholding such a crucial detail.

Anita said: "My mum's murderer has never admitted it, he never gave up the body's location, how could he have been rehabilitated?

"He is still in denial that he ever did it.

"How can he ever be seen as a safe person?

"He may have just made the 18 years, but that's not life.

"I know the courts can only put a sentence on the crime that has been committed, but when someone commits a crime like that and doesn't acknowledge responsibility, they shouldn't have the opportunity to come out."

Bowen was freed from prison on parole in 2015 and is believed to be living in Wales.

Anita was offered to visit Wales to sit on the hearing which would decide whether or not he would be released from jail.

But, not wanting to face the man who cruelly took her mum, she wrote a letter detailing exactly why she thought it was unjust to release him.


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She said: "I wrote a letter of all the reasons why he shouldn't get out.

"I was invited to go along, but I didn't go.

"He would have been given a choice to be in the room with me or not.

"I didn't want to go, I didn't want to see him, I have never seen him or made contact with him since."

All Anita has now is vivid memories of her mum, who was strangled by Bowen at their home in Llandogo, Monmouthshire after she was accused of having an affair.

Attempts to conceal his crime were short-lived as he was found guilty of her murder at trial in 1998 after her blood was found at the couple's home.


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He was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 18 years.

"I used to speak to my mum everyday, I never particularly liked him, I don't know why, there was just something about him," said Anita.

"Or it could have been that he was taking my mum away, I'm an only child, and he took my mum away from me.

"Mum used to have the children during the summer holidays and she used to come back here.

"I had phoned her just the day before."


In April 2017 Mrs Bowen's funeral finally went ahead after police confirmed the remains found by the reservoir were indeed hers.

Her family and friends were able to gather to pay their final respects two decades after her death.

Anita said the ceremony brought closure for her and her family.

"It was a mix of everything, the whole thing comes flooding back, having to relive the whole thing," she said.

"But it was good that me, my three boys and my partner, Paul, could go to Wales and lay her to rest, it was very private.

"I did have the chance to have the funeral down here, but I did it in Wales with a special arrangement, and I was given her ashes straight away.

"I had control, he did not have control, it was back with me, mum came home with me."

On the anniversary of her mum's death that August, Anita scattered her mum's ashes at The Warren, a seaside beauty spot where the pair had spent happier times together.

The rest of the ashes were made into a purple paper weight, which was Sandie's favourite colour.

Anita said: "It was good to have the support of my now older children and my partner, Paul.

"They have been my rock.

"My sons know now what I went through was a difficult time, I was carrying all that grief with me for all that time.

"But life goes on, and I am extremely happy now."

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