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Man admits killing NI mum-of two Kerri McAuley in Norwich

But accused denies the murder of his partner

By Allan Preston

The man accused of killing a Co Antrim mother-of-two in Norwich has admitted manslaughter but denies murder.

Kerri McAuley was 32 when she was found dead in her Norwich home on January 8 this year.

Joe Storey (27) was charged with her murder with his trial beginning yesterday at Norwich Crown Court. The court heard a post-mortem report from the Home Office with distressing details of a “vicious and sustained attack” on the young mother who has family living in Cushendall as well as England. In total she suffered 19 injuries to her face including a broken jaw, cheekbones and eye sockets. During the prosecutions opening statement the jury was told the couple had an on-off relationship and Mr Storey had a history of physical and mental abuse towards Ms McAuley.

“Sadly as is so often the case in abusive relationship she continued to stay with the defendant despite his behaviour towards her,” prosecution QC Simon Spence QC told the jury.

The jury also heard Mr Storey had assaulted Ms McAuley at least twice before.

On one occasion she had posted a picture on social media showing injuries imposed by Mr Storey.

On the day before she was found dead, Saturday, January 7, the couple had argued while out in a pub and after returning home where the prosecution say Mr Storey lashed out.

“The only question for you the jury therefore to determine is what his state of mind was at the time and whether at the time of the attack on Kerri he intended to kill her or cause her really serious harm,” Mr Spence said before adding but the severity of injuries clearly demonstrated that his intent was murder.

Ms McAuley’s body was discovered in the flat on the evening of Sunday, January 8 by her mother and brother.

The prosecution said Mr Storey returned to the flat of a female friend the morning after Ms McAuley was killed with a half finished bottle of wine and a blood stained T-shirt he claimed was the result of a fight.

Mr Spence said the accused asked a friend for a lift to Ms McAuley’s flat on Sunday morning between 10am and 11am.

Leaving the car for around five or ten minutes, he allegedly told his friend Ms McAuley was not there, something Mr Spence said was a lie as at the time “she was laying dead on the floor of the sitting room”.

The trial continues.

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