Murderer’s chilling 999 call after raping and strangling mum-of-two on walk home

A mother-of-two was raped and murdered on her way home from work after her partner’s best friend offered to walk with her.

Janine Bowater was attacked, knocked unconscious and bitten on the neck, before she was raped and strangled in a shocking attack in the early hours of the morning.

An inquest into her death heard how John Wright then called 999 and chillingly told the call operator: "I’ve killed her. I couldn’t help it."

Wright had offered to walk the 25-year-old home after her shift at a pub in Thatcham, Berkshire, GetReading reports.

The 32-year-old was arrested at the scene and was charged with murder but was found hanged in jail before he would face trial.

Detective sergeant Peter Clarke of Thames Valley Police appeared at the inquest today.

He said Wright was a regular at the pub where Miss Bowater worked, and arranged to walk her home.

CCTV cameras captured them leaving but then lost them.

Police and ambulance crews were called to the scene and found Miss Bowater unresponsive.

They began CPR but after failing to resuscitate her, declared Miss Bowater dead at the scene.

However, their equipment then began to show signs of a heartbeat, and they decided to resume CPR and took her to Royal Berkshire Hospital.

Once there, doctors used a defibrillator three times, but she was declared dead at around 4.30am.

Coroner Peter Bedford heard from Home Office forensic pathologist Ashley Fegan-Earl, who said examinations found Miss Bowater had suffered a serious head injury in the attack.

He said she also had a black eye, which suggested being hit by a blunt object, which could have been Wright’s fist.

It was also confirmed she suffered bite marks, which were matched to Wright’s dental records.

She suffered a cardiac arrest, which was caused by being strangled, which ultimately led to her death.

his evidence earlier, DS Clarke said police believed there was a "realistic prospect that had the case gone to trial, Mr Wright would’ve been found guilty of murder, rape and grievous bodily harm".

Very little evidence was given for any kind of motive for Wright but staff at the pub said he had recently lost his job and was drinking heavily.

Examinations of his phone found a number of Facebook messages between him and Miss Bowater, but there was no suggestion the two were in a secret relationship.

After two hours of evidence, Mr Bedford said the case was a "rare one for a coroner to have to deal with" as it would have normally been held after a criminal trial.

Concluding the inquest in Reading, Berkshire, he said: "The evidence is overwhelming, there is no doubt this was an unlawful killing.

"I can record that Miss Janine Bowater, died at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, on December due to compression of the neck."

Following her death last year, Miss Bowater’s family issued a tribute which said: "Not only were you an amazing caring mother and daughter you were also a loving partner and sister.

"Little did we know that night, all our lives would change forever.

"You will be missed so much by all your family and everyone that loves you.

"Sleep tight beautiful, shine bright, you’ll forever be in our hearts."

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