Man faces life sentence after admitting murder of woman, 40, found dead in flat

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A man has admitted murdering a woman whose body was found in her home.

Joe Rankin, 34, pleaded guilty to the murder of Emma Potter, 40, who was found dead at her flat in Stroud, Gloucestershire, by police last November 4.

During a brief hearing at Bristol Crown Court, Rankin spoke only to confirm his name and enter his plea to the charge that he murdered Ms Potter on a date between September 19 and November 5 2022.

Emma Potter was found dead at her home in November 2022 (Gloucestershire Police/PA)
Emma Potter was found dead at her home in November 2022 (Gloucestershire Police/PA)

“He has had a number of hospitalisations before,” he said.

David Aubrey KC, defending, replied: “There is a detailed psychiatric history here.

“The question of diminished responsibility has plainly been considered and falls short of affording him a defence, but his psychiatric history is relevant to the position of sentence.”

The judge ordered the preparation of psychiatric reports ahead of sentencing on June 16.

He told the defendant: “The court will be seeking a report from the hospital who have most recently been treating you so to help me understand a little bit more about your psychiatry.

“As your lawyers will have explained to you before, you will receive a life sentence and the question is to what the minimum period you will serve before you will be considered for release.”

Rankin, of Langtoft Road, Slad, Stroud, Gloucestershire, was remanded into custody.

Gloucestershire Police initially treated Ms Potter’s death as unexplained but the results of post-mortem tests led to a murder investigation.

In a statement released at the time, her family said: “We mourn the death of our daughter, Emma, who joined our family as a beautiful five-month-old baby.

“She enjoyed all kinds of music and loved to sing. Her heroine was Whitney Houston. She longed to be like her.

“All her life, Emma tried to be kind to anyone who befriended her. Life wasn’t always easy but she was trying to find ways to improve herself.

“We will never know whether she would have succeeded.

“Who would have thought that beautiful, funny, dark-eyed baby would have had such a tragic end?”

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