Killer jailed after police hear prayer for mercy

A murderer whose prayers for forgiveness were overheard by police who bugged his car was jailed for life yesterday. George Maben's "confession" was played to an Old Bailey jury, which found him guilty of murdering his girlfriend's wealthy mother. It was after detectives heard his emotional, whispered words "God, forgive me for what I have done" that they arrested Maben for strangling Maureen Cosgrove, 65.

Unemployed Maben, 45, of Rosehill, Surrey, denied murdering Mrs Cosgrove at her home in Carshalton Beeches, Surrey, on 24 March. Mrs Cosgrove was asphyxiated with a ligature in the kitchen of her £1m, five-bedroom home. Maben was the partner of her daughter Lucy Rees, 34, who was expecting his baby.

Mrs Cosgrove, the widow of a financial consultant, was a member of several community organisations. Maben told others that she did not approve when he tried to move with Lucy Rees into Mrs Cosgrove's house. Maben was seen on CCTV taking a bus to Mrs Cosgrove's home, putting on gloves during the journey. He later met Ms Rees and they returned to the house to find the body. Fibres from the dead woman's clothing were found on clothes Maben had been wearing.

Officers bugged a Ford Focus used by Maben, and on 9 April he was recorded begging for help from above. The recording said: "I just could not take it any more. Every single day, she was breaking me down. Please God will you forgive me? Please God, sorry."

Judge Jeremy Roberts ordered that Maben should serve a minimum of 13 years. The judge told him he was reducing the term which might have been expected because the murder was out of character and because Maben had been under pressure, seeing Mrs Cosgrove as an "obstacle" in his relationship with her daughter.

Outside court, Detective Chief Inspector John McFarlane said of Ms Rees: "It is terrible. She has a child by the killer of her own mother. Maben is a cool, manipulative individual who sought to control her."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?