A Next online shopping bag dumped in a wheelie bin, Ring doorbell footage and a hammer wiped clean of fingerprints brought justice for Dudley murder victim Sharon Gordon
A detective responsible for putting away a killer bricklayer who bludgeoned a gran to death on the first building job he ever took on, has said justice wouldn’t have been possible without police sniffer dog Dodger.
Murderer Peter Norgrove was jailed for life on Wednesday for killing Sharon Gordon thanks to Detective Inspector Damian Forrest and his team, but he says the key to cracking the case was an online shopping bag with the victim’s name and address on, as well as PD Dodger’s miraculous nose which sniffed out the cleaned up murder weapon hidden in a shed.
Norgrove, 43, met his victim, mother-of-one Sharon, 58, at a church they both went to. The newly-qualified workman had been introduced to her by friends and she invited him into her home to build a downstairs bathroom in a lean-to extension on the side of her home in Dudley, West Midlands.
By the time of her death in July 2023, the work had taken more than 18 months to complete, and had caused the pair’s friendship to deteriorate, as costs of the project spiralled and multiple deadlines were missed. On the day Sharon died at home, she had been entertaining friends while her builder went about his work.
It wasn’t long after her friends left that Norgrove was caught on a Ring doorbell putting on gloves, which he hadn’t needed for the last four and a half hours. He then went inside, closing the door behind him. Something outside had triggered the motion sensor camera to go off again, and it caught a scream from inside the property.
Police say this is when Norgrove used a hammer to hit Sharon over the head eight times. He is later seen on the video footage in blood-stained clothes taking items back and forth to his car.
Speaking to the Mirror, DI Forrest said Norgrove took a Next online shopping bag with his victim’s name and address on it to hide the blood-stained items and dumping them in a wheelie bin outside a relative’s home where he went with his family on the evening of the killing. The married father had also picked his son up from school and led a church service that same evening.
DI Norgrove said: “After Sharon is found the next day, it’s not clear to us if she fell or was attacked, so we spoke to Peter Norgrove as the last person to see her and he says he left her safe and well, he spoke briefly about issues in their relationship, but gave us his account.
“The CCTV showed that his movements didn’t match that account, so it was that that made him a suspect. The footage led us to the address and we found the items in a wheelie bin, inside a Next bag that had Sharon’s name and address on and the blood inside was hers.”
A shed at the same address had dozens of tools inside, and despite a visual look by detectives nothing was found so police dog Dodger was called in. The highly-trained animal quickly found the murder weapon, which appeared clean, but once it was analysed showed Sharon’s blood hidden in the grooves.
DI Forrest added: “Dodger found the hammer which had traces of Sharon’s blood, it wasn’t visible to the human eye as Norgrove had tried to clean it up. We would never have found the hammer if it wasn’t for the sniffer dog.
“The CCTV was able to show that Norgrove hadn’t given a truthful account to the police, and that made him a suspect, but it was the recovery of the items, particularly the hammer that meant we were able to tie it to Norbert. An honest person, who she knew through a religious community shouldn’t be lying to the police about his whereabouts.
“This was a shocking case, we had the community ready to help, it was such a clear tragedy. She should have been safe in her home address, with someone that she knew. I really want women and girls to know that if there is an issue or problems in a relationship, they should be able to report it to the police and we will take it seriously.”
In court on Wednesday, Norgrove was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 15 years. Judge Michael Chambers KC told him: “You used a hammer to repeatedly strike her to the head. You were angry because she had continued to criticise you for your chronic delays and workmanship.
“You went into the house, having put gloves on. You made no attempts to seek help. No sentence I can impose can put the clock back, nor should it be seen as any attempt to put a value on the loss of a human life. What was clear was by that Thursday, the 20th of July, Sharon Gordon continued to criticise you as to the delays and standard of your work. That clearly was the motivation for your anger.
“The principal aggravating factor is this was a brutal and savage attack in the victim’s home, using a weapon. She would have been no match for you. There was clearly an intention to kill.”
The victim’s daughter, Rhian Brown, told the court prior to the sentencing: “This man’s actions have changed my life forever. I am tormented at the thought of what my mum endured. Did she cry out for someone? Those thoughts are torture but I can’t get them out of my head. In her final moments she was faced with shocking violence from someone she thought she could trust. Nothing will ever restore or compensate for what we have lost.”