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

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A man has pleaded guilty to the murder of a 40-year-old woman who was found dead in her flat.

Emma Potter’s body was discovered by Gloucestershire police officers at her home in Chapel Street, Stroud, on 4 November 2022.

Joe Rankin, 34, of Langtoft Road, Stroud, will be remanded in custody until sentencing on 16 June.

Judge Peter Blair KC told Rankin to expect a life sentence and asked for a psychiatric report to be prepared.

“You will receive a life sentence and the question for me will be what the minimum period will be before you can be released,” he said.

Following Ms Potter’s death, her family described her as a “beautiful, funny and kind” woman.

“All her life, Emma tried to be kind to anyone who befriended her,” they said.

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?”

Rankin will be sentenced at Bristol Crown Court.

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