Bodies in garden: Life sentences for Dagenham woman and husband
- Credit: Archant
Life sentences have been handed down to a husband and wife who together killed her parents and buried their bodies while keeping up the “elaborate charade” they were still alive.
Susan and Christopher Edwards, formerly of Valence Wood Road, Dagenham, will each serve a minimum of 25 years behinds bars.
They were found guilty of shooting William and Patricia Wycherley back in 1998 – when the killers were still living in Dagenham – and burying their bodies in the back garden of their home in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.
For the next 15 years they forged signatures and messages from the elderly couple to keep up the pretence they were still alive, their plan only unravelling when officials wanted to speak Mr Wycherley at the approach of his 100th birthday.
Sentencing the pair at Nottingham Crown Court on Monday after a two-week trial, judge Mrs Justice Karthryn Thirlwall said their crimes were “shocking” and followed by an “elaborate charade”.
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She said: “You planned to shoot and kill and that is what you did,” adding the graphic nature of the burial had been told with “remarkable detachment” in court.
Maintaining her lies to the end, Edwards, 56, pushed for a manslaughter charge claiming she shot her 63-year-old mother after finding her standing over the body of her dead father one night in May 1998.
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She told the court that during the ensuing argument her mother admitted to sleeping with the former librarian’s husband, 57, and knowing Mr Wycherley, 85, had abused Edwards as a child – all unsubstantiated accusations.
She said a week later she returned to the house with her husband, who she claimed was an unwitting accomplice until she begged him to help bury the bodies in the garden where they remained until their discovery in October last year.
Seeing through her story, the jury found in agreement with the prosecution who said the killings had been motivated by money the couple believed they were owned after Edwards’ parents failed to make good on an investment.
Senior investigating officer Det Ch Insp Rob Griffin said the Edwards’ version of events “just didn’t sound plausible right from the very beginning”.
He said the investigation itself was an “incredible challenge” due to the amount of time that had passed between the murder and the discovery of the bodies with police bereft of modern cctv of telecommunications evidence.
“All we had to go on was what Susan and Christopher were telling us. It was through good old fashioned detective work that we were able to separate fact from fiction,” he said.
“The Edwards’ were their own worst enemies in the end. It was in the finer detail of their own story that we were able to expose their lies.
“It’s been a long time coming but justice has been done for William and Patricia Wycherley.”