Jury begins deliberations over Dagenham couple’s ‘bodies in garden’ murder case

Susan Edwards and her husband Christopher Edwards have been handed life sentences

Susan Edwards and her husband Christopher Edwards have been handed life sentences - Credit: Archant

A jury is today considering its verdict on the alleged double murder by a Dagenham woman of her own parents.

Susan Edwards, 56, and husband Christopher, 57, both of whom lived in Valence Wood Road, Dagenham, at the time, deny murdering Patricia and William Wycherley in May 1998.

The older couple’s bodies lay undiscovered in their own Nottinghamshire back garden for 15 years until they were discovered in October last year.

Susan Edwards, who admits her mother’s manslaughter, claims she “lost it” and shot Mrs Wycherley – then 63 –

because the older woman had been taunting her.

“I asked her, ‘please stop saying these things and go away. Please stop saying these things’.

“She didn’t. She kept going on and on. It seemed like a long time. At some point I lost it. I shot my mother.”

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Edwards, now of no fixed abode, claims she had been staying at her parents’ house in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, in May 1998, when, one night, she was awoken by a noise.

She says she saw a light in her parents’ room and walked in to find Mrs Wycherley standing over her husband.

“I saw my father on the floor and my mother standing over him,” she said.

“I knew my father was dead. I don’t know how I knew – I just knew.”

Mrs Wycherley then allegedly told her daughter she had slept with Christopher Edwards, her own son-in-law, and that she knew Mr Wycherley, then 85, had abused Edwards as a child.

“I can’t describe how I felt,” she told jurors at Nottingham Crown Court. “I just lost control.” After shooting Mrs Wycherley, she said, she hid the gun and went home to east London.

She then persuaded her allegedly unknowing husband to return to the scene with her on the basis they were to mind the house while the Wycherleys were on holiday.

Only when back at the house, she added, did she tell her husband what she had done, and begged him to help her bury the bodies in the garden – where they

remained until discovery in October last year.

The prosecution case is that the defendants killed the Wycherleys for the cash, claiming pension money and selling their house.

Edwards claims she and her husband claimed the pensions merely to alleviate suspicion.

The jury retired to consider its verdict yesterday morning.

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