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Friday 22 August 2014

Strange couple who murdered parents 'showed no remorse'

Published 20/06/2014 | 12:46

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Christopher Edwards, 57, and Susan Edwards, 56, who have been found guilty at Nottingham Crown Court of murdering her parents, whose bodies were found buried in their own back garden 15 years after they disappeared
Christopher Edwards, 57, and Susan Edwards, 56, who have been found guilty at Nottingham Crown Court of murdering her parents, whose bodies were found buried in their own back garden 15 years after they disappeared

The "strange couple" who murdered their parents for money showed signs of cold calculation behind the eccentric facade shown to jurors, according to murder detectives.

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Police believe Susan Edwards, 56, and her 57-year-old husband Christopher were driven by "greed" and were happy to lie to relatives, friends and the authorities for 15 years to conceal the true fate of their victims, 63-year-old Patricia Wycherley and her husband William, 85.

Detective Chief Inspector Rob Griffin, who led the murder investigation, said: "I don't think it would be unfair to call them a strange couple."

The jury heard clues to the couple's oddities, as they spent their way through £245,705 of cash emptied from their dead parents' bank accounts, fraudulently claimed pensions and unlawful sold their victims' home.

Mrs Edwards was described as "a fantasist" by Mr Griffin, whose performances in court during the trial he believed were "part of an act".

She had claimed to have received hundreds of letters from French screen actor Gerard Depardieu, but it emerged at trial that she was their author and had been writing to herself in the guise of the Gallic star for a decade.

Mrs Edwards also claimed to have met renowned Liverpool Football Club coach Bill Shankly in a London hotel in the 1970s.

Mr Griffin said: "I think those stories need to be considered in the context that for 15 years they've been building these lies in readiness to give their version of events to the police, so whether the Depardieu or Shankly stories are true or part of a contrived facade, we simply don't know."

The couple had the post redirected to their own home, and, to keep up the pretence that the Wycherleys were alive, even wrote Christmas cards to relatives including Mr Wycherley's niece, assuring them all was well.

In one card, Mrs Edwards wrote in her own name to explain that the pensioners were "travelling" in Ireland, and signed off with "PS - Parents loved your card", even though by that time both had been dead and buried for 13 years.

Mrs Edwards claimed she had suffered abuse as a child at her father's hands, but detectives said it was "difficult to assess whether what we're being told occurred or not".

During her trial, Mrs Edwards alleged she had travelled by National Express coach from her council house home in London to Mansfield after her mother complained that Mr Wycherley was "driving her mad".

Later, at the property in Blenheim Close, she claimed to hear her mother shooting her father dead in the upstairs bedroom over his unreasonable behaviour.

Mrs Edwards told jurors she then used the pistol to kill her mother, after allegedly being told by Mrs Wycherley that she had known of her being abused as a child but had done nothing to stop it.

Detectives said they found no complaints of child abuse ever being filed.

Mr Griffin said he thought the couple "cold" towards their crimes, recounting how Mr Edwards had described moving the Wycherleys' bodies to their garden graves.

"It was as if he was describing moving a piece of furniture rather than the dead bodies of his in-laws," the detective said.

"They appear to be still utterly in love.

"But I don't think either has showed a shred of remorse."

Press Association

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