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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Woman who murdered her parents for 'greed' spent most of the money on movie star memorabilia

Published 20/06/2014 | 12:43

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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
File picture of Gerard Depardieu. A woman accused of murdering her parents and pretending they were alive for 15 years faked a decade-long writing relationship with the French film star, her co-accused husband has told a jury
File picture of Gerard Depardieu. A woman accused of murdering her parents and pretending they were alive for 15 years faked a decade-long writing relationship with the French film star, her co-accused husband has told a jury
A signed Gary Cooper photo after the Edwards spent some of the £245,705 they stole from the Wycherleys on memorabilia, including signed letters and photographs of the 1950s Hollywood movie and two-time Oscar winner,
A signed Gary Cooper photo after the Edwards spent some of the £245,705 they stole from the Wycherleys on memorabilia, including signed letters and photographs of the 1950s Hollywood movie and two-time Oscar winner,

A "cold and calculating" couple who murdered her parents for greed spent much of the cash on movie star memorabilia.

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Susan Edwards, 56, and her husband 57-year-old Christopher are estimated by police to have spent their way through £245,705 fraudulently claimed from pensions and benefits, and from the proceeds of selling their victims' home.

Detective chief inspector Rob Griffin, of Nottinghamshire Police, said the couple were actually £166,000 in debt and "had nothing to show" for their crimes by the time of their arrest last year.

Mrs Edwards' parents William Wycherley, 85, and 63-year-old wife Patricia, were found buried under the back garden of their old home in Blenheim Close in Mansfield last year after being murdered in May 1998.

The Edwards continued a 15-year pretence to the authorities, family and friends that the reclusive pensioners were still alive, all the while claiming their pensions and benefits.

When the couple, who had fled to Lille in France in 2012, voluntarily boarded a Eurostar train back to England they had a suitcase stuffed with old memorabilia, including signed photos and autographs of the Hollywood actor and two-time Oscar winner Gary Cooper.

Among the items were a letter to a fan of the star bought by the Edwards in 2010 for 2,999 dollars (£1,769), and a four-line typed stock sale form signed by the star of the 1950s Western High Noon, bought for 4,999 dollars (£2,948).

There were also items relating to crooner Frank Sinatra among the memorabilia haul, some of which was found in the council house they had in Dagenham, east London.

Far from living the high life, Mr Griffin said the couple "did not appear to have a lavish lifestyle" but for their obsession with star-touched paperwork.

At the train station in Lille, Mr Edwards apparently told British police he had just one euro left in his pocket.

"They spent what they took and more, and left themselves in debt," added the senior investigator.

"They also owed £166,000."

Mr Griffin added: "I think cold is the word.

"To be prepared to sit down, husband and wife, and plan the murder of parents or parents-in-law for money, for greed, and because your spending is out of control is cold and calculating."

Mr Edwards, whose £28,000 day job as an accountancy clerk in the UK had involved chasing unpaid invoices for his employer, bought £14,000 of Gary Cooper memorabilia between 2009 and 2011.

Of £40,000 the couple transferred from the Wycherleys' accounts, £24,000 has never been traced, prosecutors told the jury during their trial.

The couple appear to have had an obsession with the famous, with Mrs Edwards claiming she had exchanged hundreds of letters with French actor Gerard Depardieu.

It later emerged in court that she herself had written the letters purported to be from Depardieu.

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