Monday 23 April 2018

Woman accused of murdering parents and pretending they were alive for 15 years tells jury: 'I lost it'

A 15-year-old boy has pleaded not guilty to assaulting a school principal
A 15-year-old boy has pleaded not guilty to assaulting a school principal

A woman accused of murdering her parents, burying them in their garden and pretending they were alive for 15 years, has told a jury of the moment she "lost it" and shot her mother.

Former librarian Susan Edwards, 56, with her husband Christopher, 57, is accused of murdering Patricia and William Wycherley in 1998.

Prosecutors have told Nottingham Crown Court the pair killed the elderly couple at their semi in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, before burying them in their garden and then raking in £245,000 by making it seem like they were still alive.

Today, Edwards took to the witness box and told the jury she had gone into her parents' bedroom to find her mother standing over her father, who was dead on the floor.

She said she picked up the gun after her mother had put it on a bed and shot Mrs Wycherley who was provoking her with relentless taunts.

Edwards told the court she had been visiting her parents without her husband over a bank holiday weekend in May 1998 at their home in Blenheim Close, in the Forest Town area of Mansfield, when she was woken in the night by a noise.

"I'm still not exactly sure what it was - a loud noise," she said.

"I got up, went across the landing to see the other bedroom door ajar and the light was on."

Edwards said she went inside the room.

"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."

"She (her mother) started saying things to me."

Edwards told the jury that Mrs Wycherley began telling her that she was not wanted as a child, that she knew that her father abused Edwards when she was growing up and that she had had a sexual relationship with Christopher Edwards.

"I picked (the gun) up to keep it from her," Edwards told the jury.

"She kept saying all of these things. She said she knew of my father's abuse.

"She kept saying things over and over again.

"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."

Edwards, who has grey parted hair and wears glasses, gave evidence this morning in a quiet voice wearing a navy blue dress with white spots and a blue cardigan.

Prosecutors have told the jury the bodies of Mr and Mrs Wycherley, aged 85 and 63, lay undiscovered from 1998 to 2013.

Their neighbours and relatives were told after their deaths that they had gone travelling or had moved to the coast for health reasons.

The prosecution case is that the Edwards, who married in 1983, had been in severe financial difficulties for much of their relationship and they killed Susan Edwards's parents for the cash, claiming pension money and selling the Wycherleys' house.

The bodies were found buried in their garden in October last year.

Police traced the Edwards in France and the couple agreed to return to the UK when they were arrested.

The jury has been told that Susan Edwards admits the manslaughter of her mother on the basis of provocation.

Christopher and Susan Edwards each deny two counts of murder.

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