Bod­ies In The Gar­den

A web of lies helped a movie-mad cou­ple to hide a bru­tal dou­ble mur­der

Pick Me Up! Special - - Front Page -

Read­ing through her let­ter, Su­san Ed­wards smiled as she scrib­bled the sig­na­ture. Gérard Depar­dieu… Then the spe­cial French stamp.

Sat­is­fied, Su­san, 54, couldn’t wait to show it to her hus­band, Christo­pher, 55 – rip­ping open the en­ve­lope in front of him.

Bizarrely, for 14 years she’d pre­tended to him that she and French movie star Gérard Depar­dieu were pen pals.

This was one of many odd things about this movie mem­o­ra­bilia-crazy cou­ple…

House­wife Su­san, a for­mer li­brar­ian, and her be­spec­ta­cled hubby, a credit con­trol of­fi­cer, seemed like an ev­ery­day cou­ple.

But a let­ter ar­riv­ing in the sum­mer of 2012, for Su­san’s dad, Bill, from the Depart­ment of Works and Pensions, threat­ened to blow their world apart.

The DWP had writ­ten to Bill Wy­cher­ley ahead of his 100th birth­day, at the house they be­lieved he shared with his wife, Pa­tri­cia, in For­est Town – a for­mer col­liery vil­lage near Mansfield, Not­ting­hamshire. They wanted to re­assess his pen­sion and ben­e­fits, send­ing the Ed­ward­ses into a tail­spin. Now, this let­ter threat­ened to ex­pose their dark­est se­cret... For 15 years, they’d been cov­er­ing up a shock­ing dou­ble mur­der. Ter­ri­fied, the pair fled to France. Then, on 1 Oc­to­ber 2013, Not­ting­hamshire Po­lice re­ceived a strange call from Christo­pher’s step­mother, claim­ing he and his wife had shot Bill and Pa­tri­cia 15 years ear­lier, bury­ing them in a Mansfield gar­den. She’d de­cided to turn them in af­ter Christo­pher phoned her from France, ask­ing for fi­nan­cial help.

Strangely, Christo­pher had also called the cops, leav­ing a mo­bile num­ber and e-mail ad­dress.

Po­lice searches con­firmed there was no ev­i­dence the Wy­cher­leys were alive, but their deaths hadn’t been reg­is­tered ei­ther.

The cur­rent oc­cu­pier of the Wy­cher­leys’ old home, Sue Bram­ley, said she be­lieved they’d moved away.

An­other neigh­bour, John Ward, claimed Christo­pher had told him they’d moved to More­cambe.

But when po­lice en­quiries es­tab­lished the Wy­cher­leys had dis­ap­peared in 1998, dis­turb­ing ev­i­dence started to emerge.

One neigh­bour re­called be­ing wo­ken in the night by a scratch­ing sound and see­ing Christo­pher up to his waist in a hole he’d dug in the ground.

Po­lice found two bul­lets in each body, but no weapon

‘He thought it strange at the time, but didn’t re­port it,’ said De­tec­tive Su­per­in­ten­dent Rob Grif­fin, of the East Mid­lands Ma­jor Crime Unit.

On 9 Oc­to­ber 2013, armed with ground-pen­e­trat­ing radar, to de­tect graves and ca­daver dogs, cops started dig­ging up the Wy­cher­leys’ for­mer gar­den.

‘The ar­chae­ol­o­gist pointed to an area and said, “That is a clas­sic grave,”’ said DS Grif­fin. ‘Slowly but surely, the bod­ies of the Wy­cher­leys were re­vealed.’

For 15 years they’d been wrapped in a du­vet, just one me­tre un­der­ground.

Po­lice found two bul­lets in each body, but no weapon.

Then, on 30 Oc­to­ber, Christo­pher e-mailed DS Grif­fin, say­ing he and Su­san would sur­ren­der to the au­thor­i­ties at the

Eurostar Ter­mi­nal in Lille, France.

‘They had a suit­case each, packed mainly with mem­o­ra­bilia – signed pho­to­graphs of peo­ple they seem­ingly adored,’ said DS Grif­fin, remembering the cou­ple ar­riv­ing in Lon­don.

In­ter­viewed sep­a­rately back in Not­ting­ham, their sto­ries tal­lied.

They claimed that, on a bank hol­i­day week­end in May 1998, Su­san vis­ited her par­ents in Mansfield, over­hear­ing them ar­gu­ing in the night.

Af­ter hear­ing gun­fire, she’d found her mother hold­ing a gun in their bed­room, stand­ing over the body of her dead fa­ther.

Also row­ing with her mum, Su­san ended up hold­ing the gun, shoot­ing Pa­tri­cia more than once.

Re­turn­ing home to Lon­don, she’d then con­vinced Christo­pher to ac­com­pany her to Mansfield the fol­low­ing week­end.

As they ate fish and chips on the night of the Euro­vi­sion Song Con­test, she’d told him what had hap­pened, adding that her dead par­ents were up­stairs.

To­gether, they’d buried the cou­ple in the gar­den, ad­mit­ting man­slaugh­ter, but not mur­der.

But cracks soon be­gan to ap­pear in their per­fectly crafted story.

De­scrib­ing the burial, they said one body was ‘stiff ’ and the other ‘flac­cid’, in­di­cat­ing rigor mor­tis had passed.

Ac­cord­ing to the pathol­o­gist though, five to seven days elapsed be­tween the mur­ders and the buri­als, mean­ing rigor mor­tis would have passed for them both.

Also, Christo­pher emerged as a gun en­thu­si­ast and for­mer gun club mem­ber.

Cops ac­counted for some of the weapons he’d owned, but were un­able to track down a .38 re­volver – the type of weapon used to mur­der Bill and Pa­tri­cia.

Yet, the cou­ple in­sisted Su­san had shot her par­ents, de­spite her be­ing ter­ri­fied of firearms.

Still, de­tec­tives could not es­tab­lish a mo­tive for mur­der.

Bill’s niece, Vivien Steen­son, who ex­changed fre­quent let­ters with her un­cle, re­called that he ve­he­mently dis­liked Christo­pher.

Still, she’d never sus­pected he was dead.

Su­san had con­tin­ued to cor­re­spond with Vivien and any­one else writ­ing to Bill, on his be­half – claim­ing he was too de­crepit to re­ply to let­ters him­self. Then it tran­spired that, on Tues­day 5 May – the day the banks re­opened af­ter the dou­ble mur­der – Su­san closed her par­ents’

The cou­ple in­sisted Su­san had shot her par­ents

joint ac­count.

She opened a new ac­count in her and her dead moth­erõs name, first trans­fer­ring over about £40,000 and then with­draw­ing the lot.

For the next 15 years, she and Christo­pher con­tin­ued tak­ing the Wy­cher­leysõ pen­sion and ben­e­fits money, also ac­quir­ing credit cards in their name, then sell­ing their house and bank­ing the pro­ceeds.

Al­to­gether, they took around £250,000 Ð in­cred­i­bly, blow­ing the lot on mem­o­ra­bilia, in­clud­ing a £7,000 signed photo of Gary Cooper, while liv­ing in a top floor, rented council flat in Da­gen­ham, Es­sex.

Soon, their mo­tive for mur­der was re­vealed.

Christo­pher and Su­san had fallen out with the Wy­cher­leys af­ter theyõd forced Su­san to re­move her name from the deeds of a Lon­don house they sold to fi­nance their move to For­est Town Ð some­thing she could­nõt for­give.

In June 2014, the Ed­ward­ses stood trial for mur­der at Not­ting­ham Crown Court.

The court heard how Bill, 85, and Pa­tri­cia, 63, were shot dead in their bed­room in May 1998.

Found guilty of mur­der, Su­san and Christo­pher Ed­wards were sentenced to life, with a min­i­mum of 25 years.

Mrs Jus­tice Kathryn Thirl­wall told them: Ôyou are each as re­spon­si­ble as each other for these crimes.õ

And what hap­pened to their mem­o­ra­bilia hoard?

Listed as Su­sanõs prop­erty, it raised just £3,000 when sold un­der the Pro­ceeds of Crime Act.

Christo­pherõs re­main­ing as­sets were val­ued at £17.

As one of their idols, Frank Si­na­tra, sang... Thatõs Life. ● Watch A Town and Coun­try Mur­der through­out Oc­to­ber only on Crime + In­ves­ti­ga­tion. Satur­days at 3pm and week­days at 1pm.

Vic­tim Bill Wy­cher­ley An ac­tress play­ing Pa­tri­cia A bul­let found with the buried re­mains CH

TO­PHER ED­WARDS SU­SAN ED­WARDS The cou­ple sur­ren­dered via e-mail They splurged on film mem­o­ra­bilia

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.