Scottish Daily Mail

Facing life, murder couple who buried parents under patio

...and pretended they were still alive for 15 years

- By Andy Dolan

A FORMER civilian police worker and her gun-obsessed husband were facing life in prison last night after being convicted of shooting and burying her elderly parents under their own patio.

In an extraordin­ary 15- year deception, Susan and Christophe­r Edwards managed to trick neighbours, relatives, solicitors and doctors into believing reclusive William and Patricia Wycherley had moved away.

But yesterday their luck ended, after a jury took just six hours to convict them of murdering the couple. Mrs Justice Thirlwall will sentence the debt-laden couple, who raked in £800-a-month from the Wycherleys’ pension and benefit payments, plus the £66,000 sale price of their victims’ home, on Monday.

The two-week trial heard that the pair blew ‘at least tens of thousands of pounds’ collecting autographe­d memorabili­a r el ati ng to famous figures such as Hollywood actors Gerard Depardieu and Gary Cooper, even while trying to pay off creditors. They also ran up thousands of debts on store cards,

‘Believed their own lies’

including £ 12,000 to John Lewis.

Police believe the crime’s roots lay in a ‘financial grudge’ Susan, 56, held against her parents and which festered for 20 years before the Wycherleys – who were aged 85 and 63 when they died – were gunned down in May 1998.

According to police, the Wycherleys had cheated her out of a £5,000 inheritanc­e by convincing her to invest it in a house with them, then removing her name from the deeds.

A jury heard how the Wycherleys, a former merchant seaman and a retired solicitors’ secretary, were each shot twice with a wartime revolver like one Christophe­r, an £28,000-ayear accounts clerk, owned - then ‘stacked’ 3ft deep in an unmarked grave.

Police believe it was Christophe­r, the son of an RAF Lieutenant, who also used pistols at a gun club, who fired the fatal shots. Despite cashing in up to £ 245,000 f rom their crime, the Edwardses have little to show for their fraud beyond the signed pictures and correspond­ence f rom celebritie­s they hoarded.

‘Fantasist’ Susan, a former librarian, even spent 14 years writing letters to herself in pidgin English, claiming they were from Gerard Depardieu.

At the same time, she was writing Christmas cards detailing her parents’ ‘travels’. In one note to a cousin, she said her father was having a ‘second youth’ travelling in Ireland.

Their plot began to unravel in September 2012, when a let- ter for Mr Wycherley reached them from the Department for Work and Pensions, seeking a personal interview as part of a benefits review to mark his 100th birthday.

The couple fled to Lille, France – taking suitcases of memorabili­a with them – but French- speaker Christophe­r could not find work.

Down to their last Euro, Christophe­r, 57, contacted a wealthy stepmother to plead for cash just a month later.

Christophe­r also told her the Wycherleys were buried in the garden – by then being rented by a single mother – claiming Susan had been provoked into killing her mother after discoverin­g the older woman had shot her father.

But Mrs Edwards rejected his ‘ carefully hatched and rehearsed’ account and passed his email address to police, who exhumed the bodies.

Yesterday Mr Wycherley’s sister-in-law Gisela, told the Daily Mail: ‘I could hardly comprehend what had happened when I was told.

‘To bury two people in their garden and keep it secret is beyond belief - so very, very cruel.’ Detective Chief Inspector Rob Griffin said the defendants had ‘started to believe their own lies’.

 ??  ?? Graves: Police digging under the patio where the Wycherleys were buried for 15 years
Graves: Police digging under the patio where the Wycherleys were buried for 15 years
 ??  ?? Fantasist: Susan Edwards
Fantasist: Susan Edwards
 ??  ?? Cruel: Christophe­r Edwards
Cruel: Christophe­r Edwards
 ??  ?? Killed: William Wycherley
Killed: William Wycherley

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