UK & World News
Bodies In Garden Couple Jailed For Life
A couple who murdered the wife's parents before burying the bodies in their garden and stealing £245,000 of their money have been jailed for life.
Susan Edwards, 56, and her husband Christopher Edwards, 57, were sentenced after being found guilty after trial last week.
They shot dead William and Patricia Wycherley at the elderly couple's former home in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, in 1998.
Sentencing the pair at Nottingham Crown Court today, Mrs Justice Kathryn Thirlwall told them they would both serve a minimum of 25 years behind bars.
The court heard that the debt-ridden couple shot their victims at their home on the May bank holiday.
They then buried their victims in a metre-deep hole in their own back garden.
For the next 15 years, the couple kept up the elaborate hoax that Mr Wycherley, 85, and his 63-year-old wife were alive.
Susan Edwards wrote cards to family telling them her parents were alive and well, while neighbours were told the couple had gone travelling.
The former librarian even wrote Christmas cards to Mr Wycherley's niece telling them the pensioners were journeying around Ireland "because of the good air".
In the mean time they claimed their benefits, pensions, and even sold their home before a tip-off led police to the graves in October last year.
Mrs Justice Thirlwall described the killings as "shocking crimes".
She told the "self-contained couple" that so far as they were concerned "only the two of you mattered".
The judge told Susan Edwards, who sat staring intently from the dock wearing a patterned grey cardigan and glasses, that she was "a fantasist".
Mrs Justice Thirlwall accepted "on balance" that she had told the truth about being sexually abused by Mr Wycherley as a child.
"That background may explain why you hated him, which you did, and why you have no remorse about killing him," she said.
The judge said she did not believe Mrs Wycherley had ever known of that abuse, as had been claimed in court as being the motive for killing her.
Mrs Justice Thirlwall added she was satisfied it was Christopher Edwards who shot the pensioners in the back bedroom of their home.
"I sentence you on the basis that each of you intended that both Mr and Mrs Wycherley should be shot dead."
The judge said the couple "dumped" the bodies in unmarked graves, before creating "an elaborate charade" which ran for 15 years.
She said the facts of the case were "so serious and your culpability so high" that she had no choice but impose minimum terms of 25 years each.
During mitigation pleas, Susan Edwards's barrister David Howker QC described her abuse at her father's hands as "an ongoing feature" of her life.
This created in her "the justifiable hatred of him and would be akin to a slow-burning, festering provocation that may explain in some way some part of why it happened".
He said Mrs Edwards had no children, no friends and was facing the prospect of jail apart from her husband.
He added that her crime "already made her a target" behind bars.
Neither defendant appeared to react as they were jailed, with the pair led down from the dock in silence.