UK & World News
Mansfield Elderly Couple 'Shot And Buried'
A woman and her husband shot dead her elderly parents before installing light timers at their home so neighbours thought the couple were still alive, a court has heard.
Prosecutor Peter Joyce QC told Nottingham Crown Court William and Patricia Wycherley were shot before being buried by the defendants over the May bank holiday weekend in 1998.
The accused, Christopher and Susan Edwards, were able to convince people that her father and mother were alive for nearly 15 years after they died, the court heard.
Jurors were told the couple installed timers so people thought the Wycherleys were still living there and later told neighbours they had retired and moved away.
The Edwards forged signatures and wrote Christmas cards to relatives, pretending to be them, Mr Joyce said.
The Wycherleys' bank accounts were closed and a joint account in the names of Susan Edwards and her mother Patricia was opened, jurors were told, before money from benefits and pensions was then funnelled into that account.
It was only when the authorities realised Mr Wycherley was about to turn 100, that they got in contact, wanting to interview him.
The Edwards fled to France and when they ran out of money, Christopher Edwards contacted his elderly stepmother for financial help, the court heard.
He allegedly told her a "carefully hatched and rehearsed story" that Susan Edwards had heard her parents arguing and her mother had shot her father.
Mr Joyce said Susan Edwards claims her mother had told her she knew her daughter had been abused by her father and also that her mother had slept with Christopher Edwards.
She is then said to have shot her mother due to "severe provocation" and later her husband had helped her bury them.
The stepmother contacted police and the couple were arrested when they returned from France "by agreement" in October last year.
The bodies of Mr Wycherley, who would now be 101, and his wife, who would now be 80, were exhumed in the back garden of their home in Forest Town, Mansfield in 2013.
Christopher Edwards, 57, and Susan Edwards, 55, deny murder but admit burying them.
Susan Edwards also admits the manslaughter of her mother.
Mr Joyce said that the Edwards had been in severe financial trouble.
He added that £245,000 was channelled into the joint account from the Wycherleys' state benefits, pension payments and the eventual "illicit selling" of their home.
The Edwards had "lied to family, neighbours, doctors and financial institutions", and created and used false documents to "deceive and trick" everyone into believing and thinking the couple were still alive, he said.
The jury were told that neighbours had described the Wycherleys as "reserved" and "rather reclusive", and had "little contact with them".
The prosecution said the Edwards' account was not true and that it had been "a joint plan".
Mr Joyce said: "The weapon had clearly been taken to Mansfield in order to carry out the murder. It was a joint plan between the two of them.
"They got away with it for 15 years until they ran away and ran out of money because the Centenarian Society were interested in William who was approaching his century."
The trial is due to last up to two weeks.