A COUPLE convicted of murdering 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 found guilty after trial last week of shooting 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, with the couple then buried 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, claiming their benefits, pension, and even selling their home before a tip-off led police to the graves in October last year.
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 “that created in her, some would say, 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”.
Mr Howker spoke of the “disdain” his client alleged her father had then shown her in later life, including “his rejection of the only man in her life, and the man she loved, Christopher Edwards”.
He said Mrs Edwards had no children, no friends and was facing the prospect of jail apart from her husband, adding that her crime “already made her a target” behind bars. Mr Howker said that she would in effect serve her prison term in circumstances ‘akin to isolation’.