Nottingham

Son-in-law of Mansfield couple Patricia and William Wycherley denies their murder

Susan and Christopher Edwards
Susan Edwards, 56, and Christopher Edwards, 57, are alleged to have murdered the couple in 1998

A man who admitted burying his wife's parents in the back garden of their Nottinghamshire home has denied "gunning them down" in "cold blood".

Christopher Edwards, 57, and his wife Susan, 56, are on trial for the murder of William and Patricia Wycherley in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, in 1998.

The couple deny murder but Mrs Edwards has admitted manslaughter of her mother "on the basis of provocation".

The bodies lay undiscovered in the garden until October last year.

In the second week of the trial, Mr Edwards was asked by his defence barrister Dafydd Enoch QC at Nottingham Crown Court: "Did you gun down your parents-in-law in cold blood?"

He replied: "I did not." He also denied that the motive for "the evil act" was money.

Earlier in the trial, it was revealed that a World War Two revolver was used to shoot the couple at their home in Blenheim Close, Mansfield.

A ballistics expert told the court both victims had been facing the gun when they were each shot twice.

The bodies of Patricia and William Wycherley were found in their back garden

Mr Edwards has denied owning the weapon but the prosecution assert that he did shoot the couple.

The defendant confirmed he was previously a member of a shooting club and owned pistols but said he had sold them before his in-laws had died.

He said the revolver was owned by Mr Wycherley, acquired during his spell in the merchant navy.

The couple, formerly of Dagenham, east London, have already admitted burying the bodies and stealing the credit balance of a bank account.

After her arrest, Mrs Edwards told police she believed her mother had shot her father during the May bank holiday weekend.

She said she then shot her mother during a row, the court heard.

Mr Edwards said he travelled to Mansfield the following weekend with his wife when she told him about the deaths.

He told the court that after watching the Eurovision song contest, they wrapped the bodies in bedding and buried them in the back garden in the early hours.

Diverted cash

Peter Joyce QC, prosecuting, said two joint bank accounts held by the couple were "cleaned out" of about £40,000 shortly after their deaths.

The court was told that over the next 15 years the defendants lied to neighbours about their parents being on holiday, told others they had retired and sold their house.

Letters were also written to Mr Wycherley's doctor, declining appointments and vaccines, the prosecution claim.

In that time they "diverted" £245,000 into a joint account and fled to France after receiving a letter from the Centenarian Society who wanted to speak to Mrs Edwards' father, because he was approaching his 100th birthday.

An earlier hearing heard police were tipped off after Mr Edwards called to ask his stepmother for money and gave her an account of what happened in 1998.

The couple owed more than £160,000 to creditors by the time they were arrested last year after agreeing to return to the UK.

The trial continues.

Ahead of the trial, police released photos of William Wycherley

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