South East Wales

Husband remanded over Colette Davies' 2004 India murder

John Clifton Davies
Image caption John Clifton Davies was arrested seven years after his wife's death

A man has appeared in court charged with murder and two counts of fraud, seven years after his wife fell 80ft (24m) to her death in India.

Colette Davies, 39, from Bridgend, died near a river bridge in Gaura in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh during their delayed honeymoon in 2004.

John Clifton Davies, 50, from Milton Keynes, appeared at Cardiff magistrates court on Monday.

He was remanded in custody to appear before the crown court on Wednesday.

Mrs Davies and her husband John, married 14 months before her death, had delayed their honeymoon in order to visit India.

A week after they arrived, she fell from a viewing point at a steep gorge.

Her body was returned to the UK where her funeral took place at Coychurch Crematorium, Bridgend, in March 2004.

Police had been questioning Mr Davies in Cardiff since Thursday, after he was arrested at his home in Milton Keynes.

'Extremely serious'

Image caption Colette Davies' family are being supported by family liaison police officers

South Wales Police said the murder charge and two others of fraud followed a joint investigation with the Himachal Pradesh State Police.

Felicity Galvin, senior crown prosecutor for CPS Cymru-Wales, said: "The Crown Prosecution Service has been working closely alongside South Wales Police as their investigation into the circumstances surrounding Colette Davies' death in 2004 has progressed.

"We can now confirm that, having carefully examined a file of evidence provided by South Wales Police, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence to charge John Clifton Davies with the murder of Colette Davies and that it is in the public interest to do so.

"Whilst the murder charge relates to an offence alleged to have been committed in India, the law of England and Wales allows for British nationals to be tried in this country if the victim of the offence is also a British national.

'Positive development'

"John Clifton Davies now stands charged with extremely serious criminal offences and has the right to a fair trial."

Image caption Himachal Pradesh State Police have helped in the investigation

Det Insp Mark Lewis, senior investigating officer, said: "I am extremely grateful to the Himachal Pradesh State Police for the support we have had in investigating this tragic death."

He said he was also grateful for the public's support.

"Although a person has been charged with murder I repeat my earlier appeal for any information surrounding the circumstances of Colette Davies' death.

"Colette's family have been informed of this positive development and will continue to be supported by family liaison officers."

Anyone with information about Mrs Davies' death is asked to contact South Wales Police on 01639 889732, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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