Detectives investigating death of elderly couple find human remains as daughter charged with murder

18 September 2023, 20:17

Lois and John McCullough
Lois and John McCullough. Picture: Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Detectives investigating the murders of an elderly couple have found human remains.

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Virginia McCullough, 35, is accused of murdering John and Lois McCullough between August 21 2018 and September 15 2023 in Chelmsford, Essex.

The pair, both in their 70s, are the defendant's parents, it is understood.

McCullough, of Pump Hill, Chelmsford, was not asked to enter pleas during a two-minute hearing at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on Monday.

She was remanded in custody and will appear at Basildon Crown Court on Tuesday.

Lois and John McCullough
Lois and John McCullough. Picture: Essex Police

Essex Police said on Monday that the remains of two people have been found at an address in Pump Hill.

The force said it got reports of concerns for the welfare of two people in their 70s on September 13.

This led officers to an address in Pump Hill, where investigative work is ongoing.

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An Essex Police spokesperson said: "As a result of the extensive work carried out by a dedicated team, we have recovered the remains of two people from the address.

"Although formal identification is yet to take place, Essex Police believe these to be the remains of John McCullough and Lois McCullough, both aged in their 70s.

"As part of work connected to this investigation, officers are continuing to search addresses in and around Pump Hill.

"This policing presence is expected to continue for the coming days."

Mr and Mrs McCullough's family members, who are being supported by specialist officers, said in a statement released through police: "We are deeply shocked by their deaths and ask for privacy at this difficult time."

Police were called to an address in Pump Hill on September 13
Police were called to an address in Pump Hill on September 13. Picture: Alamy

Detective Superintendent Rob Kirby, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "This continues to be an incredibly complex investigation.

"Our work will continue throughout the coming days, as our specialist officers and staff continue to piece together all elements of this matter.

"Officers will carry out work at addresses in Pump Hill throughout the coming days. "I would continue to urge against speculation as these inquiries continue.

"A family is grieving the loss of two relatives and officers are supporting them."

The force is encouraging anyone with information to get in touch.

You can submit information at